This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Hristo Kulichev (Bulgarian, imprisoned and exiled for almost four years for his faith in Jesus Christ), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us but to your name give glory. (Psalm 115:1)
Sometimes we get selfish in our faith. We want God to arrange our life in such a way that we will be able to live happily and comfortably. We are always thinking of our own comfort and that God is obliged to provide for it. We want Him to supply our needs (and we have plenty of them!) in such a way that we will experience pleasure in life.
But God doesn’t act that way. When Joseph was in prison he wanted to get out of that place as soon as possible. But God did not answer his prayer right away. He delayed His answer in order to give glory to His own name (Genesis 41:28). Martha and Mary wanted Jesus to come quickly and heal their brother Lazarus, but Jesus did not come right away. Was He not aware of their need and prayer request? Oh yes He was—but He waited in order to glorify God’s name (John 11). As long as we want things for our own pleasure—He will wait and not answer our prayers. God wants to glorify His name.
‘You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.’
Are our motives right? Are our priorities right? That teaches us to pray:
‘Father, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done.’
Such a prayer will always be answered. To His glory—and that gives us the greatest pleasure.
A moment of introspection: What gives us the greatest pleasure in life--family, career, friendships, music, art, sports, hobbies, material possessions, etc.? Or perhaps do we find the greatest pleasure in life, giving God the glory due to Him? Hristo Kulichev asks if our motives and priorities are right. After all, doesn't God's Word itself say to "...seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33)? God, who formed us in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13) deserves our firstfruits or, as Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38). With this perspective, God comes into view, and fills my awareness with the fullness of His glory. With the psalmist, let us each also say, "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure." (Psalm 16:8–9) Let us never say that our wants, our intentions apart from God, take away our gladness of heart. May our self-centeredness or selfishness never be applied to our faith. Rather, we should wish that God would arrange our life in such a way that He will be glorified. Whatever we do, wherever we go, whatever we think--may these all be done to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
As we strive to put God first in our lives, to establish His throne firmly in our estimation, we will find the God of Joseph, of Martha and Mary and Lazarus to be our God. That is no small thing. The God of the universe and more, filling our senses and our thoughts, our daily activities, and our rest--this is possible and worthy of our desire. Are our motives right, for being a Christian? Do we do everything in a way that gives God the glory, or do we seek glory for ourselves in our work and play? Are our priorities right? Do we order our day in such a way as to offer God the firstfruits of our waking hours? Or do we seek pleasure and self-fulfillment in our own lives? If our motives are God-driven, if our priorities give only God the glory He deserves, then we can agree with our Lord when He said, "Father, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done." As Mr. Kulichev has observed, "Such a prayer will always be answered. To His glory--and that gives us the greatest pleasure."
John Denver wrote a secular hit song, entitled "You Fill Up My Senses". In that song, he addresses an unnamed person--perhaps a young woman. But I'd like to think of this song as one I might sing to God, for He fills my senses--and I ask Him in humility to let me give my life to Him. I ask that I might walk with Him each day, that He would teach me (Psalm 25:4-5) and that I might learn of Him. In turn, He has said He will teach me. (Psalm 32:8) Lord, fill up my senses. Be Master of my life. Rule over my motives; establish my priorities. And above all, Lord--not unto me, but to Your Name I give glory. Grant, Lord, that in this I might find the greatest pleasure.