Running with Purpose

I heard a new family story over the holidays. My niece, Meghan—I’ve written before of her excellence as a high school track athlete—was competing one day in the 400-meter dash. As she ran this grueling event, her mind actually wandered for a while, losing sight of her situation until at some point she snapped back to the reality of the moment. “And I realized, ‘I’m in a race!’” she recalled. Then regaining her focus, Meghan mustered a final “kick” and won. I find her story to be so unrelatable on so many levels—running fast and thinking about anything other than gasping for air, to name a couple. Yet in another sense, Meghan’s story serves as a reminder to all of us that our life here is more than going through the motions while we stride toward the finish line and what awaits us on the other side—we run this life with a very specific purpose.

And what might this purpose be? What is it that demands our all? We are here to bring glory to God. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus exhorted those gathered to hear him, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”1 We do this by letting Jesus shine in us and through us in all things and at all times. Wrote Paul to Corinthian believers, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”2 The glory of God—this is why we are here; this is “the reality of the moment” on which we fix our focus.

Then how does this celestial aspiration become reality in our terrestrial existence? We align our will with God’s will in trusting union with Him, so that we “do not run aimlessly.”3 And we rely on His strength, for “by his power he [brings] to fruition [our] every desire for goodness and [our] every deed prompted by faith . . . so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in [us], and [we] in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”4

We’re in a race! We run with purpose: To bring God glory. We win in Christ.

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:8

Father, sometimes my mind wanders and my focus drifts away from You. Draw me back into the moment that I would live with purpose—to glorify You in all things by the power of Your Spirit. In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 Matthew 5:16
2 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
3 1 Corinthians 9:26 ESV
4 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12


Glory To Go

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)

When I first saw him on that Kairos Prison Ministry weekend, his body betrayed the weight of his wrong—bent at the shoulders, anguish commandeering his face, emotionally distanced, without hope. But as we gathered the final morning of our time together, the inmate entered the room with a radiant glow that testified outwardly that something glorious had transpired inwardly. And it had—he had come to trust that Jesus’ death and resurrection were for him, too. Later that day, he told the 70-plus men listening, “This morning, for the first time in 19 years, I looked in the mirror and liked what I saw.” I’ve seen this man many times in the ensuing years, and his face still beams newness of joy.

Over the past few weeks, we have been beholding God’s glory—the splendor of His infinite perfection—proclaimed with power throughout creation, magnified in character of Christ, and then born in the unlikeliest of places—“Christ in you, the hope of glory.”1 As Paul writes, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”2 We gasp in wonderment, and we ask, What do we do with such lavished love?

In short, we shine, for glory is not something to be hoarded, rather we’ve been given “glory to go”—the radiance of a people who go as we’ve been sent, serve as we’ve been served, give as we’ve received, and speak liberating truth in the language of love. For all around us are people who “blinded, … cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”3 We’ve all been there; we can all relate. So, we go with this in mind: “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”4 We don’t know who will be liberated or in what way, but we can be confident in this: We’ll like what we see.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).

Father, in great mercy, you’ve given us your glory. Grace us to shine it however you’ve called us, wherever you lead us, and to whomever you send us. Be happy with us, your people. In Jesus we pray. Amen.

1 Colossians 1:27
2 2 Corinthians 4:6
3 2 Corinthians 4:4
4 1 Corinthians 10:31


Glory in Mysterious Places

Who doesn’t like a good mystery? Whether it be Nancy Drew, the game of Clue, or a riveting who-dunnit on TV, they draw us in, don’t they? Some people are really good at solving them, but count me among those who have to wait for the revelation at the end. Consider, then, the ancient Greek concept of “musterion,” a type of mystery knowable only by the initiator and those to whom he or she chooses to reveal it. It was this “musterion” kind of secret that God kept “hidden for ages and generations”1 for eternity past, “God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that [had] been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.”2 Then when the time was right, He called Paul “to make God’s word fully known”3 by revealing this hidden mystery to His people.

So, what one proclamation—what one mystery now revealed—could possibly make God’s word “fully known”? What “secret wisdom” was “destined for our glory before time began”? What “glorious riches” did God keep hidden in Himself until this singular moment in history? Paul tells us: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”4 Stop for a moment and soak this in, for it is not simply catechism or creed, nor may we reduce it to the lowly status of a mere “worldview.” This is God’s heart, and this is God’s heart for us. The God who displayed His power in the glory of creation, the God who demonstrated His glory in the humility of Christ, now shines forth His glory from the unlikeliest of places and in the most inconceivable of ways—Christ in us. Of us, Jesus spoke to His Father, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me.”5 Can we even begin to imagine the enormity of God’s love for us? Can we do anything less than to receive it now and entrust to Him all our days?

As we’ve revisited over the past few weeks, “we, who … reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.”6 To know what we will be, well, we’ll just have to wait for the revelation at the end. But I think for today, we do well to contemplate the love and the power of a God who would choose to live in us as our hope of glory. For transformation begins here.

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ …” (Colossians 2:9, 10)

Father, your love for me triumphs over my unworthiness of you. Thank you for living in me and being my hope of glory. Shine forth from me. Amen.

1 Colossians 1:26
2 1 Corinthians 2:7
3 Colossians 1:25 ESV
4 Colossians 1:27
5 John 17:22, 23
6 2 Corinthians 3:18