“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV)
When my brother and I were in grade school, we had an interesting opportunity. My dad purchased a little tool for removing dandelions from the yard. He wanted all the dandelions gone. So, he told us, “I’ll give you five cents for every dandelion that you pull up correctly and show me. So, dad was inside watching the Philadelphia Phillies play baseball and we went to town picking up the dandelions.
A good time later, we told our dad that we were done. He came outside to count the dandelions and when he saw the box full of them, he exclaimed, “Where in the heck did you get all those dandelions?” We told him, “Well, after we got done in our yard, we went to the neighbors on the block and got all of theirs.” He did not seem a hundred percent pleased without our entrepreneurship, but settled up anyway. He figured we would each make a dollar or so each. Instead, we had much more.
The moral of the story is this. Yes, we wanted to please our dad. After all, he just wanted a better-looking yard. However, we had an ulterior motive. That was to make money. Our motives for picking the dandelions moved my brother and I to do something that was not in the will of my father.
Motives are important. Often when we get thoughts or ideas to do something, our motives can get out of order. Filter number six for discerning our thoughts and ideas is the motive check. We must ask the question, “Is my motive to glorify God alone?”
Man’s Chief End in Life
When we come to Filter #6, we arrive at the filter of purpose. What is the chief purpose for man’s existence? The Westminster Shorter Catechism has as its first question, “What is the chief end of man?” Its answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”
Paul wrote to the Corinthians regarding the issue of Christian liberty, specifically in the area of eating meat sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 10:23-33). In this section, he presented a universal truth regarding the filter of motives. He stated, in “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Our chief end in life to glorify God must be our prime motivation in everything. For this reason, this is a critical filter for discerning our thoughts and ideas to ensure they align with the will of God. God will never prompt us to do anything that will miss the mark of bringing glory to Him.
Glorifying God in everything is not a mere suggestion. The verb “do” is a present tense command, which means that we must seek to continuously bring glory and honor to God. Now, it is true that there are times when we miss the mark in this area due to those impetuous moments when we sin. I do struggle on occasion with traffic on the highways, especially when someone cuts me off or will not show the common courtesy of letting me merge. In those times, my thoughts and even my responses are often not glorifying to God. Of course, bad driving and thoughts towards others does not characterize my life. Christ and His righteousness define me and when I do sin, I have the promise of God’s cleansing (1 John 1:9). Moreover, after confession I purpose in my heart to try very hard to “walk by the Spirit” and thus, not repeat my failure for I know that my transgression has not glorified God.
The Scriptures command us to glorify God in all our thoughts, our words, and our actions. This is our principal duty and this motive to glorify God becomes a paramount filter for our thoughts and ideas.