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Do It

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Cor. 10:31-33 This is my problem with this admonition: I do not know or have any idea how to do whatever I do all for the glory of God. Take as an example my soccer playing days. I loved playing soccer, loved rushing with the ball down the field past the other team’s defenders, loved taking those shots on goals and sometimes seeing them breeze into the net. But once I reached junior high, I equally began to loathe the pressure from coaches and basically the whole system to “be the best” and settle for no less. Silliness on the field wasn’t taking it seriously. I remember a distinct feeling that the fun had been lost for the competition. School work was actually the same. With a little extra effort, I enjoyed making honor roll. But at some point, I wondered what the end game was in that. Best case scenario, you are valedictorian. Then what? (That was never remotely a question I had to grapple with, mind you, but the point is the same.) There have always been lots of social engagements or other activities that I participated in “for the glory of God”, like being in a sorority to be a light for Jesus (please see retrospective snicker on my face…I mean really, how arrogant and naive). Was I glorifying God in TriDelta? I suppose if many girls fell to worship and adore Him because I didn’t drink, if my purist ways helped them to see how merciful and gracious and full of love Jesus is despite my evident great need for that mercy, then yes. But really, I’m not sure my Christianity communicated as much about Jesus’ redemptive work as it did about my high moral code. (As an aside…Doing something for the glory of God, it turns out, is not (as I had always believed) “being the best” for the glory of God or “being the most popular” for the glory of God. It turns out, God is often most glorified by the least, the weak, and the broken. Like right now, my heart is drawn to His living water because it turns out I am face to face with the reality that I can’t create this living water for myself…or solve my dilemma on my own.) Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Col. 3:22-24 I think Paul may be helping me here…it is the Lord I am serving and not human masters. In soccer, or social life, or achievement arenas I am usually serving myself first by way of driving hard for the adoration and admiration of others, or even more simply, to attain something I think I need that I don’t already have. What would it be like to train for soccer and play not for my position on the team or the cheering fans but as serving the Lord? The problem is, I still have no idea because my human limited brain which is attached to my human heart, a heart being redeemed but still inclined to be on God’s throne in His place, can’t imagine what it would look like to be sharp without cutting others, to be strong without being immovable and to leave it all out on the field not to win the game but because it has already been won. Specifically what I’ve been thinking about is that I have two “settings on my dial”, so to speak. Competitive and driven or relaxed and lazy. “Competitive and driven” comes with a meanness, really, one that doesn’t feel badly about kicking the defenders in the shins or breaking a goalie’s fingers because those are part of the game and reasonable casualties on the way to making a goal. Relaxed and lazy is kind and patient, unruffled and peaceful, but ends up with a kitchen full of dirty dishes and appliances, a room full of unfolded clean laundry and children who are out of sorts because the schedule has been too flexible for too long. (This is just hypothetical, of course.) I need the Gospel’s “third way” desperately. I need to have the person and work of Jesus come into my mothering, housekeeping, teaching, writing, social life, community involvement, church involvement (which I suppose should be the same as community involvement) and so on in such a way that I could be working with all my heart not as a ruthless witch, hell bent to see my agenda and to do list accomplished before 6pm, but in a way that brings increased life to all these settings. He has come to bring life and that life to the full. My work and play will bring Him glory when it brings new life, not personal recognition. And the final kicker is this: I can’t accomplish this “third way” because it is His person and work alone that can. There is no check list or guiding parameters to ensure I’m in “life giving” mode rather than “life sucking” mode. It is a heart condition that I am powerless to change or modify or improve. So, that’s bad news. But, the good news is that He has promised to complete the good work that He has begun. Behold, He is making all things new. It is God who works in me to will to and act according to His good purpose. Do not fear, for He has redeemed me. So, the message of faith is this: I cannot get it right by a new resolve. My only hope is His redeeming work in me. And this hope does not disappoint because He is faithful and He will do it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:21-25

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