Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. To glorify God and enjoy him forever.
Q. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The word of God which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy God.
This is from the Lutheran Catechism and maybe some other churches. I wasn't raised in the Lutheran church or one of the other more formal high churches. But my husband was and this part is important to him. From what I understand 'chief end" can also be read chief purpose. In essence it's our purpose in a nutshell.
Isn't that a profound and weighty statement? To glorify God. How can we do that without knowing about him? That is the question that first comes to my mind. But LOOK the next question answers that. Get in the scriptures. I think but I'm not a 100 percent sure, but I think we can all agree on this.
And the enjoying God. My Pentecostal/Charismatic background warms up to that. But as I ponder the thought. Do I really know how to enjoy God? I actually think I have begun to understand it some but only in the last years. Growing up I was really scared of God. I would talk to Jesus and about him and Holy Spirit. But God the father. Not so much. I saw him as a mystery, as a distant, powerful God who was out to get me cause I didn't measure up. Kind of like "the great Oz" in The Wizard of Oz movie. I know now there are all kinds of things wrong with that thinking and with the fact that I had that messed up view of him from somewhere. But the reason doesn't matter for this post.
What matters is that I have come to know him as a loving, accepting, forgiving, wonderfully accessible Father, who loves me. Profoundly. Deeply. And he wants to have communion and fellowship with me. So amazing! And out of that I can better understand: enjoying him and glorifying him. As I have spent more time with him and pondering the Word and thinking about him and talking with him it just seems natural to enjoy him. I mean, if someone loves you and returns your love perfectly, how can you not enjoy him? His scriptures tell of his great love for us and of his good plans for us. The Bible is full of a beautiful tale of the love story between him and us. But like a yummy soup that tastes better as all the spices have time to marinate, it takes time hanging out in the scriptures (the word) to begin to understand the truths in there. We have to meditate on them. Examine them. Contemplate them. Marinate means to marry. The spices in a soup marry one another and than there comes a deepness and layer of flavors We have to let the word marry with our thinking and let it bring depth and understanding.
And prayer, which is just talking with God, that made a big difference. Don't get me wrong. I've always prayed. But before it was mostly Help me!, a-list-of-what-I-needed, a-woe-is-me-confession-of-my-latest-failure, or an I'm-sinking-fast-help-me-quick kind of prayers. Sad, I know but I struggled with depression for years. And I longed for fellowship, for a connection to God. But as I combined the word and prayer which included listening and being in awe, in wonder of His greatness and his endless love for me. I came to a place that I could really enjoy him. And out of that naturally flowed a desire to glorify him in how I lived in other areas. I'm still a work in progress, of course.
My own simple philosophy has been "If people really fall in love with Jesus they will start doing what's right." I didn't know that falling in love with Father God also did this.
Another way to think of it is He loves us and it is so profound, so amazing, so wondrous, so breathtaking, how can we do anything but return that love back to him?