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From the Pastor’s Heart

We rejoice in how the Lord works through us.

As you look back at your life over the past year, do you see some exciting accomplishments?

Maybe you reached a goal or started working toward one. Your successes might be spiritual ones seen only by you and God. Even if you feel the year was filled with setbacks and failure, carefully review it again and I believe you’ll see some victories, whether large or small.

It’s human nature to take credit for our achievements or think we earned the blessings that follow. 

But we didn’t—and that’s good news. At age 90, I’m blessed with many milestones to recall, but I’ve learned that God in His grace is responsible for all of it. And knowing that gives me confidence for each new day.

One morning years ago, this was brought home to me clearly. I’d accomplished so much in the prior week and was worn out. I needed encouragement, so I turned to Isaiah 26:3: “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.” That was exactly what I needed. But then I read verse 12: “Lord, You will establish peace for us, since You have also performed for us all our works.”

That was certainly a wake-up call! God was going to give me rest even though He was the One who’d done all the work. I thought I’d accomplished so much, but it was the Lord who’d worked through me. There was no room for any boasting on my part.

The same is true with every believer. For each achievement, God gave you the strength, opportunity, skill, or health to do it, and He worked in you to reach success. 

There is only One who deserves the glory, and it’s not you or me.

He will not give His glory to another (42:8). We may want to take credit, whether for salvation or for any accomplishment. But Scripture puts an end to such pride. 

God saved us not because He saw any goodness or potential in us, but because He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4). And after salvation we still have nothing to boast of, because “It is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

The purpose—and joy—of the Christian life isn’t to live for ourselves and our own exaltation, but for God and His glory.

Glorifying the Lord isn’t merely something we sing about on Sundays; it encompasses the entirety of our lives. So let’s take a closer look at what this means.

First, to glorify God we must understand what His glory is. From Scripture we learn that it’s the manifestation of God’s attributes, perfections, and radiance. Psalm 145 attributes to the Lord unsearchable greatness, glorious splendor, wonderful works, mighty power, lovingkindness, mercy, goodness, majesty, and righteousness. He is truly worthy of all glory and honor.

Now consider how we glorify the Lord. The most obvious way is with our words. But we also glorify Him by humbling ourselves, depending on Him, and recognizing that all the good in and from us is actually His. It’s God’s will that our lives bring Him praise. This will be fulfilled in heaven but should also be our practice while here on earth (Eph. 1:13-14).

Finally, are you wondering why we should glorify the Lord? There are two basic reasons: because of who He is and what He does. The more we understand the grandeur of our God and the greatness of His works, both for and through us, the more we’ll desire to exalt Him.

It’s by His doing that you are in Christ Jesus, not by any effort or goodness on your part (1 Cor. 1:30). It’s by His Spirit that you have life in your mortal body (Rom. 8:11). It’s because you partake of His nature that you have all you need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-4). It’s by the indwelling Christ that you achieve things you’d otherwise lack the strength for (Phil. 4:13). And it’s God’s work in you that makes the unimaginable possible (Eph. 3:20). You are merely the recipient of His gracious gifts, and that’s reason for overwhelming joy.

I’d like to challenge you in the coming year to spend time in the Word, exploring the glory of God and rejoicing that He works mightily in and through you.

Here at In Touch, we’re celebrating what He’s done and will do. Our heavenly Father enables His children to serve and bless others: “God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that, always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Cor. 9:8). What a wonderful blessing to give ourselves to the Lord so He can work through us.

May you bring glory to God in 2023 and find joy and peace in submitting to Him in love.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. This year we celebrated the 45th anniversary of In Touch. I’m deeply honored that you are walking with us as we share God’s message of salvation across the globe. I’m also profoundly grateful to our Board of Directors, my long-time CEO Phillip Bowen, and the In Touch staff for their commitment to sharing the gospel and strengthening Christ’s church. Please join me in thanking God for servants that labor for His Word. I know He’ll be faithful to guide them in the exciting future He is revealing for In Touch Ministries. God bless you.