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Soli Deo Gloria

“All to the Glory of God”   

     In Greek mythology a handsome young man rejected the love of a beautiful young woman named Echo. The gods punished this man, whose name was Narcissus, by making him fall in love with himself. He noticed his own beauty as he looked into a placid pool and was cursed to pine away, gazing at himself. The myth tells us that when he died he was changed into the narcissus flower.

     Maybe this gives a new definition to the term “flower child”? One thing is certain, from the days of the cultural revolution of the 1960’s and the 70’s, narcissism has spread like wild fire across the world. “It’s all about me,” is the frame of mind of untold millions. The word narcissism speaks of self-love and is seen in the self-interest and selfishness of modern humanity. It has been documented that the condition of narcissism is higher now than in any preceding generation of Americans.    

     Keeping these thoughts in mind, consider the impact of the great Reformers such as Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, along with many others. These men brought about massive change and revival in their day when they sounded their battle cry of Soli Deo Gloria. These men, with thousands of others, were driven by the theme of the Apostle Paul, “To Him be the glory forever, Amen” (Romans 11:36b). They wholeheartedly believed what Paul had said when he also declared, “. . . from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Romans 11:36a). Terry Johnson rightfully interprets that to mean ‘All things are from God, through God and for God! “He is the source of all that we have. He enables all that we do, and He is the goal of all that we are.”

     This great theme of the scriptures is summed up in Psalm 115 which says, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to thy name give glory.” The phrase “not to us,” which is repeated twice, flies in the face of today’s selfish philosophy of “unto me, unto me O self, give me all the pleasure that I desire.” The business world in America, with its overblown consumerism, loves the narcissistic mentality of the day as they make millions off the unwary consumers.

     The Westminster Catechism asks, “What is the chief end (purpose) of man?” and answers, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” How can God be glorified in a secularized, humanistic society overrun by a mentality of self-interest? Notice Paul’s prediction of “the last days” (2 Timothy 3:1-4):

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the first item on Paul’s list was “lovers of self” and on its heels is its companion, “lovers of money.” The rest of the list shows the total breakdown of moral values and relationships. This list ends with the last days narcissists being “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” along with the statement that they appear to be godly but are denying the true power of godliness. This condemnation is not of pagan worship but of those that would appear to be Christian and at the same time using that appearance for ungodly purposes. False teachers abound in today’s Christianity, all of course, “having the appearance” but in reality lining their pockets with the benefits of a materialistic society. Ask yourself the question as to why American Christianity spends billions on beautiful sanctuaries, endless publications, TV, internet programming and lucrative salaries? Is it because Americans are so spiritual? I think not! Just look at the moral sickness of our country and you will quickly realize we are not a nation that glorifies God.


      We know what the numerous problems are and easily see their outcome written all over our culture, but what are we to do?

     If you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then you are part of the solution. This will be true only if you are a willing partner with God in the reaching of others with the truth of His word. If you continue to claim Christ yet remain on the sidelines, then you are part of the problem not part of the solution. The solution is that each Christian check his or her own heart first. Condemning the world around you without realizing your own need for repentance is hypocrisy.

     David wrote Psalm 139 which is a must read for all believers. At the end of that Psalm David asserts his hatred of those that hate God and calls for their destruction (v.19). However, after this display of anger his mind comes back to his own heart’s condition. Look at his change of focus. “I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” John MacArthur’s footnotes: verse 22 (“I hate them”) with these comments, “David has no other response to God’s enemies than that of hatred, i.e. he is not neutral toward them nor will he ever ally himself with them.” All truly born again people do indeed have a sense of loathing for evil; the Holy Spirit is sure to bring that about and to judge unrighteousness in both the world and in those that claim Christ. That “hatred” of evil drives the believer to continued repentance but also, due to the love of God, reaches out to those still in a lost condition. You might say hating the sin but loving the sinner. It is not a matter of hating individuals but hating all that is contrary to God and His will in an unsaved life as well as in our own. Paul instructs us, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”(1 Corinthians 10:31).

     The unsaved world will continue to defy God and refuse to give Him the glory that He is due. However, among the narcissists of humanity are those that God would save. He has chosen to use His redeemed ones to carry that message of hope, love, and salvation into the world in which we live. Christ prayed for “those that God gave Him,” the prayer is recorded in John 17. In that prayer of intercession He says:

“I am praying for them, I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.” - John 17: 9, 10

     Christ obviously wants our success both in our personal lives and in the world around us. The Christion has been set apart from the rest of humanity for the divine purpose of glorifying God. We cannot do that in silence but are to be prepared, wisely outspoken proponents of the will of God. We may fail that call often but must not give up on God’s work of sanctification or on how He may use us to reach others with the gospel of Christ.

     If we give in to the attitudes and actions of the surrounding world, we become useless to God’s glory. Narcissism must be fought continually because we are prone to selfishness. We must always remember, it’s not about us but about Him, our Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and coming King. It’s all about Him and His glory.

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!”

– Psalm 96:1-3                                                                                                                   

- David Parker

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