What do you focus your thoughts, energies and actions on each day? While each of us have different interests and pursuits, according to the Bible, everything you and I do should have the underlying focus of honoring our Creator. The scriptural passage in 1 Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (emphasis added throughout). This means that esteeming God cannot be a part-time effort. Worshiping God must reside at the core of your being―to the depth of your soul and spirit. Jesus Christ told His disciples: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). To illustrate this cardinal truth, let’s examine biblical examples of faithful people whose principal focus was on glorifying God in everything they did.
The Example of Joshua and Caleb
Joshua and Caleb are best known as some of the most dedicated men of ancient Israel. They are introduced in the biblical narrative at the time Moses prepared to send spies into the land of Canaan soon after the Israelites left Egypt (Numbers 13:1-2). Moses selected one man from each of the 12 Israelite tribes. Joshua was probably the overall leader of the expedition since he had earlier led Israel in defeating the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16). So the spies went into the Promised Land, searched it out and returned. But sadly 10 of the 12 men gave a pessimistic report (Numbers 13:28-29). However, in speaking for himself, Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30).
The other spies instantly countered Caleb’s courageous assessment by creating the mythical impression that the inhabitants of Canaan were like giant, fierce warriors dwelling in large, fortified cities. Through their discouraging words, these 10 spies generated a feeling of terror and anxiety in the Israelites so that they could scarcely contain their emotions (Numbers 13:31-33; 14:1-4).
This negative, faithless reaction caused Joshua and Caleb to respond vigorously in opposition by urging the people to reject fear and move forward in faith (Numbers 14:6-9). These two dauntless men did not concentrate on, nor were they intimidated by, the size of the soldiers or the strength of the cities in Canaan. Instead, they knew that since God had miraculously defeated the mighty Egyptian army at the Red Sea, He could effortlessly contend with the Canaanites, no matter how tall or strong they appeared to be.
Joshua and Caleb focused unswervingly on their Creator’s unchallengeable strength and resolute assurances of guidance and protection. God rewarded these zealous, committed men by later exempting them from the entire generation of Israelites whom He would not permit to enter Canaan (Numbers 14:30). Caleb was even singled out by God for having a model spirit (Numbers 14:24), while Joshua was promoted to lead the next generation of Israelites into the Promised Land after Moses’ death (Deuteronomy 34:9).
What can we learn from the example of Joshua and Caleb? It is that throughout their lives they faithfully honored God’s glory in everything they did. You and I would do well to emulate their example.
Lydia of Philippi
Let’s now look at another biblical illustration of an individual who focused on honoring God―the steadfast, faithful woman, Lydia. On the apostle Paul’s second ministerial journey from 50-54 A.D., he and his traveling companions, Timothy and Silas, sailed from Asia Minor across the Aegean Sea to the city of Philippi in Macedonia. Paul wrote: “On the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there” (Acts 16:13).
On his journeys, Paul customarily went to a synagogue in various cities to worship and speak with attendees about Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God (Acts 17:2). However, it appears that few Jews were living in Philippi and consequently, a synagogue had not been built. This is likely why the women Paul spoke to had gathered for prayer along the river bank. Paul continues: “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God” (Acts 16:14).
Lydia was a merchant dealing specifically in purple-dyed cloth, which was greatly treasured due to its rarity and beauty. Because of the time and expense it took to produce this fabric, it was generally purchased by wealthy individuals. Although Lydia worked in this demanding business, it was not the entire focus of her life since, as Paul stated, she “worshiped God.” The Bible doesn’t say if she was a Jew or a righteous Gentile attracted to Judaism, but it is clear that her primary focus and commitment was toward her Creator.
When Paul spoke to Lydia about the gospel, and as God opened her mind and heart to understand its spiritual significance, she responded with great enthusiasm. In fact, Lydia reacted so swiftly and deeply that she requested that she and her household be baptized immediately. And that was not all. She then quickly invited Paul, Timothy and Silas to stay at her house (Acts 16:15).
Later Paul met with the brethren. It appears that Lydia’s house had since become the meeting place for a growing congregation (Acts 16:40). As she managed her purple-dyed cloth business, the underlying foundation in everything she did was to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). By her zeal for God and her warm, generous hospitality to the elders and brethren, she became an outstanding model of how someone can focus on glorifying God while also carrying out your own daily activities and duties.
What Should You Do?
The illustrations covered about dedicated individuals who ardently gave glory to God can benefit us in better comprehending what we can do as we go through our lives. The central truth of the Bible is that everything exists because of God and that it manifests His awesome glory (see Psalm 57:5; 113:4; 1 Timothy 1:17). “For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever” (Romans 11:36).
So how can we better focus on giving God the great honor He deserves? You can strive to love God with your entire being while carefully keeping His commandments, which He designed for our abundant benefit (Psalm 119:2). Besides that, we can include Him in all our daily endeavors by allowing Him to guide and direct our thoughts, words and actions in our work, studies, play, hobbies and other interests (Proverbs 16:3). Indeed, focusing on God and His ways should be at the core of everything we do. Besides honoring God, we can work at being fully attentive to making His priorities our priorities by resolutely setting our mind “on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). If you make every effort to do so, God will give you everything you need to be successful spiritually (Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 4:19).
Never forget the biblical examples of Joshua and Caleb who never lost focus on God and His great power and promises. Also, don’t forget the example of Lydia who made glorifying God the principal groundwork of her life. Endeavor zealously and resolutely to “do all to the glory of God.”