Glory! Whose glory?

1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory.” (CEB)

Would it help you stay focused on what you do if you thought of it all as bringing God glory?

We had this discussion last night in a youth gathering. We are reading through Do Hard Things by Alex Harris and Brett Harris. One of the questions in the study guide brought up 1 Cor 10:31 and asked if keeping this verse in mind would help accomplish difficult things.

The answer, of course, is supposed to be “yes.”  Glorifying God ought to be motivation that keeps us focused and on task, right?

But is it?

I wonder – and wondered aloud during our discussion last night – if glorifying oneself offers more or less, better or worse motivation than glorifying God.

It is not nearly so simple as this.  I know I often have mixed motivations; I assume you do, too.  For instance, most of us preachers reason that if we could only preach to more people, more people would then be brought into relationship with God.  We may take this to some length of self-glorification, though we can clearly (and loudly) articulate that our motivation is to reach more people for Jesus.

Who’s glory am I after?  My own, or God’s?  How about you?

Perhaps we could all learn a bit here from John the Baptist, who famously said of his cousin Jesus that “he must increase, and I must decrease.”

Yet we have ways to pervert even that!  I remember once when I was in college I was trying to decrease so that Jesus might increase: someone had paid me a genuine compliment.  I immediately deflected the comment, insisting that God get the glory.

I was strongly though gently encouraged to accept the compliment, and reminded that God wouldn’t be offended – that God had made me and gifted me and was indeed pleased with my exercise of such gifts.

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