Column: Creative thanking
I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. – Psalm 7:17
The life-long, well-studied, devout, Bible-savvy Christian believer was earnestly making a point in a recent Bible study:
“We have to understand that everything God does is for us.”
And that’s when my blood pressure started to rise. God’s volition – what He does and why He does it – is a mystery largely hidden from human understanding. Close study of the Bible reveals, surely, a creative, living, righteous, relational God of tenacious love whose own glory is the defining will and purpose for everything He does.
So, am I – or you, we, whomever – the driving stimulus for all that God says, does, plans, promises and provides? Or is there something bigger than me; a greater purpose than humanity? I’m saying there is, and that bigger thing is the Glory of God.
Do we really need to care about God’s motivation? Or just know He is there (Psalm 46:10), that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18) and the Holy Spirit is our advocate, comforter and soul-filling divine connecting point (John 14:26)?
While some of God’s existence is gloriously revealed in the heavens, the earth, scripture and in some but not all churches, ministries, faiths, human relationships and scientific discovery, I don’t see anything anywhere that suggests my existence, in God’s eyes, is “all about me.”
That’s backwards at best, and at worst suggests, perilously, that God’s creational purpose is my glory, not His. Since we praise what is most important to us and worship what we think is most important to God, it is a short, predictable step from “all about me” to saying either “I am God” or, like the modernists, “Let’s define God in our own image.”
Where all this joins up with thankfulness in this Thanksgiving week is in discerning and understanding what we are truly thankful for. Are we thankful for a righteous God who is truth, love, justice and mercy on His own dependable terms, even when we don’t understand? Or are we merely thankful to God when we get good stuff, and mad at God when we get bad stuff?
Humanity, made in God’s own image, is surely important. That God sent Jesus to save us is divine love at its most humble and profound. That the Holy Spirit gives us instruction makes a massive point about the importance of our intellect and education.
But when I give God thanks for the saving person and grace of Jesus Christ, I’m thanking Him for His righteousness, not my importance.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) loves a good, lively Bible study discussion.