NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, THE CHURCH, and THE GLORY OF GOD
Last night the National Championship game was held, with Clemson defeating Alabama in the final seconds 35-31. It was one of the greatest championship games ever played, with 2 great teams and 2 great coaches giving their all for the victory. What made the difference? I’m sure there has already been a lot of in depth analysis on that question, but I would say that the winning team, had the right mindset. Coaches talk a lot about “getting your mind right” before you go out and play. Get your mind right, think about the things you need to do, think about why you are doing those things, think about your teammates and all of that. Get your mind right! Clemson did just that and to quote their coach, Dabo Sweeney (ironically an Alabama graduate who won a National title while playing for the Crimson Tide) at the end of the game, “we won because of love. We love each other.” They had built each other up and they went into battle for each other. They had their minds right.
Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 14 about building up the church, this one of the famous passages on spiritual gifts. He says to use your gifts for the building up of the church and that when the church comes together and people are using their gifts then outsiders who come in will “worship God and declare that God is really among you” (14:25). In other words when we use our gifts that we have been given by God for the glory of God then God will move in great ways and amazing things will happen. When we live loving God and loving other people great things happen. Jesus said these were the 2 greatest commandments and in fact that they summed up the entire law. Living this way intentionally then is what life is all about.
This should lead us to a question, and that question is this, how has God gifted me for His service or another way to ask it would be how has God gifted me for His glory? How can I best glorify Him and point other people to Him? How can I purposefully love other people? Most of the time however that is not our thought process, most of the time our thought process is just how can I get from one day to the next. How can I get the kids fed? How can I get the things at work accomplished? How can I get a little rest? How can I make it to the weekend? We need to “get our minds right.”
Paul’s words however suggest living with an intentionality and purposefully finding ways to build up the church and glorify God. Thomas Manton, the great preacher of the 1600s said, “no one is sent into the world to be idle , or to bring forth fruit to themselves, but God’s work and glory must be our chief aim while we are here on this earth.” Our calling and in fact our privilege is to glorify God and serve His church. That is why we exist and once we do those things, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14 that people will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. In other words if you want to be a world changer live with intentionality for the glory of God. If you want to be a world changer get your mind right. Set your mind on things above, set your mind on the things of God, or as Jesus put it, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added to you.” Make up your mind that through the grace of God you are going to live with intentionality, you are going to find ways to build up the church, ways to use your gifts, ways to glorify Him. Then as God works through you, you will be amazed at the results.