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It is an amazing thing to contemplate, but our actions have an effect upon God, His purposes, and His work in this world. By our decisions, our deeds, and even our thoughts, we either glorify God or we dishonor Him. We either help His cause or we hurt it. We show ourselves to be either the friends of God or His enemies (Jas. 4:4). When we exercise the wonderful freedom of the will God has given us, great consequences hang in the balance! Our intent, of course, should be to do only that which contributes in a positive way to God's cause. As God's people, we should want to honor Him in everything we do. The very height of our ambition ought to be to do even some small thing that would give honor to God. Indeed, this is the purpose for which we were created. When our actions show forth God's goodness and His glory, we are fulfilling our destiny as His creatures. We are His vessels, and we ought to want to be ones that are worthy of His use.
Doing all that we do to God's glory (and seeking to avoid anything inconsistent with His glory), we discover a meaning to life on earth that would otherwise be impossible. Even the difficult and painful necessities of life take on a different look when we see them as opportunities to glorify God. Paul even went so far as to say that if Christ would be honored by his death, then he was ready to die: "It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death" (Phil. 1:20). Paul's attitude is commendable, and we ought to strive for the same way of thinking.
But when it comes to glorifying God, we need to remember this: it is not only in the grandeur of big sacrifices that we glorify God; it is also in the little day-to-day things that are done as we serve Him faithfully. Few of us will ever have the opportunity to lay down our lives for God in a public martyrdom. But what God wants from each of us is the willingness to do all that we do -- both the "big" things and the "little" ones -- as if we were doing them for Him personally. This, really, is what it means to live as a Christian. Paul put it this way: "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men" (Col. 3:23). And Jesus said, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Mt. 5:16).
Monday: Psalm 119:103-105
Key Idea: We must bring our principles and our values into line with truth.
Questions for Family Growth: What are some practical reasons why it is important to align our thinking with truth? Are all beliefs about God just a matter of personal opinion? In what direction does erroneous thinking lead us, according to Prov. 14:12?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:10.
Tuesday: James 4:17
Key Idea: We must maintain integrity, i.e. consistency between our principles and our practice.
Questions for Family Growth: What do we mean by sins of "commission" as opposed to sins of "omission"? What are some words people often use to describe the person who believes one thing but practices the opposite?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:11.
Wednesday: Luke 10:38-42
Key Idea: We must learn to put first things first, doing whatever most needs to be done.
Questions for Family Growth: Even though what she was doing was not sinful in itself, what was the mistake Martha was making, at least at that moment? What does Lk. 10:29-37 teach us about putting first things first?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:12.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 7:1
Key Idea: We must not sacrifice purity for pleasure.
Questions for Family Growth: With regard to pleasure, what is the devil always tempting us to do? Is pleasure inherently wrong? If not, when does pleasure become wrong? What is more important than pleasure?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:13.
Friday: Matthew 5:33-37
Key Idea: We must keep our commitments and follow through on our responsibilities.
Questions for Family Growth: If one is a Christian, why should an oath be unnecessary to guarantee his word? In Eccl. 5:1-7, what did Solomon say about keeping our word? In regard to commitment-keeping, what is the difference between being "faithful" and being "faithless"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:14.