Why am I here?

Read Revelation chapter 4.

Why am I here?

Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, #1)

Ending in God

It is increasingly important in our society to think each person’s goal, purpose and “end” in life is up to that person – and that person alone. The idea is that whatever I desire most, whatever makes me feel best, that is my purpose. There may be a few exceptions to this – most popular: as long as what makes you happiest doesn’t get in the way of anyone else’s happiness.

Of course, we run into trouble with this. Whose happiness matters the most? If one’s purpose negates the freedom of someone else’s goals – who matters most? The majority?

Man’s chief end,” that is, humankind’s main purpose for existence, that which supersedes all other goals, enjoyments or purpose, “is to glorify God.” Who should get the end opinion, the Creator or the creature?

Isaiah the prophet declared firmly that the Creator alone is to determine our purpose; “But now, O Lord,
You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) Jesus Christ, by whom all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16), calls upon us to find our purpose in what He desires: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

Our reason for being here is God’s glory – and He is glorified, not when we follow whatever makes us happiest, but when we follow that which makes Him most happy. His pleasure, not our own, is why we are here. But this does not mean that life is to be a depressing, burdensome slavery, for our purpose also includes enjoyment!

Exalting God

How then do I exalt, or glorify God? Thomas Watson suggests four key areas.

(1) Appreciation. “We glorify God when we are God-admirers; admire His attributes, which are the glistering beams by which the divine nature shines forth; His promises which are the charter of free grace… the noble effects of His power and wisdom in making the world, which is called ‘the work of His fingers.’ Ps. 8:3. To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem Him most excellent, and search for diamonds in this rock only.” (Watson, A Body of Divinity, Banner of Truth, 1982, p. 7)

(2) Adoration. “This divine worship God is very jealous of; it is the apple of His eye… Divine worship must be such as God Himself has appointed, else it is offering a strange fire (Lev. 10:1). The Lord would have Moses make the tabernacle, ‘according to the pattern…’ He must not leave out anything in the pattern, nor add to it. If God was so exact and curious about the place of worship, how exact will He be about the matter of His worship! Surely here everything must be according to the pattern prescribed in His Word.”
(Watson, 8)

(3) Affection. Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” We prefer self-love, making ourselves feel best. But exalting God means turning our affections away from ourselves and toward God. “This love is exuberant, not a few drops, but a stream. It is superlative; we give God the best of our love.” (Watson, 8) If the young lover goes to any length to bring happiness to the one they adore, how much more should the Christian life be filled with great striving of affection toward the Lover of our souls – our Creator and Redeemer?

(4) Subjection. “This is when we dedicate ourselves to God, and stand ready dressed for His service… We glorify God when we stick at no service, when we fight under the banner of His gospel against an enemy.” If we would glorify God, we must serve faithfully in His army and move “vigorously in the sphere of obedience.” (Watson, 9)

These are the key areas in which we glorify God. They call us to consider God’s glory above our own glory, our wealth, and earthly security. They call us to pick up our cross and follow Him daily (Mark 8:34). We glorify God in contentment; “when we are content to be outshined by others in gifts and esteem.” (Watson, 11) We glorify God in the sincere confession of sin and in believing whole-heartedly in Christ’s redemption alone. We glorify God in trusting His good providence and in pursuing a fruitful life of service unto holiness. We glorify God in standing boldly for the truth contra mundum (against the world) and in walking cheerfully in the wilderness of this life.

Enjoying God

Our natures would call upon us to enjoy ourselves, or whatever pleasure comes our way. So 2 Peter 3 warns us what of what Watson calls “the Trinity [the world] worships,” (Watson, 21): to indulge in “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life.” We are tempted to think that the enjoyment of God in this life is not enjoyment at all! Our hearts are all too often far from that expressed by David, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and weary land, where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.” (Psalm 63:1-3) David in the wilderness of Judah sees what we so often ignore, that this life holds no pleasure greater than entering into the place of worship and knowing the intimate and personal fellowship that we have with God in Christ. And not only is that the greatest enjoyment we might have in this life, but it is part of our very purpose in living! In a world where so many of us do seemingly pointless tasks each day, we are given a purpose that brings us the best enjoyment!

And this purpose does not end with our earthly life. When encouraging the Thessalonian believers, the greatest thing that Paul can say regarding heaven is, ‘then we shall ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:17) And those who are with the Lord, never cease to engage in this wonderful dual task of glorifying and enjoying Him, as we see so clearly in Revelation 4. There the singing is continuous, for the One glorified and enjoyed is seen, with the veil removed from our eyes, and He is worthy to receive all glory, honor and power.

This is why we are here.

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

Romans 11:36

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