Thursday, October 12

Training for Glory

For him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. --Romans 11:36 (NIV)

Ever since my husband and I moved further south, we had been hesitant yet resolved to visit a more local church. After more than a month of failed attempts due to health issues and being out of town, we finally went. I had been almost physically aching to be back in fellowship among fellow believers. Initially I thought I was because there was something in me that longed to have my social needs met, but this was not the case. There was a deeper calling--almost an urgency--that tugged at my soul.

What was it that beckoned to me? Why was it that I felt so compelled to be at church?

Going to church should not be about meeting my needs; it is about knowing and carrying out my immediate purpose in life and being mindful of my eventual eternal purpose. Specifically, my purpose is to glorify God. In order to do that most effectively in my day-to-day life throughout the other six days of the week, it is vitally important that I remember the sabbath and keep it holy. This means worshipping and glorifying God with a body believers.

But couldn't I glorify God wherever I am? Why do I need to be at church?

Church attendance is an important link in the process of learning to glorify God. This helps explain why I felt so displaced during the time that I was away from church. Church is a place where I am instructed in the scriptures by someone in authority who has studied them and can help me understand them more clearly. Since scripture, which I believe is inspired by God, contains instructions for how I am to glorify God. Unless I attend church, I'm not doing a very good job of learning what I must do to glorify God. It would be just as pointless as if I showed my employer asked that I attend a training seminar about how to perform my job better, but I foolishly decided not to go because I didn't think I needed any instruction.

I believe that as long as I was not in regular attendance at church, I was not fulfilling my purpose. Without purpose I felt disconnected on all levels, and not just from God. The Westminster shorter catechism--a series of questions and answers about what the Presbyterian denomination believes and why--states that "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever."

Learning how to glorify God will never stop as long as I am on this earth. When my time here is finished, I will be in God's presence glorifying him eternally. That is the ultimate goal and the ultimate realization of God's purpose for me. In the meantime, I'm still in training as I fulfill my immediate purpose as a woman who seeks to know God better.

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