The kids and I didn’t make it to church today. Despite my “Church Professional” status, despite our family commitment to make worship attendance the best of all possible habits, life happens. Today, life happened to this family and we skipped corporate worship. Sigh.
Ironically, the topic for today’s sermon was “Glorifying God.” The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that the chief end of man (humankind) is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We were created – and blessed, loved, chosen, predestined, adopted, forgiven, redeemed – to worship our Creator.
Thank God that His presence isn’t limited to the church sanctuary, that the whole world is, in fact, His Sanctuary. Thank God that we have been united with Christ, that He is with us all the time, everywhere, that everything we are and do can be worship-filled.
Today that has looked like praying aloud with the kids in the car; running errands; prepping healthy breakfasts and lunches for the school/work week ahead; cleaning house; and caring for the kids. And reading Scripture, praying, and blogging about it. A balance of sacred and what we call “secular” but is just as sacred, the mundane, in the company of Christ.
Ephesians 1:1-14 is a beautiful hymn of praise to God. The study questions can help you wrap your head around Paul’s message of God’s glory, but don’t miss the experience of God’s glory as you read and meditate on this passage.
While I am all in favor of emphasizing our corporate identity as God’s people (and aware of the potential dangers in overemphasizing the personal), I also recommend inserting yourself into the reading – “my” for “our” and “me” for “us” – in order to own and live into the glorious truth of what God has done for you.
As you read, look for what this passage says about who God is and what He has done. Also look for what it says about God’s people, who they are and how they should live. Read it through at least twice, listening for what God would impress on your heart.
The first time I read it, the words in the NIV’s verse 12 – that we might “be for the praise of his glory” – grabbed me. What does it mean to simply “be” for God’s glory? How is that different from anything I might do as a result of His love and grace?
The next time I read it the word “lavish” (again NIV) stuck with me. God lavishes the riches of His grace on us. That sounds so delicious, so decadent, so extreme – and God is!
Today, reading from the NLT, the phrase “united with Christ” stands out. Perhaps I need those words today more than usual because I was unable to unite with Christ’s body, the Church.
Whoever you are and whatever you do – individually or corporately – may you revel in the lavish blessings of God’s grace as you spend time with God in His Word.
When have you experienced the glory of God, and what was that like?
Read Ephesians 1:1-14.
What stands out to you from this passage?
List the blessings Paul describes that every Christian has as our inheritance in Christ.
For what purposes has God chosen and predestined us?
What might it mean that we are to be “the praise of his glory” (vv. 6, 12, 14)?
Since we were created for the praise of God’s glory, what does it look like to glorify God in your everyday responsibilities and relationships?
What is Jesus saying to you through this passage and how will you respond?
Offer to God in prayer words and phrases from this Scripture. Close by praying that God will be glorified in your life, your home and neighborhood, and in the world as He works through your worshiping community.