The Glory-Driven Life: A Riff on The Purpose-Driven Life

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Expands on the best-selling series to suggest that Glory is our ultimate Purpose. Explores the Historical, Theologically, Philisophical, and Personal dimensions of glory.

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The Glory-Driven Life: A Riff on The Purpose-Driven Life

  1. 1. Ernest N. Prabhakar, Ph.D.DrErnie@RadicalCentrism.orgThe Glory-Driven LifeSunday AM2007-12-02Kingsway.usSan Jose, CAPart three of Trilogy; last year!s Prodigal Brother, July!s “Pervasive Kingdom”Emotional narrative, Intellectual Overview, Motivational ChallengeCopyright 2007 Dr.Ernest.N.Prabhakar@RadicalCentrism.orgMay be copied and modified freely under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0<http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/>1Monday, December 29, 2008
  2. 2. GLORYDOING?ERNEST PRABHAKARYour first thought is the Rick Warren book...Not quite; not the original motivation, but the idea of Purpose is quite relevant.2Monday, December 29, 2008
  3. 3. Why Do We Sin?Question I!ve been asking for several months.similar to the question Time Magazine was asking last week!not concerned with what makes Gandhi different than Hitler, but the Hitler inside all of us.Deep theological question, so ask the wisest men I know.3Monday, December 29, 2008
  4. 4. Most of you know Barney as John!s pastor and shepherd of our movement.We had dinner a few months ago, so I asked him.“That!s easy. We have a rear end and we need some place to put it”(few moments to realize he thought I!d said “why do we sit”)Ironically, though, it gave me a clue...4Monday, December 29, 2008
  5. 5. Systems Theory• We are made ofmany Systems• Every Systemhas a Purpose• Sin is when ourPurposes don’talign with God’sThis is one the one tricky concept.- legs to run- digestive system to eat (and excrete)- reproductive urge- brain to work puzzles- etc.5Monday, December 29, 2008
  6. 6. Sin the broad sense is “missing the mark”When our we fail to achieve the purpose God has for usbecause our subsystems are mis-aligned6Monday, December 29, 2008
  7. 7. Perspectives on Purpose• Historical• Philosophical• Theological• PersonalSo, what exactly is that purpose, and how can we achieve it?The answer is actually quite simple, but the question is rather complex, so I!ll approach it from fourdifferent aspects.7Monday, December 29, 2008
  8. 8. What Is Our Purpose?Start with the Historical8Monday, December 29, 2008
  9. 9. Modern“Want”HappinessSufferingAs moderns, we believe in “the pursuit of happiness” [Declaration] and the elimination of suffering.“What do I want” “The Me generation” “Have it your way.”9Monday, December 29, 2008
  10. 10. Traditional“Must”HonorShameContrast with traditional societies, which are build on family obligation. Example: Sandhya whenrelatives visited. Not a question of choice or desire, but expectation.10Monday, December 29, 2008
  11. 11. Clerical“Ought”HolinessSinthird, less-common situation, communities led by priests or monks.focus is not on personal pleasure or social approval, but religious purity.Think of the Puritans in Plymouth Rock, or Christian Hermits in Medieval Europe.11Monday, December 29, 2008
  12. 12. HolinessHonorHappinessConflict!Not just different eras, all of us feel the tug of all threeWe all want to be happy, honored, and holy. Unfortunately, I believe it is the conflict between thosethree that leads us to missing God!s purpose.In fact, I find a lot of my anxiety comes from the tug of war between the desire to please myself,others, and God. Can anyone else relate to that?12Monday, December 29, 2008
  13. 13. Which is God’sPurpose for Us?If that!s the case, then the question becomes: which of these three is *really* God!s purpose for us?As before, though, we!ll see that different groups answer the question differently. Even amongChristians!13Monday, December 29, 2008
  14. 14. SelfHopeHappinessShame SinSUFFERINGThem: John 10:10 “ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they mayhave life, and have it to the full.”God dislikes Shame and Sin because they destory Happiness.Loving Parent.Virtue -> Hope“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4.Self (personal happiness) => Suffering the enemy.Yet the Bible says to embrace.Apostle Paul Philippians 3:10-11“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in hissufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from thedead.”Hence the problem “theodicy” -- why does God allow suffering, if He wants HappinessThe obvious answer is God!s purpose for us includes Suffering; must be other!14Monday, December 29, 2008
  15. 15. SocietyLoveHonorSuffer SinSHAMEBecause of this, many Christians reject the Self-centered view above. Instead, their marching orderscome from Matthew 23:11-12 “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exaltshimself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Their favorite virtue is Love,for they believe that as they serve society -- by eliminating suffering and sin -- that God will honorthem.While that may at times be true, it overlooks the fact that sometimes God calls us to act contrary towhat Society esteems. In fact in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explictily states “Blessed arethose who are persecuted because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you andfalsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is yourreward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”God!s purpose can!t quite be a simple as “honor”, or else He wouldn!t want us to be happy at beingshamed!15Monday, December 29, 2008
  16. 16. SpiritFaithHolinessSuffer ShameSINThis has led many Christians to eschew attempting to find any sort of purpose on earth. For them,the only thing that matter is having a pure heart towards God, and that both Suffering and Shameare useful tools to free us from Sin. Their motto is from I Peter 1:16, echoing the words of Leviticus“Be Holy Because I Am Holy.” They have Faith that as long as they resist all the temptations of thisworld and obey God!s Law, He will cleanse their spirits. Surely there could be no higher purpose.Who could argue with that?Shockingly, Jesus Himself did. You wouldn!t believe me if I told you what He did, so I!ll let you hearit in his own words.16Monday, December 29, 2008
  17. 17. Luke 6:1-5One Sabbath Jesus was goingthrough the grainfields, and hisdisciples began to pick someheads of grain, rub them in theirhands and eat the kernels.Some of the Pharisees asked, "Whyare you doing what is unlawful onthe Sabbath?"17Monday, December 29, 2008
  18. 18. Jesus answered them, "Have younever read what David did whenhe and his companions werehungry? He entered the house ofGod, and taking the consecratedbread, he ate what is lawful onlyfor priests to eat. And he also gavesome to his companions."Then Jesus said to them, "The Sonof Man is Lord of the Sabbath."Amazing, Jesus condoned breaking one of Moses very own commandments simply because hedidn!t want his disciples to go hungry. Why would he do that, if God!s primary purpose for our liveswas to teach us holiness?Some of you are probably thinking, “The problem isn!t with Holiness *per se*, but that the Phariseesdidn!t understand the kind of Holiness God was interested in.” Yes, exactly -- but the same could besaid about our understanding of Happiness and Honor!18Monday, December 29, 2008
  19. 19. Going Beyond(our understanding of)•Happiness•Honor•HolinessThe answer, I believe, is that we need to go beyond Happiness, Honor, and even Holiness -- or atleast our imperfect understanding thereof -- to understand God!s true purpose for us. We need adeeper perspective that incorporates all three.19Monday, December 29, 2008
  20. 20. What is God’sPurpose For Himself?In fact, I believe we actually need to go one step further and ask: what is God!s purpose forHimself?20Monday, December 29, 2008
  21. 21. Three PersonsFatherSpiritSonOne SystemOneGodWhen faced with tensions like these, I always go back to the Trinity. Specifically, even though weexperience God as three distinct persons, He is ultimately only one God, and thus a single System.21Monday, December 29, 2008
  22. 22. What does that mean? It means that when we look at the world through human eyes, we “seethrough a glass dimly.” It is like a photograph, where we only have the green (or red, or blue)negative. While all of those give us _some_ idea of what we!re looking at, the true nature isn!trevealed until we look at all three simultaneously.22Monday, December 29, 2008
  23. 23. One PurposeHappyHonoredHolyGloryFatherSpiritSonIn this case, it means that if God is one System, then He must have one Purpose for Himself.Specifically, I believe God!s purpose includes -- but transcends -- our human understandings ofpurpose. And I can!t think of a better word to describe that purpose than Glory.See this in Jesus“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that theymay always see my glory which you have given me because you loved me beforethe foundation of the world” -- John 17:2423Monday, December 29, 2008
  24. 24. Always His GlorySustainerCreatorSaviourGloryFatherSpiritSonIn fact, understanding God!s purpose as Glorifying Himself helps makes sense of difficult situationswe face. Consider someone who was diagnosed with cancer:* If we discover a drug from yew trees that cures it, the Father gets Glory as Creator* If the elders pray and the person is healed, the Spirit gets Glory as Sustainer* If there is no cure, yet the person dies peacefully in the hope of heaven, Christ gets glory asSaviourIn other words, outcomes we see as very different are all to God equivalent, as they promote HisGlory.24Monday, December 29, 2008
  25. 25. In fact, this brings us back to my initial question. If God!s purpose in all things is His glory, thenanything that fails to manifest his glory is Sin. Which of course is the message of Romans 3:23“For all have sinned all fall short of the Glory of God”25Monday, December 29, 2008
  26. 26. How Can WePursue Glory?Having established that God!s purpose for Himself is glory, though, we still need to make it personal.What is the analogue in our own lives of God!s pursuit of Self Glory?26Monday, December 29, 2008
  27. 27. To ManifestThe Best AttributesThereofTo start with, let me define Glory.The world glorify something simple means to make the best attributes of that thing visible or easilyseen. Think of the poets in the courts of Roman Emperors, whose job was to articulate anddisseminate knowledge of the ruler!s achievements. Or a makeup artists (esthetician?) on thebride!s wedding day.The question is, whose attributes are we manifesting?27Monday, December 29, 2008
  28. 28. Glorifying SelfHappyHonoredHolyIWell, at one level, I am making the provocative claim that we what as humans *really* want is nothappiness, honor, or even holiness. Rather, what we ultimately want -- what we pursue when weare “most ourselves”, rather than slaves to our “lower desires” -- is our own glory.One person who really helped me understand this was Ryan McKee [hiking example]. I don!t havea picture of that, but I found out that makes the same point.28Monday, December 29, 2008
  29. 29. Now, I wouldn!t call this a “happy place”. In fact, he looks like someone who broke severalimportant rules, and many would consider an idiot. Yet, at the same time, there is something nobleand majestic about him. His whole being -- a lifetime of training, mind body and soul -- isconcentrated on a single life-or-death action, pulling himself to safety. He has placed himself(wittingly or not) in a situation where he will either manifest His glory -- or die trying. In fact, I wouldargue that he is in many ways fully alive at this moment (even if not for long long :-).But there!s another way to think about glory...29Monday, December 29, 2008
  30. 30. Glorifying ChristHappyHonoredHoly!That is take everything we have learned about glory, about aligning our lives and all the subsystemsthat make up our selves, and sumit them to Christ.30Monday, December 29, 2008
  31. 31. In fact, this is exactly what Christ did for us. He embraced suffering, shame -- and yes, even sin --in order that all glory might go to God. I love this picture, as it emphasizes the weakness andvulnerabilty of Christ!s submission to God, in direct contrast to the previous picture of self-glory.31Monday, December 29, 2008
  32. 32. Two Different Roads!IProverbs 14:12 Matthew 7:13-14[Bring up worship team]Because ultimately, you have to choose whom to glorify. If you choose to glorify yourself, to focuson exalting your *own* best attributes, maximizing your own happiness, honor, and holiness life canseem pretty wonderful -- at first. But thought it starts out bright, there is a black hole.Proverbs 14:12"“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”The problem is that the pursuit of self-glory can never quite fulfill its promises. Conversely, the wayof the cross seems dark and painful, but ultimately provides true life.Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road thatleads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leadsto life, and only a few find it.”32Monday, December 29, 2008
  33. 33. Two Questions• Will I let go of “my” happiness,honor, and holiness?• So God can glorify me• Will I let go of “my” glory?• So Christ can be glorified in meFirst of all, do you accept that God!s utlimate purpose is your glory? That He values yourhappiness, honor, and holiness even more than you do? [Davey story] “Stop whining” and let Godshape you?But second of all, once you accept that glory is the highest human end, are you willing to die to all ofit? Are you willing to let God bring you do a place of suffering, shame, and even awareness of yourutter sinfulness, so that Christ can be glorified in you?Meditate on those questions while the band plays and the prayer team comes forward.[Then, ask people to stand...]33Monday, December 29, 2008
  34. 34. 34Monday, December 29, 2008
  35. 35. The Endhttp://RadicalCentrism.org!35Monday, December 29, 2008

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