“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Paul opens his letter to the church at Ephesus with a description of the blessings with which God has blessed the church. We are chosen to be “holy and blameless before him,” (v. 4) predestined for adoption through Christ (v. 5), redeemed and forgiven through Christ’s blood (v. 7). He has lavished his grace upon us (v. 8), made known the mystery of his will (v. 9), given us an inheritance (v. 11), and sealed us with the Holy Spirit (v. 13). That’s quite a list. And lest we think we deserve even a portion of the blessings God gives freely to those he chooses, Paul tells us three times that all of the above is done to the praise of God’s glory.
In these twelve verses we find the incredibly simple yet unfathomably difficult answer to life’s biggest questions: “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” “Why was the universe created?” Even the hard questions like “Why is there suffering, death and destruction?” The answer to all of those questions is “To give God the glory that he deserves.”
It’s so simple, and yet, in our broken, selfish, limited capacity to understand it is so difficult. All of us at times are humanists, even if subconsciously. We live and act as if we are of prime importance. We are the highest form of temporal intelligence, after all. All we desire to do brings glory to ourselves, from scientific discovering to athletic achievements to climbing the economic or social ladder.
When we orient our lives toward God, doing all “to the praise of his glory,” we reap the benefits of all of the spiritual blessings promised to us before the foundation of the world. And, Like Paul, we can learn to be content in all situations, in humility count others more significant than ourselves, and count all that we have as rubbish for the sake of Christ.