Pray BIG Prayers – Glory

God does everything for His glory…

– John Piper

Living to the glory of God is something we see come up again and again in Scripture (1 Corinthians 10.31 for example). God’s master passion, His chief end, His #1 goal is to glorify Himself and glory in this glory. Is this stunning to you? Have you ever really understood this before, that everything God does, everything, is done precisely in the way that will glorify Himself the most?

Here’s where it gets interesting. This is stunning, shocking, scandalous some may say, because this means that God is for Himself before He is for you. John Piper writes that many are happy to be ‘God centred’ as long as they feel that God is for them first and foremost. Many are happy to live for God as long as they feel that He lives for them. Well, He doesn’t. His ultimate commitment is to Himself, not you (ibid.).

If you’re not sure this is a Biblical view, check these passages as an example;

 Isaiah 2.22, 48.9, 11, Ezekiel 36.22-23, 32, Ephesians 1.6, 12, 14, Isaiah 43.7. You can do so here

So, when we pray, are we truly praying for God to glorify Himself in our lives, or are we praying for God to glorify Himself by making our lives comfortable, successful, or prosperous?

Are we praying God’s-glory-focused prayers,

or our-glory-focused prayers?

When we pray, are we petitioning, interceding, lamenting, crying out, wrestling all in the truth and on the platform that God does everything for His own Name’s sake? (Jeremiah 14.7, Psalm 79.9, 25.11, 115.1).

Today then I would challenge you to pray that God is glorified in your life, not that your life is glorified to make God look good. Subtle difference in wording, but a profound difference in attitude.

Try this – Lord, whatever it looks like, glorify yourself through my life.

Use my life in whatever way you see fit: use my circumstances, my time, my talent, my treasure, for your name’s sake, not my own.

I don’t want to share your glory with you, act in my life so people see you, not me.

I’m ashamed and embarrassed by my former ways of glory-seeking, forgive me, and for the praise of your glorious grace, use me for your glory. 

Titus 3.3 – Seven Don’ts

After yesterday’s seven to-do’s, today Paul gives the other side of the coin and shows us where we have come from.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Titus 3.3

Paul begins with a reason why we ought to be the model citizens detailed in 3.1-2, and he says for we ourselves were once…Seeing how far we have come in our lives of faith should spur us on to keep moving in that direction.

Just as there were seven to-do’s yesterday, did you notice the seven don’ts today, the seven characteristics that we are to be actively moving away from in our life of faith? Paul, to Titus, to his people, and to us by extension says that we ourselves were once,

  1. Foolish.
  2. Disobedient.
  3. Led astray.
  4. Slaves to various passions and pleasures.
  5. Passing our days in malice and envy.
  6. Hated by others.
  7. Hating others.

Not a great list, is it? We need to admit this is where we are coming from if we are to be truly grateful and appreciative of the person we are becoming. Accepting the bad news about ourselves puts us in the place we need to be to accept the Good News, that the person detailed in 3.1-2 is developing more and more each day only due to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in you, only because of your active and living faith in Jesus, and only because of the grace of God the Father. 

As painful and awkward as it might be, today just pause and think how you were once all the things on this list.

If there are still areas you know you struggle with, commit them to the Lord today in prayer and ask Him to work His amazing grace through you to help you leave this kind of life behind.

Titus 3.1-2 – Seven To-Do’s

Today Paul has a list of Christian principles for Titus to keep on reminding his people in Crete about. As believers, we are all called to be model citizens, and the seven active tasks here go a long way to ensuring that.

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Titus 3.1-2

Did you catch all seven?

  1. Be submissive to rulers and authorities.
  2. Be obedient.
  3. Be ready for every good work.
  4. Speak evil of no one.
  5. Avoid quarrelling. 
  6. Be gentle.
  7. Show perfect courtesy toward all people.

How the world needs this list now. It is possible to be outraged by injustice and still be the model citizen the Word calls us to (#4, #7, #6, #2, for example). 

Really, this is not a pie-in-the-sky dream of conduct that we should only expect from those in leadership. This is for all who have professed and confessed faith in Jesus (v.11.52.11). Let me put it this way; if you call yourself a Christian, Titus 3.1-2 is absolutely for you, and is absolutely how you need to be living.

It’s a tall task, yes. We will inevitably fail, yes. But the God who calls us to live like this has sent you all the provision you could possibly ever need to live like this (John 14.26, 1 Corinthians 3.16, 6.19, Ezekiel 36.27, 2 Timothy 1.14a, Romans 8.11).

Simply then, this is a list of character and conduct to-do’s that you are to do your human best to actively live!

Titus 2.9-10 – Hard Work and Humble Submission

After laying out teachings for different groups of people (2.1-8), Paul continues to teach on character and conduct and now turns his attention to the workplace.

Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Titus 2.9-10

Paul calls Titus to teach that those in the employ of others are to be submissive to their own masters. We must remember that this was written at a time when the world looked very different to how it does now, and we must avoid the mistake of retrospectively imposing twenty-first century morals onto the first century world. All that to say, many people at the time and in the place this was written were employed as bondservants, and Christianity was a driving force and factor in moving away from this being the cultural and societal norm.

Part of that came in the fact that Christian communities did not differentiate or segregate based on social status, and so I read, a bondservant could well have been an elder of a church community over their own master. What a wonderful way to break down long-held societal hierachies; living out the truth that all are created in the image of God (Genesis 1.27), and therefore all are equally valuable, dignified, and full of worth. 

Paul calls for believers to be model employees, if we are using modern terms, well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith. Simply, be the model employee you would want to hire!

The reason behind this exhortation follows; so that in everything [you] may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior

G.Campbell Morgan wrote that,

“The value of a theory is always supremely apparent in the results it produces.”

Simply then, the faith we claim to have and the doctrine we claim to be basing our lives on will be evident in the actions it produces in our lives. At work then, work hard and humbly submit to those you report to, working as if for Christ Himself, and be the employee you would want to hire!

Titus 2.7-8 – Walking the Walk

Earlier in his letter, Paul encouraged Titus to both talk and walk in a manner worthy of the name we bear, and in 2.7-8, this theme comes up again.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Titus 2.7-8

Titus is called to be the example (show yourself) as well as to be the teacher (and in your teaching). Simply, he needs to both talk the talk, and walk the walk. Titus was not going to be taken seriously if he simply gave instruction in sound doctrine (1.9) but then lived a life that contradicted this.

It would be impossible for Titus to lead (1.5) if he was not sure, steady, and consistent in his understanding and teaching of Scripture (in your teaching show integrity, dignity…). Those called to lead and teach God’s people must have a firm grasp of a true and orthodox interpretation of God’s Word. 

Given that we are all to be working towards the character of Titus and the elders already detailed, we really all ought to be taking seriously the exhortation Paul gave to talk and walk in such a manner that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

How we all behave individually reflects on us all, the Christian collective. 

Today then – are we both talking the talk and walking the walk? What does my conduct and character say about my Christianity?