In today's Christian subculture it's not hard to find a million articles, books, sermons, blog posts, tweets, or videos that give you 10 more tips on how to be a good Christian. There are thousands of great causes, and with each great cause there is another spokesperson writing or speaking about why you should join their cause. There are the endless theological hot topics that are debated in the "comments" section of the blogosphere. There are sermon jams (where the audio from a sermon is paired with emotional music), that strum on your heartstrings and leave you feeling "fired up." So why, in the midst of all of this do I submit yet another post into the already information overloaded American Christian subculture? Why do I ironically use the very same medium that I criticize? Because I want to communicate something that will cut through the foggy confusion of peripheral issues. I want to give a clear and simple explanation of what the Christian life is supposed to be all about.
To state it simply, we are to glorify God by knowing Him and making Him known.
God makes it clear in His Word that we exist to bring Him praise (Isaiah 43:7, 21; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Peter 4:1-11). He created mankind to reflect His image and multiply His glory over all of the earth (Genesis 1:26-28), but we've obviously failed at this and as a result deserve punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). However, Jesus took our punishment, gave us His perfection, and has now called us to no longer live for ourselves, but for Him & His glory (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
Now, the big question is, "How do I do that? How do I glorify God?"
By Knowing Him
As a Christian, our number one priority is to love God (Mark 12:28-31). Though there may be hundreds of other important things throughout our week, if we aren't taking the time to meet with, enjoy, and love God everyday, then we are not living in line with what Jesus wants for us. If you doubt this, just ask Martha (Luke 10:38-42). I think our devotional lives are to be made up of a few aspects:
Desire to meet with God: When we consider the lengths that God has gone to in order to make an intimate relationship with Him possible, how could we ever miss out on this incredible privilege to meet with Him everyday! (Psalm 42)
Discipline to meet with God: What if you structured your week around the priority of optimal intimacy with God? What would this look like for you? Just as you would prioritize a class in your weekly schedule, find a consistent time and place and discipline yourself to meet with God. (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
Dependence on God: We must fill ourselves up with Jesus so that we can overflow our spiritual lives onto others. (John 15)
By Making Him Known
Not only do we get the incredible privilege of knowing God, but we also get to tell all of our friends about this great God! Rather than simply trying to live a good life for others to see, we get to explain how God has transformed our lives (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) as well as point to the forgiveness found in Christ (Romans 5:9-11). As a follower of Christ, Jesus has not only clearly called us all to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21) but has promised that he will make us into a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19)! I think this call to make Christ known can be summed up in one word: Disciple-Making. This can be explained in terms of 3 actions.
Evangelism: I would describe evangelism as sharing the Gospel with a non-believer and drawing them to a point of decision.
1 Peter 3:15; Mark 1:15; 1 Corinthians 1:17
Follow Up: If someone becomes a Christian, we don't want to just pat them on the back and wish them the best, but we want to guide them along in this new relationship with Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8; Ephesians 4:20-24
Discipleship: After we help them understand their new relationship with Jesus, we then help them live out their God-given purpose of knowing Him and making Him known.
2 Timothy 2:2
So, when you are trying to figure out what your priorities as a Christian should be, just remember that you are created to glorify God by knowing Him and making Him known.
Josh Garrels beautifully illustrates the journey of walking with God in his song "Farther Along."