I think we have a fundamental misunderstanding about who God is and why He does what He does. We seem to think that God lives for us. Friends, nothing could be further from the truth! God does everything He does for one reason–that He may be glorified!
I’ve been reading through the Bible during a 90 day challenge, and I’m currently in the book of Ezekiel. I was overwhelmed last night by the number of times I saw the phrase, “know that I am the Lord.” When God said He was going to punish this people or that people He would give this reason, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Because that phrase is written over and over again I looked up how many times it was found in Ezekiel…72 times (in the English Standard Version)!
Another phrase that abounds in Old Testament, and in the book of Ezekiel is, “for the sake of my name.” Five times God says, just in the book of Ezekiel, that He acted, “for the sake of [His] name.” God tells His people, when you profane my name among the nations, I must act “for the sake of My holy name” (Ezekiel 36:22).
Let’s consider a few applications of the principles found in these phrases:
1. If you are saved, you were saved for the sake of His name! He saved you to be His possession and to “proclaim” His “excellencies” (1 Peter 2:9). Your salvation is not about you! It is only about you in the sense that HE loves you, HE wants you to be reconciled to Him, and HE wants you to serve and glorify HIM. But in the end, it is about HIM, not you!
2. If He allows you to suffer, He is allowing it that He might be glorified! Suffering for the sake of Christ should be seen as an opportunity to glorify God. “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Peter 4:16). I do not believe God will allow you to suffer in a situation in which He cannot be glorified. That is not to say that God caused your suffering; but He certainly allows it. And the reason He allows it is to give you the opportunity to rejoice (James 1:2), grow (James 1:3-4), and glorify Him (1 Corinthians 10:31). So don’t focus inward during times of suffering; focus on glorifying Him in spite of what you’re going through.
3. You cannot wear His name and live in sin! It is simply amazing to me that so many people profess on facebook to be “Christians” (wearing the name of Christ), and yet they post things that are profane. 1 John 2:4-6 says, “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in himought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” God cares about His name, how it is glorified and how it is profaned. Make no mistake, He will punish “for the sake of His holy name.”
God loves you and He realizes your worth more than anyone else does! In fact, He realizes your worth more than you do! So much so that He sent His Son to die (1 John 3:16). But do not think this means He will tolerate and overlook sin. Nor will He tolerate apathy and selfishness. God does not tolerate sin; He forgives sins. But He forgive sins only when we are in Christ, doing our very best to live for His glory, and “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7).
If you are a Christian, you died to sin (Romans 6:1-3) and you died to self (Galatians 2:20) that you might walk in the good works He has prepared for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Hope this gives you “food for thought.” I love you and a HOLY God loves you! Have a wonderful day!