Soli Deo Gloria

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

The prolific composer Johann Sebastian Bach often added the initials "SDG" to the bottom of his musical works. These letters stood for the Latin phrase, soli deo gloria, which means, "Glory to God alone." Bach, who was a faithful Christian and a fine church organist, did not seek his own fame. Rather, he sought to glorify God in his composing and playing.

The Apostle Paul, when wrapping up his discussion of eating meat offered to idols, might well have added "SDG" to his manuscript (except, writing in Greek, it would have been "MTD" for monon theou doxe). Instead of using these initials, however, he wrote: "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (10:31). Some of the Corinthian Christians had been so focused on their own needs and desires that they forgot, not only their sisters and brothers in Christ, but even the Lord. Thus, in chapters 8-10, Paul redirects their focus, calling them to care for the needs of others more than their own desires. And he concludes his conversation by urging them to live for God's glory most of all.

Sometimes we think that glorifying God is relevant to the "religious" stuff of life. We glorify God by going to church and praying, by reading the Bible and sharing our faith, by contributing our funds and going on mission trips. Indeed, these activities can glorify God when they are done in the right spirit. But, in fact, everything we do in life can be for God's glory—everything. This includes activities like eating and drinking, working and walking, voting and volunteering. We can glorify God in the way we treat the person who works behind the counter or the one who occupies the office next to us.

Perhaps we should begin to imitate J. S. Bach by adding "SDG" to everything we do in life. I realize, of course, that this isn't possible in many settings. But wouldn't it be great if we learned to think in this way, so that, in a sense, every word and action in our lives came with an affixed "SDG"?

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What helps you to live each day for God's glory? Are there areas of your life that you find difficult to offer to the Lord? Why? What might you do to remind yourself that you're to do everything for the glory of God?

PRAYER: Gracious and glorious God, indeed, you are worthy of all glory and honor. Your nature deserves and demands my worship, not just in actions that are "religious," but in everything I do and say.

I confess, Lord, that I find it all too easy to chop my life up into the sacred parts and the secular parts. Some are for you; some are for me. Some are for your glory; some are for my glory (or at least my well-being). Forgive me, Lord, for failing to see all of life as a context to glorify you.

Help me, I pray, to learn to live all of life for you. May I see each moment as a chance to praise you, not just in words, but also in actions offered to you. May I live for you in every area of life. And may you be glorified in every way through me. Amen.