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 1.5 – Up To The Task

Having laid the foundations for his letter, Paul now gives Titus a task,

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…

Titus 1.5

Rather than look at the church leadership structure implications here, let us instead look at the character Titus needed for the job. His task was pretty big,

After a successful evangelistic campaign on the island of Crete, there were a lot of young Christians to take care of…When a job is hard, there are basically two kinds of people. With one you say, “The job is really hard, so we can’t send him.” With the other you say, “The job is really hard, so we must send him.” Titus seemed to be of the second kind.

David Guzik

Titus had the big job of putting what remained into order, and he also had the job of appointing elders. It stands to reason that Paul thought Titus was up to the task. 

Taking this from there to here, them to us;

if God were to give you such an important task,

if you were given a job of the importance of Titus’ from Paul,

are you up to the task?

Are you willing, ready, and able to say ‘Here I am, send me!’ (Isaiah 6.8)?

Do you feel up to the task, no matter what the task may be?

Do you know, really know deep-down, that where God guides, He provides, and that no matter how weak, small, or feeble you feel that this will actually improve your ability to be up to the task (2 Corinthians 12.9)?

Taking aside our ability to actually do the task God gives to us, perhaps this is a better thought to carry into today – am I ready and willing, am I willing to say ‘Here I am, send me?’.

Titus 1.2 – The Chance

Lots of people build their lives on lots of things, don’t they. Career success, providing things for their children, financial acquisitions, property purchases, the pursuit of pleasure…None of these things, inherently, are bad. In fact, there is a degree to which all of them are good. But, are they firm enough to build a whole life on? Are we really in control of any of them? Today, Paul writes to Titus and sets forth what he is basing his hope, his ministry, and his life on.

…in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began…

Titus 1.2

Did you see what Paul is hoping for, anticipating, and expecting? Did you see on what Paul is building and basing his life?

…in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began…

Paul is writing to Titus to instruct and to encourage and in the hope of eternal life. So, what he is going to teach and share as his letter continues has further-reaching consequences than the here and now. How can Paul be so sure that this is the case?

…in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

What Paul is standing on for present empowerment and future fulfilment is something that was promised before the ages began, something that was spoken forth by Someone who never lies.

This same promise, this same hope of eternal life is available to you today and every day. As I recently read, this is not based on wishful thinking, broad brushstrokes like ‘Good people go to heaven‘, or ‘If you’re sincere, that is enough‘, this hope of eternal life is based on thousands of years of demonstrable history, hundreds of recorded evidences and examples of its truth, a tangible benefit to society that many often forget (see ‘Dominion’ by Tom Holland), and the changed lives of millions.

God, who never lies, has laid out before you the chance to choose the hope of eternal life. God, who never lies, has given you the chance to radically change your life and have it extend into eternity. 

Have you taken that chance?

Titus 1.1 – What’s On Your Business Card?

As with the custom at the time, Paul begins his letter to Titus (and the wider Christian body in Crete) with his name and his introduction. He writes,

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Titus 1.1-4

If we look at the first few words again, Paul introduces himself as

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ

I love how David Guzik refers to this in his EnduringWord Commentary. He writes that this is, in essence, Paul’s ‘business card‘. This is how Paul introduces himself, this is how he wants to be known.

He leaves out his Jewish family credentials, his educational knowledge, his church planting and evangelistic prowess and humbly introduces himself as a slave of God by choice and a messenger of Jesus.

I wonder, if we all had to design and title our own business cards, what would we write on there?

Would we include all of our worldly achievements, our professional qualifications, our personal highlights and highs? 

What we would choose to write on there would give others a glimpse into how we see ourselves. Do we find fulfilment in being a follower of Jesus first and foremost? Do we see ourselves as carrying the major purpose of glorifying God, carrying the name of Jesus follower, and being Spirit filled and led?

Today, take a moment to think on this; Paul saw himself first in relation to God. How do you see yourself? 

Moses – His Perspective

Between Exodus 5-15 we see Moses at the forefront of some of God’s miraculous and wonderful workings. Moses is the mouthpiece, the man charged with delivering the message, the minder of God’s people, but he never takes on the role of the master. After crossing the Red Sea, Moses and the people sing a sing of praise to God, which ends like this,

You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

Exodus 15.17-18

Despite being used mightily of God Moses never seeks to be the Man, only the man. He finishes this song of praise by reiterating that the Lord will reign forever and ever, not man, I’m really something special, look at all the stuff that has happened under my leadership, I’m the Man!

His perspective never changed – nobody is like God (vv.11-12).

Many years later, another would hold this perspective of God too. He said that none is good but God alone (Mark 10.18), that His only wish was to do the will of the Father (John 5.19), and that He was seeking glory for the Father alone (John 8.50). This perspective is what we need.

What this means for you is that there is a model to be followed; seeing ourselves in right and proper perspective. When we truly see that nobody is like God, that He alone is good, that we exist to do His will, and that we should seek His glory above our own, our perspective is right. 

If you are journaling along, try answering this – how do I see myself in relation to God?