What is the meaning of life? It’s a question that has been debated by everyone from philosophers to college students in their dorm rooms. If you would press many Christians to explain the purpose for their existence, they would probably suggest that God gave them life so they could glorify Him in what they do. But, for many of these same individuals, “glorifying God” is an empty phrase. Ask them to describe what it means or how it’s done, and you’re likely to get a blank stare.
While glorifying God has become somewhat of a cliché in evangelical circles, many of us have never been challenged to think about what a life that glorifies God is supposed to look like. So, what does it look like, and how can our lives ultimately glorify Him?
I believe the Westminster Confession contains the best answer to these questions. Contemplating the reason for man’s existence, 17-Century theologians concluded that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” But were these men talking about two distinct things—glorifying God and enjoying Him? Or, were they clearly implying something else?
It has been suggested that the best way to capture the real meaning of what was written by these theologians is to replace the word “and” with “by.” Notice carefully how the statement now reads: “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” Is it possible that God is glorified in us the most when our knowledge and experience of Him so captivate our hearts that He becomes the supreme joy of our lives?
“The purpose of our existence is to glorify God by pursuing our enjoyment in Him.”
Still the question remains—how can we truly enjoy God if we don’t believe that He enjoys us? This is why it’s essential that we understand His affections for us and the unique place we hold in His heart.
Think about it—from the beginning of time there’s never been a human being on the planet quite like you. God made you with the shade of your skin. The color of your hair. The individual twinkle in your eye. You are special! He has designed your personality to touch His heart in a way that no other human being has ever been able to do.
It’s a simple truth. But if it doesn’t dominate your thinking, then most of what you’ll do for God will come out of duty rather than delight. It will become religious rather than relational. It will produce performance rather than affection-based obedience.
We live in a society that places constant demands upon our time, energy, and resources. It challenges us to climb to the top. To be the best. To accomplish the most. It applauds accomplishment and is pleased by performance. Unfortunately, these mind-sets not only seep into the church, but they also seep into our spiritual lives.
It’s no wonder that the idea of enjoying God and being enjoyed by Him seems foreign. But enjoying God is not a secondary issue in the Christian life; it’s not even a means to an end. It is the end! The purpose of our existence is to glorify God by pursuing our enjoyment in Him. It’s discovering a joy that transcends disappointment and heartache; it’s savoring a satisfaction that surpasses abundance or adversity. The happiness for which we were created is found in celebrating the fact that such a beautiful and wonderful God is ours!
God wants to capture your heart. The commitment He wants from you is not the kind you can work up through some sort of spiritual pep rally. It’s the kind that is born out of intimacy.
This article was written by S. J. Hill who is the author of several books including What’s God Really Like?; Enjoying God; and A Love for the Ages. S. J. is a gifted Bible teacher with more than 40 years of ministry experience, at Brownsville Revival School of Ministry and Mike Bickle’s School of Ministry. His passion is to invite people to enjoy God out of an understanding of His enjoyment of them.