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The God-Centeredness of God

We think that a person who is all about their own glory is arrogant and yet God created us mainly to show His glory. So, I ask you, "Is God arrogant?"

It is crucial to understand how the God-centeredness of God relates to his love for sinners like us. Most people do not immediately see God’s passion for the glory of God as an act of love. One reason for this is that we have absorbed the world’s definition of love. It says: You are loved when you are made much of.

John Piper uses a wonderful example to illustrate this when he asks, "Does someone go to the Grand Canyon to increase their self-esteem?" No. When one stands on the edge of the Grand Canyon they forget all about themselves and are swept away by the majesty, beauty, and awesomeness of something outside of themselves. That same person then also finds additional pleasure in telling someone about the Grand Canyon; how moved they were; how breathtaking it is; how overwhelming beautiful it is. They do not say, "Wow, you should have seen me at the Grand Canyon. I was really something!" God designed us to find the greatest pleasure in things outside of ourself, things that make us forget about ourselves.

God’s love for us is not mainly his making much of us, but his giving us the ability to enjoy making much of Him, forever. In other words, God’s love for us keeps God at the center. God’s love for us exalts his value and our satisfaction in it. If God’s love made us central and focused on our value, it would distract us from what is most precious, namely, Himself. It would be like someone taking you to the Grand Canyon and then making you wear a blindfold. Okay, bad analogy; but, you get the point.

Love labors and suffers to enthrall us with what is infinitely and eternally satisfying: God. Therefore God’s love labors and suffers to break our bondage to the idol of self and focus our affections on the treasure of God.

Until we understand this we do not understand the meaning of life, who God is, why we were created, and we will waste our life seeking joy and pleasure in things of no lasting value. We will never find the joy and satisfaction that flow out of and from this understanding and we will never be able to share this joy with others. If you doubt that God does everything for His own glory, let us listen to God:

God creates for his glory.
Isaiah 43:6-7 "Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory."

God elects Israel for his glory.
Jeremiah 13:11 "I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory."

God saves them from Egypt for his glory.
Psalm 106:7-8 "Our fathers rebelled against the Most High at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name's sake that he might make known his power."

God restrains his anger in exile for his glory.
Isaiah 48:9,11 "For my names sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you . . . For my own sake, for my own sake I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another."

God sends his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth for his glory.
Romans 15:7-8 "Christ became a servant to the circumcision to show God's truthfulness . . . and in order that the gentiles might glorify God for his mercy." John 17:1 "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee."

God sends his Son the second time for his glory.
2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 "He comes on that day to be glorified in his saints and to be marveled at in all who have believed."

That’s enough to give you the flavor. This is the way God is. He is utterly committed to preserving and displaying the greatness of his glory and the honor of his name in all that he does.
Therefore, in Philippians 1:20 Paul is not merely making his life’s aim to magnify Christ. He is joining God in his own God-centeredness. He is joining God’s ultimate purpose for the universe. He aims to magnify his own glory—and Jesus is the apex of that glory.

This is difficult to grasp on a human level, but I pray you will ponder this and really think about who God is and how "He is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him". He created us for His glory and He wants His glory to seen by others as it is magnified in us and through us to others.


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