It was a late evening, after an evangelistic meeting at our little Baptist church, when I asked my mother to help me pray to ask Jesus to forgive my sins. I was seven years old. For many years, my understanding of the gospel was very self-centered, but the Lord, in His grace, has given me time to understand the gravity of His choice to purchase my soul for His glory.
As a teenager, I went through an odd spell. Our family moved to Pennsylvania. There we found ourselves in the heart of Amish country. I was enchanted by the plain people who lived without electricity. I checked out every book from our library about the Amish. I decided that the Amish must be very godly because they were unhindered by the world in their quest for being like Christ. I began to dress in long skirts, wear a head covering, and do my hair like Amish people. I felt so spiritual.
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? John 5:44
I had deceived myself into thinking my lifestyle was righteousness. I invented my sanctification. I did anything that made me feel like I was close to God. I dressed modestly, attended church, prayed, read my Bible daily, exercised, worked hard to help my family, and attempted to live simply so worldly things did not distract me from growing closer to God. Take away my godly lifestyle and what was there? Certainly not heart resting completely in God’s sovereign grace. If I had been basing my perspective in Scripture, I would have crumbled with awe at the true depth of the gospel. And my pursuit of outward behaviors would have ceased, as I saw how futile they were. I longed to be closer to God. My heart was sincere in its pursuit. But the path I chose only led me away from Christ.
II Timothy 3:5 speaks of people in the end of time who are “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” Anything beside Christ is not the gospel. I might even base my values and standards on Scripture. But that way of living is all me, and not Christ.
One day, as a seventeen year old, I said a little demeaning thing in a condescending spiritual air. My mother took me aside, and in a few words, she addressed my unkind tongue. It left me stunned. How could I have a mouth that said heartless things when I felt so godly? Thankfully, my heart was tender toward the working of Christ in my life, and my eyes were opened to the faults. I began to see the error of my version of sanctification. My lifestyle was a facade. It was a prideful attempt to hide my deceitful, disgusting, corrupt heart. Ephesians 4:22-24 says “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Oh how misleading was my pursuit of God through my own methods! It might not have fooled those around me, but I had certainly fooled myself. My journey to be like Christ had nothing to do with what I did or didn’t do, but everything to do with Christ and my delight in Him. Only in God is true righteousness, not in holding to a certain lifestyle.
Despite the beginnings of change in my heart, I still had years of learning ahead of me. The next step in life was college. I studied a lot of Bible in the Christian University I attended. I went to Bible Seminars. I was surrounded by Christians. I had a lot of amazing people in my life. But people can’t change a heart. I can conform to those around me in behavior, but that is not me changing to be more like Christ. Conformation is not sanctification.
I graduated, and in time, I married. My husband and I moved to the mid-west a couple years after our marriage to help with a church plant. That was the most incredible journey of our lives. We went to help, but discovered that we were the ones who grew and were blessed. The genuine believers in that church changed me.
I had amazing ladies pour into my life. Many of those women are close to my heart to this day. I was challenged in my knowledge, study, and application of Scripture. I finally grasped and fell in love with reformed theology. The gospel became my heartbeat.
The gospel isn’t just applicable to the moment of salvation. The gospel is a constant unending flow if God’s grace poured out on whom He chooses-me for instance. The gospel covers the sins of my past, as well as the sins of my future. My limited perspective of the gospel was enhanced until my life, became wrapped up in the stunning, life-altering, soul-healing grace of God. Isn’t He amazing? It is all about Him. I am all about Him. Not because He saved me, but because He is worthy of my praise, and for some reason He, choose me to glorify Him through His grace. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved . . .” Ephesians 2:4–5. I have found such awe in my redemption, I am truly stunned by the grace of the perfect, holy God who became sin for me (II Corinthians 5:21).
After seven years in the mid-west, the Lord moved our family from that spiritually rich church, and placed us among the people of The South. Although, we still struggle with the Christian culture where we live, we have found a church situation that works for us, but we are hungry for more depth, more Scripture, more Christ-centered, gospel saturated believers.
Yet, despite my struggles in the loss of our mid-west church family, it was in The South that my heart grasped the value of God’s glory and what that entails. I learned that:
It is not about me. Humanism, even with Biblical motivations, is still worshiping self. It is sin.
“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 1:25
I was not created for me. I am created for God and for the sole purpose of bringing Him glory.
““Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11
Christ did not die for me. He died for the glory of God. I just happen to be one of the few blessed people He chose to redeem.
I am not redeemed for myself. I redeemed for the Glory of God.
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25
I am a wife, a mother, a home-maker, a fellow Christian for the glory of God. I can ONLY glorify God if I allow His grace to flow through my life as a wife, mother, home-maker, or in anything I do. I do not bring God glory through my own strength, but through His grace.
“Whoever serves, [let him do it] as one who serves by the strength which God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” l Peter 4:11
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in ud that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 4:11
I do not live a life for myself, but for the glory of God. God is glorified, when I seek His glory through the gospel, in all I do. Even eating should be done with the purpose of bringing God glory through sharing the gospel.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” Corinthians 10:31-33
I do not study Scripture for me and for my enrichment. I study for God, that He may show me more of Himself that I might be in even more awe of Him. Scripture is not about me. Or His love for me. Scripture is about God. Primarily about bringing God glory through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. II Tim. 3:14-16
Eternal life in heaven is not for me, but for the glory of God. I will be able to praise Him eternally without hindrance of sin.
“to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:21
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” II Timothy 4:8
“That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” Psalm 30:12
Everything makes sense with this perspective. Scripture comes together harmoniously. Life in general is not mysterious, but has purpose and answers.
It is an incredible thought that He would allow me even the smallest part or understanding of His Salvation. God did not have to save all people. God did not have to make humans. God did not have to allow Adam and Eve to sin. Yes, God is sovereign EVEN over Sin. Because through our sins, the glory of His redemption is revealed. And through His redemption, we can receive salvation from our sins to enable us to glorify God in Heaven ETERNALLY. Even heaven is not for me. Heaven is for God. Since a lifetime is not long enough to sing the praises of God, He has gifted us with eternity to sing His praises. Isn’t it amazing that a perfect, holy, worthy God decided we could bring Him eternal Glory through the salvation of our disgusting souls?
I have based my entire life and pursuit on the doctrine that EVERYTHING is for the glory of God.
How my life has been transformed by the power of the gospel! Because I was once a broken, disguising soul, chained to sin. Unable to free myself. Unable to even ask for help because my soul was dead! I tried to free myself, but by efforts weighed me down even more. I was a sinner-completely unable to bring God an ounce of glory.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:4-8.
Now, because of the gospel, the precious blood of Christ, I am able to glorify God, through the grace God gives. Not only can I bring God glory through the power of the gospel here on earth, but I am privileged to glorify God eternally! And it has NOTHING to do with me! It is ALL Him! Glory to God!
Now that is the most striking thing I have ever known. I am dumbfounded.
Thank You Merciful Savior.