thanks be to God

Give unto the Lord the glory due His name. Psalm 29:2

I once wrote that everyone is a blogger now.

Facebook, Twitter—social media makes it possible for everyone to write a little something and publish it online.

Of course most of what you are writing is not nearly as insightful or interesting as what I’m writing. Or at least it’s easy for me to think so.

That’s because the Internet has made narcissists of us all.

Or has it? Perhaps we were self-centered to begin with.

I admit this is a huge issue for someone who says his purpose in creating a blog is to be “biblically faithful and culturally thoughtful.” Does this mean I should only write about Jesus?

“Far be it from me to boast,” Paul wrote, “except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And Psalm 75 seems pretty clear:

I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
or speak with haughty neck.’”

Does this mean we should never talk about ourselves?

Probably not. It’s part of our wiring, for one thing. Scientists tell us that talking about ourselves triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food, money or sex, none of them bad things in themselves. As it turns out, about 40% of our conversation involves telling others what we think or feel.

Of course we all know people who talk about themselves too much, or even all the time. We know people who eat all the time or think about money all the time too. And some of them are also on Facebook.

But I don’t think the problem is just how often we talk about ourselves. Social media is not a scapegoat for our sin, at any rate. The issue is what we say about ourselves. And about God.

It is so easy to lift ourselves up. It is the basis of the fall and of every false religion. We want to exalt ourselves above the purpose and will of God. Above God himself.

In speaking of our tendency to glorify ourselves, Spurgeon wrote:

Shall the insect of an hour glorify itself against the sun which warmed it into life? Shall the potsherd exalt itself above the man who fashioned it upon the wheel? Shall the dust of the desert strive with the whirlwind? Or the drops of the ocean struggle with the tempest? Give unto the Lord, all ye righteous, give unto the Lord glory and strength; give unto him the honour that is due unto his name. Yet it is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence—“Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be glory.”

Nothing like a little perspective, is there?

I’m not saying this is easy, especially for a writer. But I am saying it’s important.

And while there may be a some pride of workmanship in what I write—enough perhaps to try and sell a book, for instance, let me be clear: thanks be to God for whatever gifts and opportunities I have.

Creative work can be an altar of praise or a platform for prophecy. But it is often a monument of self indulgence. It is a choice. And the best choice, as Spurgeon put it, is the former: “When we do anything for the Lord, and he is pleased to accept of our doings, let us lay our crown at his feet, and exclaim, “Not I, but the grace of God which was with me!”

So I hope my blog points you in His direction. I hope sometimes it makes you think of things He said and wants, to the degree I can understand them.

And I hope He gets the glory.

Remind me if he doesn’t.

It’s important.


In the beginning was the Word

How to read a blog

What would Martin Luther blog?

4 thoughts on “thanks be to God”

  1. As usual, I do appreciate your thoughts shared here and think they do give God honor due Him. My comment to this post is in the form of a question: Do you think there might be a balance where we don’t self abase (which doesn’t give God glory), nor lift ourselves above God (which doesn’t give God glory), but rather see ourselves as His partner in the redemption of the world due to the new life we have as a result of His grace?

      1. OK, had to do that, given my reputation for one word emails.

        But, as usual, I appreciate your thoughtful reading and engagement.

        I’ve written before that both extremes are opposite sides of the same coin—our capacity to think too much about ourselves.

        And I like the idea of partnership, as long as we remember we are very junior partners.

        Generally speaking, however, we probably think more about ourselves than we should. Certainly less about God than we should.

        It’s the choice between an altar of praise and a monument to self that I think we must make every day, many times, in different ways. And I know I chose the monument way too often….

        Thanks again for reading and replying.

        We still should do a book together. 🙂

      2. 🙂

        I can’t argue with our tendency to focus on the self over the other and over God for that matter. Similarly, I think that self abasing is just another form of focus on self and possibly just as destructive if not more.

        At the same time, I can’t help that notice a tendency in myself to self-degrade in an attempt to honor God out of guilt which might be what false humility is, I don’t know.

        It seems to me that we can erroneously focus on ourselves as a very junior partner with God in a way that misses God’s own emphasis on our vital importance in the carrying out of the redemptive work of the gospel (John 14:12). Maybe when we become lesser and he becomes greater, we actually begin to discover who we really are created to be and thus gain full life by losing it, whatever that means.

        I would be honored to write one with you. 🙂

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