I. We glorify God and enjoy Him forever
- For a long time Christian religion has emphasized
the glory of God and the worth of suffering. i.e. God makes us
suffer in order to honor Him. Consequently, the value of human
existence appears to be nothing but a decoration of God's glory.
Many people quoted the first part of the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
"Man's chief end is to glorify God," but leaves out the second part: "and to enjoy
- The almighty and self-sufficient God does not
need us to fulfill his glory. God created us for our own good.
He wants us to lead a enjoyable life. To some extent spiritual
growth can be defined as the growth of self-image. A Christian
who views life as miserable probably has distorted images of God
II. Those who save their lives will
lose their lives
On the other hand, we should watch out the
"prosperity gospel" (e.g. Norman Vincent Peala and
Robert Schuller: Positive thinking; Thomas Nelson: Varsity internship
program). We go to God not because God can help us to gain a
strong self-image or positive thinking, not because God can help
us to improve our relationship, not because God can help us to
succeed in study and career. We turn to God just because God
is good. As Jesus said, when you save (care about) your life,
you tend to lose your life. When you are anxious about your self-image
and all other good things in life, you are likely to lose them.
III. Self-image prescribed by God
A. You are fearfully and wonderfully made
"I praise you because I am fearfully and
wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your
eyes saw my unformed body. All days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 131:
B. You have a special place in His Kingdom
Thomas Merton: "Each one of us has some
kind of vocation. We are all called by God to share in His life
and in His kingdom. Each one of us is called to a special place
in the kingdom. If we find that place we will be happy. If we
do not find it, we can never be completely happy."
IV. Why do people struggle with a poor
- A. Isa 45: 10, Rom 9:20
- B. "Lord, grant me the wisdom to accept
those cannot be change, change those shouldn't be accepted, and
the wisdom to distinguish ones from the other."
V. What are the excuses to say "I
can't do it"?
- At age 53, Margaret Thatcher became the first
female prime minister of the U.K.
- At age 65, Winston Churchill became Britain's
prime minister to fight against Nazi German and co-establish the
U.N. At 80, he returned to the House of Commons as a member.
- At 71, Golda Meir became prime minister of
- At 81, Benjamin Franklin skillfully mediated
between disagreeing factions at the U.S. Constitutional Convention.
- At 80, Moses was called to be the servant of
God leading the exodus.
VI. Identity and intimacy must go hand
- Dietrich Bonhoffer: "Nothing can make
up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong
to try to find a substitute...It is nonsense to say that God fills
the gap; he does not fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it
empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with
each other, even at the cost of pain."
- Alan McGinns: "Identity and intimacy
must occur hand in hand."
- Erich Fromm: "One who cannot love oneself
cannot love others."