Article VII, part 2

Truth or Dare (Article 7)

In our last post we read through a synopsis of the 1971 screen play, which was released as a movie by Paramount Pictures, entitled Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Willy Wonka 1

As we wrapped up the abridged version of the film, we began to see how mankind has become so preoccupied with selfish wants and desires that we end up treating God like some great, big, cosmic “candy man.” We all desire His sweet blessings, but most of us are not willing to join in on the selfless, bitter sufferings that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, calls us to endure.

In this article we will begin to look at the problem humanity has with being so very self serving, and we will reveal God’s remedy for overcoming this deadly disease. So as we begin, let’s consider one of the areas where symptoms of our selfish nature are most evident — the realm of advertising.

Most of us have seen, or heard, an advertisement that told us just how “special” and “important” we are. Flattery certainly can increase a business’ bottom line, especially when they seem to value our self worth. See if you recognize any of these famous slogans:

“Be All You Can Be” — U.S. Army, “Have It Your Way” — Burger King, “You Deserve A Break Today” — McDonald’s, “You Can” — Cannon, “Everything We Do Is Driven By You” — Ford Motor Company, “The Power To Be Your Best” — Apple Computers

Then there are the advertisements that appeal to our sense of entitlement:

“Be The First To Know” — CNN, “Two For Me, None For You!” — Twix (Mars, Inc.), “Nobody Better Lay A Finger On My Butterfinger” — Nestle’s Butterfinger, “Obey Your Thirst” — Sprite (Coca-Cola Co.), “This Bud’s For You” — Budweiser, “Think What We Can Do For You” — Bank of America, “Where Do You Want To Go Today?” — Microsoft, “Yours Is Here” — Dell Computers, “I Am What I Am” — Reebok, “I Love What You Do For Me” — Toyota, “It’s Everywhere You Want To Be” — Visa, “Because I’m Worth It” — L’Oreal

Selfishness 1 Selfishness is certainly a human trait, and placing Christ or others first unquestionably isn’t. And it’s not that we shouldn’t take care of ourselves — No — it’s when we over indulge in it that self servitude becomes deadly.

Our obsession with being selfish doesn’t just appear in commercial enticements, either, it appears in all areas of our lives. Above all other human traits, selfishness is mankind’s dominant characteristic. Think back over the previous six subjects discussed in this series. At the root of all of these topics is humanity’s selfishness.

What was the reason, from Article One, for people craving after money? Monetary wealth helps to ensure that our three most natural, and essential, needs are met on a regular basis — clothing, food, and shelter. When these “creature comforts” are not met regularly, then our happiness flees. Stress enters our lives and we lose our contentment. As we cease to thrive, our minds and bodies react in a variety of ways. Sometimes such struggles cause illness and disease to enter into our bodies. This natural desire for self-preservation, can open the door to selfishness.

In Article Two, it was our desire to be in control — to have power over our lives and our destinies — that also revealed another form of selfishness. Then there is our seeking to satisfy our appetite for personal pleasure, the topic of Article Three; also another form of selfishness. Even the subjects from Articles Four (religion), Five (philosophy), and Six (knowledge) reveal some form of humanity’s selfish nature.

When religion is practiced for the purpose of regulating and manipulating humanity, then the abuse of power being displayed becomes the act of sinful selfishness. God doesn’t long for our faith to be about legalistic rituals and traditions. God desires to experience a real and loving relationship with mankind. I’ll repeat this again, from Article Four, Jesus didn’t create you to be religious. Christ didn’t suffer and die for a pious philosophy. God’s son created you, lived as you, died for you, and conquered death — for you. True Christianity is not about religion; not at all. It’s about knowing and being known by the Creator of heaven and earth, Yahweh — the Lord, and savior, Jesus Christ.

The philosophies of the world are also steeped in selfish ideologies. Focusing on any thought process that pushes humanity to embrace who they are, just as they are, and working towards self improvement only if the individual deems it necessary. The whole idea of needing divine intervention, or giving God praise for human accomplishments, or acknowledging that there is a providential Creator in charge of the whole of creation, is rejected in lieu of mankind’s supposed ability to correct and right his/her own wrongs. This way of thinking leads into our topic from Article Six — knowledge.

Knowledge 3 Knowledge about the physical, or the mental, or even the spiritual, can be selfish in nature when it exists without understanding (Proverbs 18:1). God promises to grant all of humanity wisdom, if we will seek it and ask God for it (James 1:5). When God’s wisdom is given, the person who receives it enjoys real knowledge that is coupled with genuine understanding (Proverbs 2:6, 9:10; Isaiah 11:12; Colossians 1:9). If you possess knowledge that prevents God from ruling over your life, then you are holding knowledge that lacks understanding, and that is dangerous. It’s dangerous because knowledge that exists outside of God’s wisdom is self serving (Proverbs 18:1). And when we are self serving, then we become destructive to ourselves and all of creation (James 3:14-16).

Life is not about any one individual. It’s not about God and any one individual. Life is meant to be a community. A community made up of people fulfilling God’s divine purpose, will, and plan. A populous where humanity serves God, as He has commanded, and each other before we serve ourselves. Life is not about selfishness. No, life is about sacrificing ourselves in the service of God for others (Psalm 1:1-6, 119:36; Matthew 20:25-28; Philippians 2:3-4).

While leading mass at the Capital Mall, in Washington D.C. back in October of 1979, Pope John Paul II made this statement:

“The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort, and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”

Godly wisdom from a godly man, but I’d like to take his statement one step further and say that the great danger for humanity, as a whole, is in when people close their hearts to God’s purpose, will, and plan, and become self serving.

In our series on worship, known as The Joshua Project, Article Four discussed how serving God, and others, before we serve ourselves can bring about true joy in our lives. The following is an excerpt from that post:

Joy 2 “Joy is not a temporal emotion, but an actual attribution of God’s character — a part of His being; a ‘fruit’ of His Spirit, according to Galatians chapter five, verse twenty-two . . . to understand fully what joy means, and to correctly apply it to our everyday life and worship, we will have to dissect the word . . . find what lies at its core. To do this we will literally take the word ‘joy’ and examine it letter by letter. When we are done, the acrostic we end up with will be a simple and applicable tool with which you can allow God to bring real joy to you daily.

The first meaning we can find at the core of real joy is in the letter ‘J.’ And that is true faith in the Lord, God Jehovah via a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ . . . we must recognize that sin has removed us from God’s glory (this is our current ‘fallen state’) and then realize that we need to be restored to the center and purpose of Jehovah (Isaiah 59:1-20) . . . We can’t experience true worship if we can’t exist in God’s presence.

We must also realize that we do not deserve Jehovah’s grace, but deserve death. ‘For the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23a). Everything in life costs us something; nothing is free . . . Life costs us, male and female alike, something of each other in order to conceive a new life (child). The creation of the human race cost God, as well. Life cost Him, in the beginning, a piece of Himself — the breath of life and His image or spirit (Genesis 1:26-27). Life also cost Him the loss of our companionship when we sinned in the garden, as sin ushered in death, and death costs us our own lives as payment and prevents us from living with God eternally (again, see Romans 6:23a). But it’s because the Lord God, Jehovah, loved life — human life — so very much, it ultimately cost Him the life of His only Son, Jesus Christ.

God longs to see mankind return to Himself and He knew humanity would never be able to do so on its own. Thus the reason God chose to pay our debt to sin (the wages of sin is death) by allowing His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die (John 3:16). Christ’s blood paid our debt (Hebrews 9:22b), and His sacrifice became God’s free gift of eternal life to all of mankind (Romans 6:23b) . . . To fully trust in Christ we must know that just as life is costly so, too, are our relationships. A relationship with Jesus Christ costs us submission. I know the word submission in today’s equal rights world is yet another negative term, but if we will understand it and accept submission for what it really is, a willful act (choice) of servile flattery (serving/acting out of love and respect) then we will experience the eternal joy that God intended us to have in our lives.

Service 1 Let’s ponder the definition of submission once more from the above paragraph: ‘a willful act (choice) of servile flattery (serving/acting out of love and respect).’ If you are married, try applying this idea to your relationship. If you do, your relationships will improve beyond your wildest dreams; your life will bloom and grow beyond what you ever imagined possible, and your relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Son, will fill you with a joy that can only come from being centered on Him.

The second meaning we can find at the core of real joy comes from the letter “O” and is in two parts: be obedient in unity and serve others. The first, being obedient in unity (meaning that we should make every effort to be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ), is the key to understanding the second, which is to serve others . . . Realize, it’s Jesus Christ’s sacrifice (that we just talked about in discussing true faith) which allows for real unity (or peace) with other people. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians:

‘But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two [Jew and gentile] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.’ (Ephesians 2:13-18)

We are called to do all we can to live unified, as one (at peace) with each other (Romans 12:18). We cannot be restored to the center of God’s will and purpose if we are not restored to each other, which brings us to the second part of this second meaning of joy.

Serving others is a crucial part to our receiving true joy from God and to our corporate worship. Obeying Jesus Christ’s call to serve mankind over self is a core truth we must grasp if we want to become the true worshipers that God intended us to be. Christ Himself came to serve us, so why should we not also serve as He commands (Mark 10:45; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10)? Remember our (the bride’s) submission to the Bridegroom of heaven means we both serve Him as well as mimic, or imitate, Him. We can do this when we allow Christ to make His Spirit dominant within us (John 3:30; Ephesians 6:7) and when we follow His model of self sacrifice, which was to lay aside His heavenly throne to become human, live a human life, and die a sinner’s death so that we could be restored to God as holy and righteous (2 Corinthians 13:4; Philippians 2:6-8). Faith in Jehovah and submission to Jesus comes first, then obeying Christ by being united as one body (the church) and serving each other (the members of that body) comes second. So, what’s third? You!

The letter ‘Y’ represents being at peace within yourself, and is the last meaning we find at the core of true joy . . . This type of peace can be ours daily. Real peace comes to us, via the Holy Spirit, from the Lord God, Jehovah, and is a gift that awaits all who are faithful in submitting their whole life to His Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 3:21-24).

praying hands 1 Our internal peace is also a by-product of righteousness (Psalm 85:10, 119:165; Isaiah 26:3, 32:17, 48:18). Righteousness and inner peace are ours through our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we do not allow God’s righteousness to grow and dwell in our daily lives, then we will not only live a life of stress and unrest, but we will put the Son’s reputation at risk . . . And returning once more to our first meaning of real joy (true faith via submitting to Jesus Christ’s headship over the body) by acknowledging the Son’s headship and submitting to serving Him, we gain peace within our own spirit (Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 14:33; Hebrews 12:11). Then by following (submitting to; serving and mimicking) Christ’s example to serve others, we remain at peace with our brothers and sisters resulting in our own spirit being at peace with God and ourselves (Ephesians 4:3-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 12:14).

This is joy! And joy’s core meaning: to allow God’s real joy into our daily lives and daily worship. Did you catch the acrostic from earlier? Here it is once more:

– J – True faith in the Lord, God Jehovah and submission to His Son, Jesus Christ.
– O – Obedient to be unified as one body (the church) and to serve others (the members of the body).
– Y – Be at peace within yourself by being faithful to submit to Christ and serve others.”

J.O.Y.Jesus, Others, and You — this is how we can avoid the dangerous lifestyle of selfishness.

I’ll say it again, the great danger for humanity, as a whole, is in when people close their hearts to God’s purpose, will, and plan, and become self serving. Henry Van Dyke, American author, educator, and clergyman, made this statement, “Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul.” (from his poem entitled The Prison and The Angel) Escape the prison, that is selfishness. Embrace life to the fullest by living with real joy in yours. Don’t let your self become, as Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “A house of many windows.” This famous Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer went on to complete his thought when he stated, “there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.”

God made us to desire love and affection from each other, and from God, Himself, but if we settle to receive “love” and “affection” by performing for artificial affection — if we settle to receive “acknowledgement” and human “connection” by entering into superficial relationships — if we utilize selfish tirades to hold on to endless cycles of cosmetic and fake companionships, then expect to be very unfulfilled. Expect to feel lost and alone. But if you seek genuine fulfillment, real love, and true affection, then find rest in knowing that God genuinely loves us more than any sincere human being ever could or would (John 3:16-17; Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:1). Enjoy the peace that comes from knowing that God provides our every need emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually (Philippians 4:19). We must all surrender our lives to the only One, who can bring us real, everlasting joy (Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 4:7, 5:11, 16:11, 19:8, 28:7, 30:11). All it takes is our willingness to sacrifice our selves in the service of God for others.

I’ll close with this verse from Galatians, chapter five: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory Copyright © 1971 Paramount Pictures. Renewed Copyright © 1999 Warner Bros. All Rights Reserved. TM ® & Copyright © 2001 by Warner Home Video, an AOL Time Warner Company 4000 Warner Blvd. Burbank, CA 91522. All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

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Conclusion

“His name is ‘Master,’ ‘Savior,’ ‘Lion of Judah,’ ‘Blessed Prince of Peace.’ ‘Shepherd,’ ‘Fortress,’ ‘Rock of Salvation,’ ‘Lamb of God’ is He. ‘Son of David,’ ‘King of the Ages,’ ‘Eternal Life,’ ‘Holy Lord of Glory,’ His name is ‘Life.’”

As we end our study on the names of God, I pray that their meanings are resonating deep within you. So much so, that your whole being simply wants to kneel before your Creator and absorb His divine essence; knowing Him in an intimate way that only He can call you to know. To worship Him as Elohim, the triune sovereign of all that is known and unknown — Almighty God!

As our introductory article indicated, and as the lyrics from the chorus of Carman’s His Name Is Life states, God has many names and there are multiple variations of those names. Too many, in fact, for us to attempt to address in this blog series, but I hope that the ones I have chosen to highlight have opened your heart and mind up to the importance of getting to know them. God’s names do matter; they open us up to knowing Him in so many different ways. Growing us ever closer to Him, and making us into the true worshipers we were purposed to be.

So in closing, let’s recap briefly what we have covered:

In article 1, of this series, we learned that Hebrew names are more than just formal titles. Hebrew names are sentences within themselves, meant to be descriptive of the individual’s character traits. God’s names are also descriptive of His divine character, and we first see an example of this by studying Elohim’s name Yahweh, which means “He IS,” or “He Exists.” We interpret this today as “I AM.”

Article 2 brought us to examine the more popular variation of the name “Yahweh,” and that name is “Jehovah.” We looked into the argument that even though popular teachings state that both the names “Yahweh” and “Jehovah” mean “I AM” there is a possibility that this may not be correct. Upon studying how Hebrew was translated into Latin, and then later into English, we uncovered how there was a chance that this name “Jehovah” may have been a poor transliteration of God’s name, rather than an accurate translation.

In article 3 we probed into the title of “Adonai,” which simply means “Lords” or “Masters.” When the Hebrews used this emphatic plural form of “Adon” it always was concerning Elohim, the triune God. We also studied this title further and came to realize that “Adonai” represented four key attributes of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit: 1) our triune Creator has power, authority, and influence over all of creation; 2) He is sovereign, superior, and dominates over all; 3) Almighty God’s mercy gives us the choice to serve Him; 4) our triune Creator has great skill and proficiency over all of creation.

Article 4 investigated the meaning behind the name “El Shaddai.” We began with the Mesopotamian term “God of the mountain,” and followed through to the more popular English translation of “Almighty God.” But, it was upon examining the two parts of this compound name that we were able to see that the Hebraic practice of shortening a name of God (El from Elohim), and combining that shortened name with a descriptive attribute (i.e. Shaddai), could make the name “El Shaddai” translate as “God who IS Enough.”

In article 5 we looked into the holiness of God. We came to understand that the word “holy” means “morally and spiritually excellent,” and we also came to realize that when God is called “holy,” or “kaddosh” in the original Hebrew, He is being called perfect, flawless, pure. We saw that God is without blemish, without anything that is considered wrong, both morally and spiritually. God truly is El Hakkadosh.

Article 6 opened us up to understanding how essential it is for mankind to know God. To know not only God’s names and titles, but the very attributes of God that His names and titles invoke into our lives. This article focused on the greatest of all of God’s attributes — love.

Names are words, and in article 7 we explored how words are a divine gift from God and that words have power! The first act of God’s powerful self exhibited in the Bible is His ability to speak, and with that speech creation came into being.

We also came to realize that evil words, the utterances of hate and destruction, are audible exhibitions of our fallen nature. Audible visuals of our separation from the divine Creator. But, just as God created mankind with words, and just as humanity separated themselves from God with words (Genesis 3:1-19), so did He redeem mankind with His very Word (Davar). That Word IS God, and bore the name Immanuel, “God with us” — Jesus the Christ.

Lastly, article 8 revealed a very special title of God, and that title is “Abba Avinu” — Daddy our Father. God gives humanity the opportunity to know Him as our Daddy. To know that we are important to Him, so much so that even our own names can reflect and have an impact on the essence of our relationship with God. We looked at examples of this in Scripture when we examined Abram being renamed Abraham, when Jacob was being renamed Israel, and when Saul became known as Paul. We were able to see that our names, as well as God’s names, in fact all names are important.

Who knew that names were so paramount? Who knew that so much of God’s identity and character was divinely exposed to mankind by way of all those names? Even our own names can be a “door way” to our personality and character, or even to our relationship with the Almighty. As I stated in our introductory article, our lives should be places where God is a welcome fixture and so much so that we can shout out His name(s) whenever we feel His presence.

True worshipers cannot be ignorant or fear speaking of the one true God by name. True worshipers need to practice addressing Elohim by name when praying. If you experience the awesome provision of God in your life call upon El Shaddai and thank Him for being enough. If you need God’s loving mercy call out to Chesed. If God’s holiness moves over you and through you call out to El Hakkadosh and praise Him for being so perfect, and of course end your prayers by speaking of the divine Word of God, “in Jesus’ name we pray.” Jesus is the name above all names, the incarnate, living, breathing Davar — Word of God.

Selah (Pause/Reflect).

Now that we have learned just how to make our lives a place where God can know that we care enough to call upon Him by name, and now that we understand just how to become more intimate with the One who calls us by name, I hope you will take the time, on your own, to learn of God’s other names. That you will choose one of God’s divine names to study in your own personal worship time, per week, and that you will allow Elohim’s names to connect you with an attribute of Himself; an attribute that will call you to worship Him, whether corporately or individually. What is more important, you will be learning of the many wonderful ways there are to appropriately call upon our Adonai by name in your daily circumstances, for you will be growing into the true worshiper of God you were purposed to be.

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

His Name Is Life lyrics and music written by Carman. Copyright © 1983 CBS Inc.

If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 3

Robert “Bob” Hartman, is possibly one of the greatest songwriters to have graced Contemporary Christian Music over the last 40 + years. His ability to take a passage of Scripture from the Bible, or to take a strong lyrical story based on biblical content, and apply that to a melody that is both enjoyable and awe inspiring is uncanny.

Robert’s songs are rarely so simple that you can disconnect your mind from what your ears are hearing, as a parent would be able to do with their child’s nursery music. No, Bob’s music commands your ears to take heed and listen. If music can make human ears stand at attention, then that is what takes place when one hears a Bob Hartman song. If you are unfamiliar with Bob Hartman’s name, you will most likely recognize his band’s — Petra!

Hartman originally was a member of the Christian rock band known as Rapture, but after the band’s break up in the early ‘70s and a move to Fort Wayne, IN, to attend classes at the Christian Training Center, Robert began to form the Christian rock band we know today as Petra.

Of all the songs that Hartman has penned, I think it is Adonai that stands as my all time favorite. It’s from Petra’s 1985 album Beat the System, and it helped to make that project one of the biggest Christian rock albums recorded at that time and the third-biggest Christian album of the 1980s (trailing only Amy Grant’s Age to Age and Sandi Patti’s Songs From the Heart). Allow me to share the lyrics of this Christian rock masterpiece with you:

Verse 1:
This thirsting within my soul
Won’t cease ‘till I’ve been made whole.
To know You; to walk with You.
To please You in all I do.
You uphold the righteous,
And Your faithfulness shall endure.
Chorus:
Adonai, Master of the earth and sky.
You, alone, are worthy — Adonai!
Adonai, let creation testify;
Let Your majesty be magnified in me.
Adonai, You are an endless mystery — Adonai!
Verse 2:
Unchanging, consuming fire;
Lift me up from mud and mire.
Set my feet upon Your rock;
Let me dwell in Your righteousness (repeat chorus).
Bridge:
When the storms surround me,
Speak the word and they will be still.
And, this thirst and hunger
Is a longing only You can fill — Adonai (repeat chorus).

Words escape me, as I try to describe how these lyrics call my soul to worship the Creator of heaven and earth. Hear them sung, and you will be hard pressed to deny your spirit’s desire to leap for joy and shout, “Praise Adonai!” But, why? What is it about this song — this lyric — that makes it so special? I believe it’s power to move the human spirit lays in the name “Adonai.”

“Adonai” is a Hebraic name for God (Elohim/Deity), and is the emphatic plural of the title “Adon.” Adon, which means “Lord” or “Master,” is generally the title given to men of authority or angels but at times was also used when referring to Yahweh. So, since Adonai is the plural form of Adon, its meaning is interpreted as “Lords” or “Masters.” When the emphatic plural is formed in Hebrew using a singular possessive ending (example: “my Lords” or “my Masters”), it always refers to God. Our Creator, the triune God, was recognized by the Hebrews as the “Lord of Lords” (Adonei ha’adonim) or Lord Yahweh — Adonai Adonai!

I personally get emotional — spiritually moved — over this particular name of God, but I also realize that most Americans, really most contemporaries of the western hemisphere, don’t quite grasp just how powerful a title like “Lord” or “Master” is, due to our democratic societies. So very quickly, I want to help you grasp just what this truly means. We’ll begin by defining “Lord.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “Lord” as:

(noun) someone or something having power, authority, or influence: lord of the sea | lords of the jungle. A master or ruler: our lord the king.

(verb) act in a superior and domineering manner toward someone (lord it over).

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a “Master” as:

(noun) 1 – a man who has people working for him, esp. servants or slaves: he acceded to his master’s wishes. A person who has dominance or control of something: he was master of the situation. 2 – a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity: I’m a master of disguise. A great artist, esp. one belonging to the accepted canon: the work of the great masters is spread around the art galleries of the world.

(adjective) 1 – having or showing very great skill or proficiency: a master painter. Denoting a person skilled in a particular trade and able to teach others: a master bricklayer. 2 – main; principal: the master bedroom.

Here, in these two definitions for “Lord” and “Master,” we see four key attributes to understanding why God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is Adonai.

First, our Lords, our Creator has power (Deuteronomy 8:17-18), authority (Matthew 28:18), and influence (Psalm 2:7-9; Jeremiah 28:14) over all of His/Their creation (Psalm 89:7-11). Yahweh is the ruler over all of it. Whether we accept His authority, or not, doesn’t matter — God is our Lord — Adoneinu!

Second, God is sovereign, superior, and does dominate over all (2 Chronicles 20:5-6; Psalm 89; Proverbs 8:15-17). Just because we are in a time of grace, and are not seeing God’s righteous wrath displayed in the way mankind saw it displayed in the Old Testament, does not mean that Jehovah isn’t in control. It doesn’t mean He is inferior, or weak — God is the Lord of Lords — Adonei ha’adonim! Which brings us to our third attribute, we are called by the triune God to serve Him.

Almighty God’s mercy allows us to choose to serve Him (Joshua 24:14-15; 1 Peter 4:1-11), for now, but make no mistake — there is coming a day — Yahweh will reveal the truth of His dominance, His control, and all of His majesty will be revealed (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 20:11-15) to all of His creation! It’s on that day that every man, woman, and child will bow before their Creator and proclaim Him/Them as Lords, Masters — Adonai!

Lastly, our fourth attribute, God has great skill and proficiency over all people, places, and things. Creation is our Creator’s testimony of this fact (Genesis 1-2; Psalms 19, 40:7-11, 139:13), as is man’s ability to learn and improve his physical state (Exodus 4:10-12; Leviticus 1-27). For it is by Jehovah’s skill in creating and His ability to teach that empowers the creativity and ingenuity of humanity — God is the Lord Yahweh — Adonai Adonai!

Selah (Pause/Reflect).

Praise, Almighty God — Adoneinu — You are the master of the earth and sky. Only You, Lord God, are worthy of being called “Master.” Devine Creator — Adonei ha’adonim — let all of creation testify, and let Your majesty be magnified in the spirit of humanity; be magnified, especially, in me. Lords, Masters — Adonai — You are an awesome, majestic, endless mystery. Adonai Adonai!

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Adonai lyrics and music written by Robert “Bob” Hartman. Lyrics based on Genesis 15:2, Matthew 5:6, Hebrews 12:29, Psalms 40:2. Copyright © 1985 Star Song Records/A&M Records.

If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 2

Have you ever met someone, for the first time, and upon hearing their name found yourself in a state of disbelief or confusion? Maybe they looked a certain way and the name they bore didn’t quite match your mind’s expectations. Maybe an acquaintance you’d met on more than one occasion began to become a more familiar friend and upon your getting more accustomed to their personality you catch yourself thinking, “He/She doesn’t act much like a Herald/Samantha.”

Whether we wish to admit it or not, our names get linked in with our mind’s stereotyping of people. Why is that, you may ask? I believe that it’s due to the fact that names have meanings. They aren’t just empty sounds; devoid of significance. You see, in spite of all the attempts being made to make western culture “politically correct,” many cultures still name their children based on either the child’s perceived personality or based on the character they hope to see in the child later on in life. As we have read in Article 1, God’s Hebrew names all have deep significance. However, the name “Jehovah” has revealed its self as an enigma. Allow me to explain.

It has always been my understanding that the names “Jehovah” and “Yahweh” were both the same. Each has been understood by many to be Hebrew for the name God disclosed to Moses in Exodus 3:13-14, the name “I AM,” but that may not be so true after all.

Recall, if you will, that Hebrew names are sentences of sorts. “Yah” would be literally translated into English as the pronoun “He,” and “weh” would translate as “being.” So, literally the name Yahweh means “He Being” or the more familiar “I AM.” Now, where the name “Jehovah” becomes a puzzlement is in the fact that the letter “j” doesn’t exist in the Hebrew language. In fact, it didn’t even exist in the English language officially until about 500 years ago. Crazy stuff, this whole study of languages.

So, how did we come to add the letter “j” into our alphabet? Well, it began with the Germans making the Hebraic “ya” sound as a Germanic “ja” sound. We would say today that the “y” was transliterated into a “j,” but the actual letter came about when English scribes began to morph the Latin letters “i” and “y” into one character. The letter “i,” in both Latin and Old English, was a consonant and a vowel and when it was coupled with the letters “a” or “e” it created the sound we now recognize as the soft “g” sound or phonetic “ja” sound. As I understand it, the letter “j” was the last character added to the English alphabet, and was used officially in an English publication in the year 1634.

You see, this one letter — the letter “j” — affects the meaning of Jehovah’s name, because there is no letter “j” in the Hebrew language. So, since there is no letter “j” in the Hebrew language, it stands to reason that a mispronunciation seems to have taken place concerning Elohim’s most commonly used name. And if “Jehovah” has been mistranslated, then this name in English would appear to rightly mean “He Ruins,” or “He Destroys,” but we know from Scripture that God doesn’t cause ruin or destruction to anyone but Satan and his followers (Psalms 9:6, 52:5; Proverbs 10:29, 21:12), and God’s characteristics listed in Galations chapter 5, verses 22-23, record neither of these traits.

So, does “Jehovah” mean something negative about God or does it mean “I AM”? Is the name “Jehovah” appropriate for us to use when calling upon the Almighty, or not? I honestly can’t say one way or the other, at this point, as there are legitimate arguments for both views, but I will pose this thought.

Say you meet someone from a foreign country who has a very complicated pronunciation connected to his or her name. You want so badly to do this person a service, and show them respect, by correctly saying their name and yet time-and-time again you botch it up. Maybe their name has a marvelous meaning behind it and yet every time you say their name your phonetic bumbling transliterates that majestic name into something silly or maybe even disrespectful. You feel horrible for having done so, and expect this foreign acquaintance to chastise you at any moment for your mistake. Instead, however, he or she graciously smiles — possibly gives you a tender correction — and proceeds to offer you a more simplistic way to say his or her name. I believe this is what God does with us.

God knows what is in our hearts and knows how difficult foreign languages are for most of us who aren’t the scholarly type. Our Creator understands about mistranslating one word from one language into the next. God understands about varying alphabets and characters. The Father understands how easy it is for our imperfect minds to make an incorrect transliteration of a sound, or a letter, or a word.

I also believe that when we make these mistakes God smiles down at us and responds to us just as if we had called out His name in perfect Hebrew; just as if we spoke with a keen understanding of what we were saying. You see, God is not as concerned with us uttering correct phonetic sounds or pronouncing words perfectly. No, the Father’s concerned over whether or not our heart is right in its intention; whether or not our attitude of worship towards Him is pure. The Holy Spirit, God’s special intercessor, takes our imperfect sounds/words and makes them perfectly clear to the Father of life (Romans 8:26-27) and also interprets for us God’s own words.

Dr. Michael J. Svigel (Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary), in a recent conversation with Jason Ministries, said this about the controversy surrounding the name “Jehovah.” Dr. Svigel said, “I wouldn’t worry about it too much. ‘Jehovah’ was originally pronounced ‘Yahova.’ It means ‘the One who IS’ or ‘the self-existing One,’ related to the verb ‘to be,’ hence, ‘I AM’ or ‘I AM the One who IS.’” Ponder that meaning for a moment — “I AM the One who IS.” Now there’s a name worthy of our praise — selah!

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Dallas Theological Seminary is located in Dallas, Texas, at 3909 Swiss Ave. (75204). For more information please visit them online at: http://www.dts.edu/

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Introduction

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name . . .”

If you find that lyric very familiar it’s probably due to one very popular TV series — Cheers! Every Thursday night on American TV, from 1982 to 1993, NBC’s Cheers would begin with those words melodiously streaming from your television set right to your ears and I’ll bet you probably even sang along, if you watched regularly enough.

For those of you unfamiliar with Cheers, it was a simple sitcom about the human condition. A show that revolved around not only the lives of the folks that worked at the fictionally historic tavern in Boston, MA, known as Cheers but also of those who frequented the bar. (Right about now you are either reminiscing or wondering what this has to do with an article on God, His names, and our worship, but stay with me as it will all make sense shortly.)

This show starred several actors over its award winning 11 seasons (Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Nicholas Colasantos, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenburger, Woody Harrelson, Kelsey Grammer, Kirstie Alley, and Bebe Neuwirth), but the most endearing character was played by George Wendt, and that character’s name was Norman “Norm” Peterson.

Mr. Peterson, was so well known at this bar — so much a fixture there — that no matter how full the tavern was, no matter how long it had been since the patrons had visited, everybody knew when Norman was there. Literally, every time Mr. Peterson’s oversized shape burst through the front door of Cheers the customers and employees alike all shouted in unison, “NORM!”

It seemed that everybody did indeed know his name. It was never, “Hey, you,” or “Hello, Dude,” or “Greetings, fellow humanoid.” No, it was always his name, “Norm.”

Calling on someone by name immediately grabs that person’s attention. It makes them aware of the individual’s intent to engage in a conversation or to offer up a cordial greeting. Our names give us identity, a sense of self-worth, and sometimes our names offer up clues as to our ethnicity, the place we come from, the type of person we are or want to be. Occasionally our names even come with titles that allude to our education or type of job we are enjoying. Names are essential to mankind’s community and communicating with each other within that community. And so it is with our Creator.

Our lives should be places where God is a welcome fixture and so much so that we too shout out His name(s) whenever we feel His presence. Too many of us (myself, included) pray to the Almighty or speak of Him in casual conversation as simply God. It’s become such a generic noun culturally that “God” holds no real meaning or brings about no real conviction to most. It’s safe and unobtrusive, generally, as “God” can refer to many religious figures, thoughts, or theologies. But, speak the name of Jehovah, Yahweh, Jesus, or talk of the Holy Spirit and immediately defense systems arise from within people who are listening. Rooms empty, tables are cleared, and doors become closed and locked; and all that occurred at the local church after Sunday services. O.K., maybe not in the church building, but you do know of the discomfort I’m talking about.

So, why is it that we as Christians are so seemingly ignorant or fearful of speaking of the one true God by name? Why don’t we even bother to address the Almighty by name when we pray? (I’m not talking about ending your prayer with the standard “in Jesus’ name we pray,” either. I’m speaking of truly addressing our conversations with God directly to The Almighty, clearly and intentionally by His name.) I’m certain that most of us who profess to be true “born again” Christians don’t even realize that by calling out to God, by naming Him “God,” we are not calling out to Him by name but by the essence of what He is. It would be like calling out to another person by calling them “Human.”

You may not know this, either, but there are three primary names of God in the Old Testament:

– God (Elohim/Deity)

– Lord (Jehovah, or Yahweh)

– Lord/Master (Adonai)

Beyond these, the one true living God is called by over eighty other compound names or descriptive titles; names that have real meaning and insight as to His very nature. Names that will teach us not only of God Almighty, but of how to serve Him and worship Him.

During this series of articles we will not be studying all eighty plus names of our Creator, but each name that we do study will connect us with an attribute of God; an attribute that will call us to worship Him, whether corporately or individually. More importantly, we will show how to appropriately call upon our Lord by name in our daily circumstances.

When our study is done, we should be able to reflect on how important it is to our spiritual growth, to our physical well-being, to our relationship with God, to call out to Him by name. After all, if God cares so much for us that He knitted us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13b), that He knows how much hair is on our heads (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7a), if He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins (John 3:16), then how much more should we take the time to learn the name of the One who knows us and cares for us so intimately. Then and only then can we properly claim to know Him and be appropriately called a true worshiper of God!

So, I invite you to follow this study with me, and let’s learn together just how to make our lives a place where God can know that we care enough to call upon Him by name, and let’s understand together just how to become more intimate with the One who calls us by name.

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Cheers TM ® & Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 by Paramount Pictures and Copyright © 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 Paramount Network Television. All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article V, part 2


In our last post we were discussing the first three of eight specific reasons why we needed to glorify and worship God daily. The first reason being that glorifying and worshiping God connects us to Him. Second, we need to glorify and worship God because in doing so we focus our attention away from ourselves and towards God. Thirdly, our need to glorify and worship God testifies of God’s goodness and mercy.

The fourth reason for glorifying and worshiping God is to reflect His glory to the lost. Much in the same way our worship is our testimony of the Father’s goodness and mercy to nonbelievers, so is it also a reflection of His glory. Remember, Paul instructed us to “live as children of light,” but what is the source of that “light”? It’s God’s light, God’s glory shining from Himself through us and into a dark, dark world. Even Jesus, God’s Son, taught this about Himself in John 8:54-55a, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him.” Jesus, in worshiping the Father, reflected God’s glory into this sinful world, and even though people didn’t comprehend what they were experiencing was of God, they could still see the “light.” Odd thing about light — it’s blinding to some and illumination for others, and the more we as true worshipers allow ourselves to reflect God’s glory, the more like Him we become (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Reason number five: we need to glorify and worship God because doing so maintains joy in our lives. Again, as we learned in our article on “joy,” only in the presence of God can we experience true joy (Psalm 16:11); and when the justified are in His presence, they can’t help but to glorify and worship the God of mercy and grace. Look with me at Psalm 5:11-12:

But let all who take refuge in you [God] be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Do you want to live rightly, with God’s blessings on your life? Do you want to be filled with real joy and have your eyes shine with it? Then do as the psalmist says above and take refuge in God; love everything about Him and then, as he also wrote in Psalm 19, verse 8, God will in turn cover you (clothe you, as we were intended) with His glory and you will be blessed.

The sixth reason we need to glorify and worship God is because it reminds us of God’s sovereignty. Just as many psalms declare the goodness and mercy of our Creator, they also emote of His awesome power and sovereignty. You can see it themed in Psalm 22: 25-28, as the psalmist states, “dominion belongs to the Lord.” You can read of it in Psalm 73:27-28 and Psalm 103:19-22, but I truly like the way it is written in Psalm 71:16-18. Read with me:

I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

Did you comprehend that? You are sovereign, O God! Let me live as long as possible so I can declare it to as many as possible. Imagine, if we all prayed that prayer and lived it, what life would be like.

Seventh, our need to glorify and worship God allows all of creation to fulfill its purpose. Most of us recognize Psalm 19:1 when we hear it, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Some may recognize the words penned in Psalm 66:1-4:

Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.”

But how can the heavens declare anything? How can the skies proclaim God or the earth sing of His glorious name? Simple. You and I must do it. Humanity is the voice of creation. The heavens, the skies, the earth, the oceans, and all of the creatures on the earth and in the oceans (Psalm 69:34) are the visual portion of this huge and very corporate worship service known as life. Mankind, we are the voice ringing out in sweet songs of praise and adoration to our Creator, our Giver of life. If we don’t fulfill our purpose and remain vocal with our worship of God the Father, then God will give our job over to His other creations (Luke 19:40). (I really don’t think God prefers “rock” music when He is used to hearing choirs of angels. All right; a bad pun, I’ll admit it; and no slant is being made regarding contemporary Christian music, either, but do you seriously want to be showed up by a bunch of stones?)

I love the words Bob Hartman, guitarist and songwriter for the Christian rock group Petra, wrote for the song “Somebody’s Gonna Praise His Name.” The song was released on the album On Fire, and the lyrics of the chorus read like this, “Somebody’s gonna praise His name. Somebody’s gonna call Him Lord. It’ll either be you and me, or it’s gonna be a rock or tree. Somebody, somewhere is gonna praise His name.” To which he says at the end, “And it’s gonna be me.” Bob Hartman and the rest of Petra seem to know their purpose and have acted on it. Will you join them?

Lastly, the eighth reason we need to glorify and worship God is to rightly respond to God’s calling on our lives. Again, our calling, God’s perfect will for humanity — our purpose, more than anything else under the sun — is to glorify and worship Almighty God. The apostle Paul, in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, stated, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). “Be joyful,” “pray continually,” “give thanks in all circumstances” are all acts of worship. Each is a crucial key to unlocking and revealing God’s glory in our lives; revealing the Father’s will for mankind — worship. God’s will is not so much about what you will do with your life physically. God’s will isn’t about whether you should or should not be in a particular profession, though living by His statutes may clearly dictate a profession to you and keep you from choosing another. It’s about living your life glorifying and worshiping your Creator.

Look with me at 1 Corinthians 10:31, which says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Paul, at this point in his first letter to the church at Corinth, was dealing with an issue of whether people should or should not eat meat that had been sacrificed to a pagan god. Paul explained that if that meat was eaten simply because of hunger, then there was no harm; but if it was eaten and caused them or someone weaker in the faith to get caught up in idol worship, then it was wrong. There was an attitude involved here (remember we discussed having an attitude of worship in Article 3); a motivation. Now, let’s apply this same attitude/motivation to our overall purpose of worship. No matter what you choose to do for a living, do it with the sole motivation of glorifying God, but if your career choice prevents this for some reason, then you should choose another and do so quickly. If we live our lives in fellowship with our Creator (1 John 1:3-4) and worship Him, then His overall will for us to glorify Him will guide us in correctly choosing our spouse, friends, job(s), food, anything and everything. Choosing to live our lives glorifying God is choosing to be holy (set apart). This is why we are urged by both Paul and our Lord, Jesus Christ, throughout the New Testament to worship God rightly. In doing so, we can finally experience our purpose and become true worshipers of God (Matthew 25:14-30; Ephesians 4:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).

Let’s quickly review our eight reasons for seeking out our purpose and worshiping God daily:

Connects the Creator to His creation
Focuses our attention on God
Testifies of God’s goodness and mercy
Reflects God’s glory to the nonbeliever
Maintains joy in our lives
Reminds us of God’s sovereignty
Allows all of creation to fulfill its purpose
Rightly responds to God’s calling

How was that for simple, yet complicated? I know it will take self-discipline and maybe even the discipline of God and other believers to get us to where we really can live out our purpose of worshiping God daily, but the concept is still really quite simple. Our physical limitations and our imperfections are what make it seem so complicated.

Joshua didn’t easily accomplish his worship of the Father either. Each one of these eight reasons for seeking out and worshiping God can be found in Joshua’s story, but none were devoid of struggle. Read over the book of Joshua, if you haven’t yet. Look back over Article 1 and re-examine the five megathemes to see how often the eight reasons listed above appear; take note of the struggles each opportunity for worship brought about in each of the five megathemes.

If I could somehow sum up this whole article in one sentence, it would be this: the dawn of forever is when you place your faith in Christ, but abundant life begins when you fulfill your purpose and become a true worshiper of God.

Three walls have now been erected; onward we go to constructing the fourth and final wall in our temple of worship.

The Joshua Project by J.Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Somebody’s Gonna Praise His Name lyrics and music written by Bob Hartman (Based on Luke 19:40; Psalms 69:34, 148:9). Copyright © 1988 Star Song Music.
If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article V, part 1


Have you ever asked the questions, “Why am I here?” “Why did God create me?” Or, perhaps you have asked this popular question: “What is my purpose in life?” And how many of you ended up more frustrated than before you asked because no one seemed capable of answering any of these questions for you?

Well, if you or someone you know is looking for the answers to these questions, search no more. I’m about to answer them for you and the answer is so simple it may be hard to comprehend. Are you ready? The answer is this — for God’s glory!

“Ah, say again,” you ask? Yes, you heard right, humanity was created to glorify God. Or, to simplify it into one word — worship!

You and I and all of humanity, in fact all of creation, from the beginning of time until now and moving forward throughout eternity, were made to glorify and worship the Lord God Jehovah — our Creator (Colossians 1:16).

Too easy of an answer for you to accept? Then we’ll complicate it by looking at this truth more deeply (spoiler alert: it will still be simple, but let’s continue).

Let’s begin by examining the definition of the word “purpose” (if we can comprehend its meaning, then we will more easily grasp why we care so much to know we have one and what it is). “Purpose,” according to The Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “(noun) the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists; a person’s sense of resolve or determination.” Did you catch that all important phrase, “the reason”? Hold on to that as we look to the definition of purpose as written in The Life Application Study Bible (NIV), which states it as: “(verb) intention; objective; God’s predetermined will.” Purpose is God’s reason (noun) for His objective or predetermined will (verb), or it is God’s reason for His objective or predetermined will to take place. God chose to create life, humanity in particular, for His glory (Colossians 1:16-17; Revelation 4:11), therefore creation declares His glory and worships God (Psalm 19:1; 148:5).

Do you recall the formulas from Article 2? God’s attributes (faith, hope, and love) plus our acknowledging God’s attributes equals our worshiping God. Well, in like manner, God purposed for mankind “life” and not just a mere existence either; God purposed for us all “abundant life.” Human beings simply need to acknowledge that God has intended for them “abundant life” and then allow themselves to experience true worship — our purpose.

The famous writer and lecturer Helen Keller understood this principle of worship. Despite being both deaf and blind, Helen was able to conquer her disabilities and pen these words regarding “purpose.” She wrote, “Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” Think about that for a moment . . . “a worthy purpose.” No one is more worthy to be glorified, praised, and worshiped than our Creator! Allowing yourself to be wrapped in God’s glory, worshiping Him, is every person’s “worthy purpose.” Oh, the true happiness [joy] that will flood your soul!

Stop making life harder than it already is. Sin has wreaked enough havoc on mankind without adding in the pressure of seeking out one’s purpose or destiny. No matter what you choose to be or do in life, know that all that really matters is that you recognize God the Father purposed abundant life for you — abundant life that can only exist in you via your relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Read John 10:10b with me: “I [Jesus Christ] have come that they [humanity] may have life, and have it to the full [abundantly].”

Now, “abundant life” is not to say that God will give you great physical well-being or physical stature or physical wealth or great physical anything. No! God is speaking in regard to our spirits being enriched by fulfilling our purpose to glorify and worship Him. Human beings, you see, are spiritual beings more so than they are physical beings. Therefore, we must consider the spiritual implications involved.

Best-selling author and theologian C.S. Lewis understood this fact. Mr. Lewis is quoted as having said, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Scripture even tells us we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). God is not physical in His makeup, but spiritual. So the spiritual implications must be considered here, not the physical, and our physical bodies being made comfortable and happy on earth is not necessarily going to be revealed to us as part of our purpose. Can we experience such blessings? Yes; but don’t forget what we discussed in Article 4 regarding suffering — it’s normal (1 Peter 4:12-13). A prominent position in society, great wealth, and perfect health are perks or rewards some get to enjoy along life’s journey, but these things should never be expected nor should they be taken for granted. That’s why we call them “blessings.” They are special and out of the ordinary.

So, having been made in God’s image, we must realize and come to terms with the fact that we are spiritual beings more so than physical beings. And knowing this, we must begin in our lives the process of seeking out our “worthy purpose,” which is to glorify and worship God, thus enabling us to live life abundantly as it was intended. But why, you may ask, do we need to glorify and worship God? And, why does God desire this type of relationship with us? Well, there are actually eight specific reasons why we need to do so, and the same eight also explain why God desires our daily worship and glorification of Him. Let’s look at each one.

The first reason we need to glorify and worship God is because it connects us to Him. Jehovah never meant for us to be separated from Himself. We were meant to be in God’s presence, covered by His glory (Psalm 8:4-5) and reflecting His righteousness (Proverbs 4:18; Romans 1:14-17), as I stated earlier in Article 2, but Jehovah can’t cover us in His glory if we are disconnected, and we can’t reflect His glory if we are distant; both of which are caused by our sin, as explained in Article 4. Sin disconnected all of creation from God, the Creator of life, but Christ bridged that gap between God and humanity via His death and resurrection, thus allowing us to reconnect with the Father through faith in Christ. Worshiping the Father, through our relationship with Christ, reconnects us to our Creator, who then regains connection with His creation (Psalm 95:6-8a).

Second, we need to glorify and worship God because in doing so we focus our attention away from ourselves and towards God. In fact, this is the essence of true worship — giving God all our attention. David did this in many of the psalms he wrote. Like Psalm 29:1-2, “Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.” David doted on his Lord, as a young woman dotes over a first love. As she can think and speak of no other, so too was David totally focused on God, the Father. Another example is Psalm 96:7-9, which reads:

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into His courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth.

When was the last time you were in the presence of the Almighty, totally focused on Him, doting on your Creator? If you can quickly recall the time, then you are living out this principle of worship; if not . . . maybe you should spend some special time with God being “still” (Psalm 46:10) and realizing your purpose.

Third, our need to glorify and worship God testifies of God’s goodness and mercy. If God’s wonderful attributes of faith, hope, and love cause us to worship Him when in His presence, then it stands to reason that those same godly attributes, when seen in our lives through our worship of the Father, will testify of them as well (Psalm 145:1-21). It’s the living out of these godly attributes that testifies and then attracts the nonbelievers of the world to consider a relationship with God. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” In other words, shine forth God’s attributes of faithfulness, hope, and above all else — love.

There are many psalms that reflect the truth that God is good and merciful, but none so well-worded as the Twenty-third Psalm. Read with me and meditate on these words:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The fourth reason for glorifying and worshiping God is to reflect His glory to the lost. We’ll study this reason we need to glorify and worship God, and the other four remaining reasons, more closely the next time we post.

Two walls have now been erected; stay with us as we continue constructing the third wall of our temple of worship.

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