Activities are synonymous with breathing. If we live, we do things. Even when stationary or sleeping, we do things with our thoughts. Christians are called, then spiritually rebirthed, for an activity which requires determined work. It is appropriate work because Christ lived, died, resurrected, and ascended for the very same work.
Jesus prayed before His crucifixion; I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world… (John 17:6). Jesus’ Father had provided Him with people to whom He was to reveal His Father. Jesus was not on a lone mission for His own purposes. Exposing the world to His own divine identity was not Jesus’ primary mission. Making the glorious character of God the Father known and evidenced through His life WAS Jesus’ primary purpose.
Accordingly, Jesus began His high priestly prayer with the words glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you (John 17:1). Even though Jesus was worthy of glory, His humility purposed to glorify His Father first and foremost. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do (John 17:4). Here, Jesus describes glorifying His Father as work. This is true for us also. Against the resistance of the world and our own fleshly inclinations, we labour for the supreme purpose of glorifying God. It involves considerable effort, sacrifice, and perseverance with actions.
So, how do we saved sinners glorify God? Matthew 5:14-16 provides some insights. Jesus explains, you are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. This is a God centred life ethic that unashamedly lives and functions to give expression to God’s character that can be seen by others.
Believers do good works and give glory to your Father through both simple and complex activities. From the mondain to the exciting things in life, we purpose to expose those around us to God, and often without speaking a word. From friendship with the lonely, feeding the hungry, teaching to read, talking through the complexities of life with the downcast, to proclaiming the good news of the gospel, these are all glorifying works. Missionary efforts, discipling others, preaching God’s Word, caring for orphans, loving the unlovable, and even praying for and blessing those who curse you (Luke 6:28), these all spread the glory of God as those who cannot be hidden.
A humble work ethic for God recognises that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). Therefore, we lean into the task with dependence upon the Holy Spirit for motivation, determination, and energy. We fill our minds with the Word of God’s (Jn 17:17; Col 3:16) truth which enables us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship… (Romans 12:1-2).
Like Paul, we forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13). We resolve not to be dictated to by previous and reoccurring pains or wrongs. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit… whom you have from God. You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).