Glorifying God: Keeping Our Eyes on the Road
“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
– Westminster Shorter Catechism
“A gracious person holds the golden bridle of temperance”
– Thomas Watson, from A Body of Divinity
When I took Driver’s Ed in high school, we were taught the acronym IPDE: Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute. These four words were to define our driving approach. There is a watchfulness to these words and at the same time these are action words. Distracted driving and IPDE don’t mix. Becoming a good driver is not simply a function of becoming someone who knows how a car works (though that is important), or who has memorized the rules of the road (though these too are important). A good driver is attentive, is looking at what is going on outside of his or her vehicle, is aware of the surroundings.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism declares that our chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. In a sense this is saying that we are to become “good” at glorifying God – that’s the goal. I might even suggest that our call as Christians, our instruction, is essentially to “keep our eyes on the road.” It is simply not enough to know the Bible or to understand that the LORD wants you to grow in holiness. We need to be attentive, to keep our eyes on the road as we go along it. It is easy to get distracted in the Christian life. There is a lot going on around us, a lot of temptation, a lot of noise, a lot of other cars on the highway.
Thomas Watson, in his work, A Body of Divinity, notes that to glorify God we must always have an eye to Him in all the things we do. He mentions as an example our eating and our drinking. He also talks about buying and selling. But I like eating more than buying or selling, so I thought I’d write a little about how one glorifies God in his or her eating. How can we stay attentive, keeping our eyes on the road (i.e., on our objective, God Himself!) while at the same time being aware of the surroundings. How can we eat and drink for the glory of God? Of course there are the potholes to avoid – gluttony, where food becomes a “fuel for lust” as Watson says, would be one … we hit a pothole anytime food or drink is given a greater place in one’s life than it ought to have. Scripture certainly encourages feasting as well as fasting and much that is good in the Bible occurs around a good meal. But food is not God. So how do we glorify Him when we eat? It might start by expressing gratitude for the food we do receive, but it extends beyond that to how we see food if we also have an eye to God. Watson points out that this eye to God will mean that we will be temperate eaters, people who drink in moderation. We glorify God when our food is enjoyed because of the One who gave it to us and because we see that the food is performing its purpose – strengthening us physically to serve the LORD in the world. How do you see your food?
Having an eye to God takes training, just like driving a car. But it is worth the effort. Let’s learn to be attentive. In every area of life, may we grow in our ability to take actions – no matter how large or small – with an eye to God, that He might be glorified.