The SECRET to growing closer to God this year (PART ONE)

The SECRET to growing closer to God this year (PART ONE)

It's one thing to say you want to grow closer to God - it's a whole other thing to actually do something about it!

Growing closer to God is more than just opening up your Bible each day (although that's part of it!). Living a life with God, for God, means that everything we do should be evidence of that desire. 

1 Corinthians 10:31 (AMPC) shares something so profound. It's said so quickly that if you aren't reading closely, you'll miss it. So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

Can I tell you a secret?

Honoring God is a lot less about lofty, big leaps of faith or hours of in-depth Bible study (not that these aren't also honoring if our hearts are in the right place!).

God is much more interested in our faithfulness in the small areas of daily life. Our heart must be positioned for a lifestyle honoring Him in everything that we do - every task we take on, relationships we invest in, and the possessions we steward. 

But What Does Honoring God Even Mean?

In the AMPC translation, there's two words to look at: glory and honor. While interchangeable for most other translations, each word carries something that helps us understand how we are to live life meaningfully. 

Giving Glory

NOUN: praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent; worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving; something that secures praise or renown (i.e. distinguished quality or asset)

God receives glory from whatever we do when we recognize and purposefully worship Him. This isn't to say God needs us glorifying Him - His glory cannot be diminished by our decision to give Him glory (If we aren't crying out in worship, all of creation sure is!)- but we are invited to give glory to Him. This personal decision isn't coming from force; it is a natural outpouring of the heart due to the truth that God rightfully deserves all the praise, glory, and honor. 

VERB: to rejoice proudly [in]

Our actions, the daily decision to have the mindset of using each thing we do to proudly rejoice in the Lord, is the essence of giving glory.  

Giving Honor

NOUN: good name or public esteem (reputation); a showing of usually merited respect; one whose worth brings respect; chastity, purity - a sense of ethical integrity, ethical conduct, or guarantee of performance

Similar to glory, honor is given to someone or something that has notable reputation and respect. The honor we give God doesn't come from the action itself, it starts at the intention - our decision to intentionally act in a manner with a sense of purity and integrity that is representative of what He stands for.

What does that mean? Keep going with me here...

VERB: to regard or treat (someone) with admiration and respect; to live up to or fulfill the terms of; giving reverence [to]

If we genuinely mean it when we say we love God, we will honor Him. If we want to honor Him, we will align ourselves with what He stands for and commands. We must live with a personal conviction to live up to, fulfill the terms of, what He does. 

We honor God because He has shown us perfect love; therefore, we can give Him glory by living up to His commandment to love our neighbors.

We honor God because He created us, (we are fearfully and wonderfully made according to Psalm 139); therefore, we can give Him glory by taking care of the gift He has given us, the temple in which He chooses to reside.

We honor God because He is faithful; therefore, we can give Him glory by being faithful in the commitments we've made.

Too often we as Christians make things complicated when, in all actuality, they are quite simple. Honoring God is a posture of our hearts that are evidenced in the big, small, and everything in between. 

Honoring God Attracts His Presence

I don't know about you, but when people treat me with respect I tend to want to be around them. I like to be around people that see my value and genuinely care to show they love me. I don't want to waste my time with people who could care less about me or if they hurt me. 

God is the same way. His Presence is attracted to those who truly seek Him above all else. These aren't people who say they "believe in God" and are content going to a Sunday morning service, pick out a cross tattoo, and spend the rest of the week living in the world. 

The Spirit of God is attracted to followers who have died to their flesh and are filled with a desire to follow the most important commandments: loving God and loving others. 

We repeatedly see this with the Israelites in the Old Testament. I've lost count how many times the Israelites turned away from God, fell into the consequences of living outside of their covenant with God, only to realize their sin and wholeheartedly repent.

The key to note here is that when they faced consequences to their choices, it was a direct result of not having God's Presence with them any longer. The heartbreaking part of this is that, many times, they did not realize He was no longer with them. 

Yet, as soon as His people repented, God never missed a moment to run back to them. Genuine repentance, which only comes from a reverence and respect for who God is, is what welcomed His Presence. 

When we put God in His rightful place, honoring Him the way He deserves, we also welcome His Presence into our lives.  

An Invitation to Be Faithful in the Little Things

If we truly want to put God in His rightful place of importance in our lives, we must get serious about showing it through our actions. If we want to bring Him honor, we don't need to look for lofty tasks that He didn't ask us to do, we simply need to go back to what Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 10:31.

"So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God."

In our daily mundane to-do list, we have the privilege to make everything purposeful. Our lives become filled with purpose when we dedicate all that we are, do, and own for His glory. The size is not even a consideration, it all has to do with our hearts.

Will we choose to honor Him today with [blank] - that is the offering we have the opportunity daily to give Him.

This year, my desire is to be faithful in the daily things - choosing to do my best with all that I have. He deserves nothing less than my best.

What about you?

If your heart is stirring to accept the invitation to honor God, Part Two of this blog has a list of tangible ways we can intentionally bring Him glory daily!

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