My wife recently purchased a gospel CD to help choreograph a dance-skit one of our Dance-Ministry teams performed at this year’s Harvest-Fest Celebration. At our church, we discourage the celebration of Halloween and provide the children a Christian alternative instead, but that is beside the point of this post, so let me get to my point! The CD she purchased was by a well-known and respected Gospel artist. She played it so much during the rehearsals that I found myself humming the melody and singing the lyrics all of the time! The more I listened to the CD, the more I liked it! In fact, when she was not using it for rehearsal, it was in the CD-player in my car! Now, although most of the songs on the CD were geared toward uplifting and encouraging the listener, I found myself wondering about the biblical validity of the message the music was conveying. After taking a step back from this particular CD (I was getting addicted; couldn’t get the songs out of my head!) and listening to other artists, I noticed a common theme that is prevalent in gospel music today. Much of the music and songs are about things working out for “our good.” The artists tell the listeners things like: “This is your season for grace and favor; this is your time to be blessed!” “Everything is working out for your good!” No weapon formed against you shall prosper!” and “God favors me!”
Now, the purpose of all of these songs and sayings is to minister encouragement to people and I have no problem with that. My problem is I think that all too often, we (humanity) forget who is God! We did not create God to serve us; but rather, we were created by God to serve God! Or, as the psalmist of old put it in Psalm 100:3: “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Much of the music being produced today seems to imply that God exists for us and the ultimate goal is “our good!” But, the fact of the matter is this: We exist for God and the ultimate goal is “His glory!” What are we talking about when we talk about His glory? We’re talking about His fame and His reputation! We’re talking about His esteem and His honor! Everything God created (including and especially humanity) was created to bring Him glory and honor!
One of the first passages I learned as a young Christian was Romans 8:28. That verse says: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I can’t tell you the number of times the Lord has used that verse to help me make some sense of the adverse things that happened in my life. Yes, most of us know and can quote Romans 8:28. However, Romans 8:28 was not meant to stand by itself! It can only be rightly interpreted and understood when it is combined with verse 29! Romans 8:29 describes and further amplifies the “them” in verse 28. By the way, with just 28, we must understand that all things don’t work together for everybody, only for “them that love (obey) God and are called according to his (God’s) purpose (plan and will). Romans 8:29 says: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Taken in context, “the good” referred to in verse 28 corresponds with the phrase “to be conformed to the image of His Son” in verse 29. In other words, everything that happens in the believer’s life, God works it out and uses it to shape and mold the believer into the image of Jesus! The Bible says that Jesus was the visible image of the invisible God, thus to be like Jesus is to be like God, which was the purpose of our creation in the first place! Remember, Genesis 1:26-27? “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
The Bible seems to suggest that the prime objective, without a doubt, is God’s glory! Our good is not the main objective, but rather our good contributes to the main objective, which is God’s glory! It might be that I am just splitting hairs and making much ado about nothing. But I just think we all need to be reminded that it is in Him that we move and have our being. Whatever good, whatever grace and whatever favor that is granted in our lives, is not just for our good; ultimately, it is for His glory!