Monday, December 4, 2006

The Chief End of Man

Andrew Murray writes: What is the best and most glorious thing that a man needs every day and can do every day? Nothing less than to seek, to know, to love, and to praise God Himself. As glorious as God is, so is the glory which begins to work in the hearts and lives of people who give themselves to live for God...It is a great step forward in the life of a Christian when we truly see this and consider fellowship with God every day as the chief end of our lives.

The bible does indeed say, "Seek first the kingdom of God..." (Mt 6:33) but I don't think I've ever quite thought of life's purpose in that perspective. To do everything prayerfully, yes. To seek God with all my heart, yes. To seek to do God's will, certainly. But to make seeking God our "chief end"...well, that's not quite how I've been thinking.

So, as I do with many new concepts about which I want to know more, I put this phrase in my browser search bar and found this:

Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man's chief end is to glorify God(1), and to enjoy him forever(2).
1. 1 Corinthians 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 2. Psalm 73:24-26. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God isthe strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.John 17:22, 24. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one... Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. From the Presbyterian Westminster Catechism.

Another web site makes further comment on the catechism: "...for myself, I believe Scripture provides us with an even simpler and more profound definition. It is a definition so simple as to be easily dismissed for its very brevity: The chief end of man is "To please God." It was for this that man is and was created (Rev. 4:11), and everything else is subservient to this end."

So it seems Andrew Murray is not alone in his thinking, and there is good Biblical foundation for this. You may find it silly that I am stuck on this concept, but it is striking in that it is almost but not quite the way I have been living. Seeking God, yes. Living with God in mind, mostly. But living with the idea that fellowship with God is my primary purpose? Well, not quite. So what has been my primary purpose? Good question, and one which I cannot really answer well. That in itself has been the subject of some degree of consternation. Upon further consideration, you'd think that reading "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren twice would have made this concept old news for me. Guess I'm just dense.

But I find great hope in Murray's following paragraph: Take the time to ask yourself whether knowing your God and loving Him with your whole heart is the utmost desire of your heart. You can be certain that God greatly desires that you should live in this intimate fellowship with Him. He will, in answer to your prayer, enable you to do so.

So now, for me, time to go pray. Thanks for listening.

P.S. I found another blog with some good multi-post discussion on this topic that you might want to check out:


  1. Thanks for the link ;). It's an interesting and deep topic for sure. This is one of those theological matters that I really try to keep an open mind about. It doesn't directly affect salvation one way or the other but still makes for some great conversation.

  2. Salvation is defintely important--the most important first step. I wasted way too many years resting on that, however, and when I discovered what awesome blessings come from seeking God beyond basic salvation, I vowed to let others know so they wouldn't miss out. There is so much more joy in life through knowing God and seeking him daily. Jesus said he came to bring us life and to bring it abundantly! (John 10:10)