52 Ways of knowing God, New City Catechism
Answer: We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him, and by obeying his will, commands, and law.
Deuteronomy 11:1 “You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always”
Why is it so important to glorify God?
We have already seen that God is glorified in the creation and that we, his most special design, the crown of his Glory, bring Glory to him. That is who we are, and that is the purpose of creation, to Glorify God.
Then why the question is essential to understand because it is the platform of our beliefs.
This is God’s declaration about himself, about his creation and us. We understand this self-revelation of God because he, in his wisdom, has chosen to reveal who he is through language. The language of creation does not have grammar, but we understand it as the kind of language that connects us with the God of creation. I want to make something obvious, unlike other religious or belief systems, we worship the God of creation and no creation itself! But we do have a connection with creation, and that is God.
Yet, creation’s language does not have a speech, a grammar, an alphabet, but we do! This is why the Word is so essential, and this is why the one we worship is known as the Word who came to make his dwelling among us. We have the Bible, which is a record of God’s voice to the world, and by God’s own Spirit, the Bible come alive and speaks God’s very Word to us, his Logos word, and the prophetic Word.
So, you may ask what this has to do with the 6th Question of the New Catechism?
The question is not, why do we glorify God? But, How can we glorify God?
I want you to see that to ask the How? It immediately presupposes a manual, a code, a set of instructions. These are in every culture, and these are verbal and written.
Let me give you an example.
For many years and even now, people have this perception of the Church: The Church is a solemn place; it is where most people are serious and a place where no one should be happy. Do not you dare to laugh in Church because God the Judge is always in a bad mood! He is consuming fire, and his wrath will eat you alive if you show him the respect that he deserves.
Well, that is not the God of the New Covenant! God is a joyful God, and He is Good! But we see life with dark glasses and not with His Spirit.
Do you know that the first question in the Larger Catechism?
Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?
Answer 1: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
I want you to pay attention to this: “Our highest calling is to Glorify God and to fully “enjoy” him forever!
Enjoy!! Indeed that is a mistake!! We cannot Enjoy God. That is undoubtedly a mistake!! God is not to be enjoyed but to be feared, to have him at a distance! We have made this lie to be true!!
Sometimes the Church has been guilty of placing human-made rules instead of God’s Book and God’s written Word. Recently I was speaking with a Pastor and his wife from Argentina, I know them really well. They told me how hard it is for the second or third generations of Christian families to come back to Church when most of what they heard was a Gospel of “Don’t Do this, and we don’t do that. We dressed in a particular way; if you don’t, the church’s leadership will call you to get inline”. These generations do not know that we can ENJOY the Lord.
I know that God speaks to me, and sometimes I can hear his voice as clearly as I can listen to myself talking now. Sometimes he has this unique habit of speaking to me when I least expect, like interrupting me when I am serious, in a not so good mood or when I try to put my own rules into action, which many times are killjoys.
This happens to me some weeks ago on a Tuesday morning when I came to see the food bank. I parked the car inside the church grounds, and when I came back to the car, a massive bird dropping was at the side of the bonnet, and I lost it! Come one! There were a couple of seagulls flying about, and I began to complain at them! You have the whole of this place, there are other cars, why me?
Then I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit saying Spring is coming! What may look to you like a big mess, you need to know that Spring is Coming! Life is coming! I know it was him because at that moment there was no other voice apart from my own complaining one and he interrupted me with those words in my spirit.
So, with this background, what about we look at how we can glorify God? I want to say three things about Ps 37. Because I believe it will help us to see How?
Now in the first eight verses, we are commanded, we are told three times to leave behind a HOW TO, dangerous, cynical and not of God. Do Not Fret! In order words, he is saying DO NOT WORRY, NOT TO BOTHER, DO NOT FUSS, DO NO AGONISE.
- Enjoy him
- Love him
- Trust him
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 NIV-GK)
“The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23–24 NIV11-GKE)
This means to find your greatest joy and satisfaction in your relationship with God. Those who delight in the Lord enjoy a sense of nearness to God, and they take great pleasure in living by the truth of God’s Word “then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:14 NIV11-GKE)
Such people want what God wants, so he gives them the desires of their hearts.
(1) God will answer the deepest cries of their hearts if their desires are in line with his desires and purposes.
(2) When we delight ourselves in God and find our greatest satisfaction in his purposes for us, God himself places the right kinds of desires within our hearts; then he fulfils them.
The person in whom God delights follows God, trusts him, and tries to do his will. God watches over and makes a firm every step that a person takes. If you would like to have God direct your way, then seek his advice before you step out.
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13 NIV11-GKE)
I want you to know that I wrestle with this, that God wants me to be joyful! I do not believe that as we get older, we are expected to grumpier and grumpier. I tend to fuss a lot! Therefore, I need my friend Holy Spirit to remind me that no matter how much dirt, bird dropping may car can have, he reminded me that Summer is coming. Last week we looked at Ps 19, and there is one verse that speaks about the Sun and its heat that is so powerful that nothing is hidden from its light.
One of my greatest delights is that the Holy Spirit is my friend. Is he yours?
“For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 37:28 NIV11-GKE)
I want you to know that this is true! That the Lord loves the and he will not forsake his faithful ones!!
That is his promises to us. He loves you, and he loves me! He is love. We can spend the whole morning here talking about God’s loving nature.
Beginning from Genesis, when he said, let us make man in our image, he bent down to us an formed us from the clay and how he gave us his Spirit, so we became living beings.
To the day God made the very first sacrifice recorded in the Bible in Gen.3 – “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21 NIV11-GKE).
Who does this? When God walked with man in a perfect loving relationship and now sinned, God made a sacrifice to cover man’s shame, nakedness, and brokenness. This is love. This is an act of love!
Then thousands of years later, God did not spare his son – “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NIV11-GKE)
How do we love him?
Jesus said Love one another and in John 13 made one of the most powerful statements ever given to humanity.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”” (John 13:34–35 NIV11-GKE)
Do you know why the Cross is shaped the way it is? We can visualise the Cross as a symbol of love; we have a vertical side of the Cross, pointing To God the love of God, and the God who loves us. It is a vertical relationship.
It has a horizontal side; this love of God is to be shared. It is where Jesus’ hands were nailed. It is upon his shoulders that he took upon himself the weight of sin. But it is also a place of reconciliation, a place of embracing God’s forgives.
Peter understood this when he said:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the Glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:8–11 NIV11-GKE)
We love one another when we forgive one another! Yesterday I read this from the BBC:
Have you ever had a text message that changed your life? Dan Reynolds has.
Three years ago, the Imagine Dragons frontman thought his marriage was over. He and his wife, Aja Volkman, hadn’t spoken for seven months. When their three children came to visit their dad on tour, all communication happened through a third party.
In April 2018, Reynolds announced their split to fans on Twitter. Lawyers were called, divorce papers were drawn up.
Then, as he drove to sign the documents, his phone pinged. It was a message from Volkman.
“That was the first time she talked to me in seven months,” he says. “And the message said something like: ‘I love you. I don’t need to own you to love you. I can love you without expectations.’
“She vocalised it with such generosity, it made me rethink everything.”
When he got to the lawyers’ office, Reynolds sat down and asked his wife a question: “Why are we getting a divorce?”
“She just laughed,” he recalls, “and the lawyers were just like, ‘What are we dealing with here?'”
And so, instead of making their divorce official, the couple stood up and left.
“We went to lunch,” he laughs. “We treated it as a first date and fell in love, like all over.”
This so moved me. I want you to listen to what she said again: ‘I love you. I don’t need to own you to love you. I can love you without expectations.’ This kind of love is unconditional. It covers a multitude of sins!
“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” (Psalm 37:3 NIV11-GKE)
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;” (Psalm 37:5–7 NIV11-GKE)
To commit ourselves to the Lord means entrusting everything—our lives, families, jobs, possessions—to his control and guidance. To commit ourselves to the Lord means to trust in him, believing that he can care for us better than we can ourselves. We should be willing to wait patiently for him to work out what is best for us.
Trusting the Lord means faith, especially the more challenging aspect of faith—submission to his will in the hope of his resolution of the dilemma.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6–7 NIV11-GKE)
Have you ever seen a bird worrying? Have you ever seen a plant being anxious? If you have, then you are watching too much Netflix!
I have never come across such things, and yet this is precisely what Jesus wants to tell us. Do not be afraid.
Remember who you are, know that you became My most precious creation when you were created.
But we do forget who we are. We fall prey to fear. Fear is a strong emotion, and generally, it is a negative one born out of trauma or rejection.