Once a week, a group of 3 lads (including me), read a chapter of a book and then meet up at our Pastor’s house together to chat about it. A couple of weeks ago we started “On the Human Condition” – St. Basil. We usually seem to only read the long-gone olden day theologians, which makes a nice change from my regular reading. The discussion began to border on motivation and drive. So at the risk of annoying everyone, and taking us down a tangent which was totally irrelevant, I put forward my recent dilemma about being driven for God’s glory. I didn’t regret it!
My Pastor, Andy, told me about when he was young he read an interview about an Olympic Runner (I think it was a runner) who got a gold medal. The article basically explained how many sacrifices the runner made in order to get the Gold medal. In other words he was driven to get the medal, and would sacrifice anything to get it: family, money, nice food, time, energy etc. Andy said when he read that as a young twenty something he was really inspired. If a man can give up so much just for a medal, how much more should I give up and be driven by a desire for God’s glory!
Andy said that although this language of running a race and stripping off everything which slows us down is biblical (1 Cor 9:24-25, Phil 3:12-16). That there is definitely a cost to following Jesus, a cross to carry, a driven-ness that should be there. It doesn’t necessarily work itself out in the same way.
Pause. I want to be careful not to misinterpret what he said. I want to be careful that I present this well and correctly. I am not saying, or going to say, that living a life worthy of the gospel isn’t to be difficult, isn’t to be costly – BUT active, surrendering, submitting, sacrificial, with “every effort made” and “making the most of every moment”.
However…when we run the race. The driven-ness for God’s glory, does work itself out differently. It works out through our lives, deeply. The Joy of the Lord, which is our strength, demonstrates itself in our marriages, our work, our friendships, our exercise, our eating, our sleeping. Not separately for them. (Tension: There are seasons where God calls us to fast from food, exercise, to rest from work and even to surrender certain friendships up to Him.)
So what does this actually mean, in relationship to my dilemma: How does my desire for God’s glory drive me to a greater degree than the desire for my own glory.
- I think it means, that I should expect this new sort of driven-ness to produce in me a different sort of fruit than what the other one did. Whereas one produced an appearance of holiness, sorted-ness, success, etc – this one may produce humility, dependency, patience, love, joy.
- I think it also means that the things I am going to need to sacrifice as a result of this desire, to an extent, will be different from the old. For example, whereas before I may have needed to sacrifice sleep in order to get up early and have a work out, I may need instead to sacrifice self-dependency (2 Cor 1:9) so that I can rely on Him for my strength.
Thanks for bearing with my rambling again, as I try to work these things out! I am sure this isn’t the end of it, but I am excited to see what God is unearthing!
Aside from being comforted to know that my pastor has struggled with these questions, I am reminded of the power of God’s body (the Church) working together to build up; encourage; teach and sharpen each other!