Today in Garner, men of varying ages and background gathered to ask one very important question.
As a man, what is my first commitment? My first commitment is to glorify God with every word, deed, and thought.
Young and old, they sought to examine their hearts and see what life would look like to live out that question and answer in their homes, church, and the greater Raleigh area. This is what they discussed. I hope you enjoy it.
As a man, you will always be tempted to look for, strive for, and live for your own glory. It is built into your DNA. Even if a man is quiet and does not seek the spotlight, he will still want and desire some measure of personal glory. You’ll be tempted your entire life to see personal glory at school, in sports, at work, and even in casual conversations.
Unfortunately, the life that seeks personal glory leads to pain and destruction as James 3:16 says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” Simply, if your ambition is to always win, always be better than others, always be on top, you simply have no place for Jesus. And Jesus is your only hope.
Here is the amazing thing about Jesus. He was the only person who had a right to seek after His on glory. Jesus was God, but didn’t consider His equality something to keep Him from obeying His father (Philippians 2:6). Even though Jesus had every right to receive glory, He didn’t seek it. In John 8:50, Jesus tells us, “I honor my Father. I do not seek my own glory.” Jesus was able to live a life of humility seeking only His Father’s glory because that was His passion. That was the motivation to everything He did: glorifying the Father.
Passions drive actions. Don’t make any mistake in thinking that your life is not driven by passions. The real question is, “What are you passionate about?” You have so many options: work, money, grades, video games, eating, praise, approval, gadgets, a big house, and the list goes on and on. What drives you?
Making your first commitment to give God glory directs and realigns all of your other passions. That is why Jesus gave the command to not worry about much food you have or how nice your clothes or what you will drink. Food, drink, and clothing are all passions. Instead, however, Jesus commands us to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33.
Seek to glorify God. Seek seeing His Kingdom grow. Seek the righteousness of Jesus. Jesus promises that if you make those your passions, then you will not have to worry about the things that so many others spend their life chasing after.
When I was in college, I got sidetracked. My goal was to graduate, get a job, and start a life on my own. These were typical goals for a college student. Towards that end, I entered college as a Business major, but in my freshmen year, I switched to Sociology because I read about the amount of money statisticians made working for the government.
I jumped into my studies with all passion and energy, but I soon discovered that Sociological Stats were much harder than I ever imagined. The tools required for the work did not match up well with my skill sets or my High School class work. As a result, I was spending hour after hour trying to master stats all the while ignoring how easily my English classes came to me. Now, working hard to improve one’s skills is not a bad thing, but I only hung in there because my motivation was a big paycheck.
As a result, many opportunities to make friends and deepen my relationship with Christ were missed. I just wasn’t going to have time for those things if I wanted to make a lot of money.
Personal glory and a big bank account were my passions.
In the middle of my sophomore year, after much persuasion and a good amount of guilt from my InterVarsity staff worker, I attended the Urbana Missions Conference in Illinois. There I saw and met thousands of people who were passionate about one thing: giving glory to Jesus Christ.
Over and over, each moment of that conference, people gave testimonies about the need for people to give, not just their heart, but their entire lives over to Jesus. So many did not know Him as their Savior, and God was calling each of us to direct our passions towards that work. That would give glory to God.
It was on a New Years Eve that I confessed my sin in tears. I was living to glorify myself and build my own Kingdom. God was calling me to direct my passions to glorify Him and build His Kingdom. Repentance for me looked like changing my major yet at again. This time however, I became an English major with the goal of teaching High School to inner city youth. I prayerfully hoped that God would receive glory by my redirected passions.
Think about your passions, but first and foremost, ask yourself, “Do I know the forgiveness and love of Jesus Christ?” If your answer that question is no, then consider this promise of Scripture:
Romans 10:9-10 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Faith in Jesus for forgiveness of your sins changes your passions.
That is true if you already know Jesus as well. The question for those of you who do know Jesus is, “How important is giving glory to Jesus to you? Is this your strongest passion?”
Breakout Verse: Matthew 22:36-37 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Describe 3 things that you are passionate about. Don’t hesitate to be honest. You will not be judged by your answers. Knowing your passions will help you learn something about yourself.
What actions surround your passions? Another way to say it is, what do you spend most of your time doing? Each person will always give time to their passions.
Are any of your passions sinful or less than best? If so, what does the thought of spending less time on your passions feel like?
Jesus describes the passionate life that gives glory to God as loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. What would a life passionate about these things look like?
· Are there any ways in which your present passions can be used to give God greater glory?