The One Overriding Purpose

April 27, 2012 by Paul Chappell

This blog is an early preview for a book I am currently writing about motivations for ministry. Below is an excerpt from chapter 1. I’m glad to hear your feedback or suggestions!

Sometimes we overcomplicate the Christian life. We develop formulas, lists, and philosophies, all of which may be good and helpful; but there is an overriding purpose to our lives, and it’s quite simple—do all to the glory of God.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31

The word glorify means “to reveal or make clear.” In simple terms, you and I were created for the express purpose of showing or revealing God more clearly to others. By our lives and very existence He should be seen more clearly—even magnified—in others’ eyes. There is no higher motivation or purpose in all of life.

What a different and contrasting purpose than what we see in modern-day pop-culture. The message of the world is simply, “Glorify self!” The secular world idolizes mankind, magnifies the pleasure of man, and promotes the worship of self.

Romans 1 describes the godless early Gentile world—a culture strikingly like our own.

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.—Romans 1:21–23

Today’s world’s system—from the educators, to the Hollywood producers, to the fashion designers, to the musicians—is not concerned with glorifying God at all. In fact, as a whole, they are “willingly…ignorant” of God (2 Peter 3:5).

Even in Christian ministry, there is much popular teaching about promoting self, building brand, and the development of personal platform.

But for those of us who know God, who have received Christ, our hearts’ desire and purest passion should be to glorify Him—to make the Lord Jesus Christ more clearly known before men.

When God’s Glory Motivates Us…

There is a difference in how we approach ministry when our highest motivation is God’s glory. Below are some earmarks of ministry carried out to the glory of God.

We strive for excellence. Our God is excellent and worthy of our most excellent efforts. When His glory drives us, we dig deeper and strive to give Him our utmost in every area of life and service.

We live with integrity. When we care about God’s glory, we strive for a deep level of authenticity in all of life, not just the visible aspects. God sees every part of our hearts and lives, and His glory calls us to absolute integrity and sincerity. His glory prohibits us from separating our lives into public and private—into ministry and non-ministry, holding each area to a different standard. God’s glory calls us to integrity.

We care about the details. Remembering His glory changes how we handle the “insignificants.” God’s glory will motivate us to pay attention to details we might dismiss were it only our own names at stake. What’s “good enough” for me, may not be “good enough” for God’s glory.

We are willing to be consumed for Christ. John the Baptist’s highest ambition was to expend his life for Christ’s glory. In John 3:30 he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John made Christ’s magnification his life mission, and he was satisfied by its completion. When God’s glory becomes our motive—our passion—it is a joy to expend our lives for Christ alone.

All to the Glory of God

What is your highest motivation? What drives you right now? When God examines your heart motives, does He find first and foremost a deep desire for His glory?

You were created for His glory, and you’re never more fully alive than when you are living to bring Him glory. And He is never more fully pleased than when your life is truly glorifying to Him!


  1. Hi Bro. Chappell.
    This looks like it will be a good and helpful book. So often we lose sight of why we do things for the Lord and it is to glorify Him. Definitely will get the book.
    Bro. Canaday

    Comment by Louis Canaday — April 27, 2012 @ 6:33 am

  2. of course this is one of the many that is worth sharing for. Thank you Pastor for always striving for excellency for the Lord. We are truly blessed by the ministry that God had entrusted you!

    Comment by Lyn Roberts — April 27, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  3. Pastor Chappell, it is a fantastic start and I am sure the Lord will use it greatly.

    Comment by Alexandria Reardon — April 27, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  4. Great truth! Looking forward to reading more. Praying for you.

    Comment by Michael Morgan — April 27, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

  5. Dear Pastor,

    Romans 1:21-23 which you quote above so aptly represents the JEA and the Dan Savage clip which we saw at church today. All day I have been burdened and praying for our nation and our young people. It appears that our nation is heading in the direction of Rome under Nero (persecuting the Christians). The topic of your book is timely; as events like this JEA conference in DC, demonstrate how important it is for us to reveal Christ clearly in our lives during these perilous last days. These are dark days and I pray your book gives us readers an urgency to magnify Christ in our lives as we have His light in our lives.

    Comment by Debbie LaFerla — April 29, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

  6. Great excerpt of chapter 1! Since you’ve asked for suggestions, I’ll share a thought.
    I’m sure you know that some who emphasize (rightly) our \doxological purpose\ (to glorify God) can slip out of an aggressive soulwinning mode. They say that our purpose is not to win souls, but to glorify God. They say that if our purpose is to win souls, we would end up using methods that are not glorifying to God. Their point is well taken. However…
    You could add a fifth point to \When God’s Glory Motivates Us…\
    We are committed to soulwinning.
    John 15:8 says that we glorify God when we bear fruit. The fruit of a Christian is another Christian. We bear fruit \in kind.\ The \fruit of the Christian\ differs from the \fruit of the Spirit.\ A Christian who thinks he is glorifying God while not seeking to win souls has been sidetracked.

    Comment by Marc Knoedler — May 2, 2012 @ 4:32 am

  7. Great thought! Thank you, Pastor Knoedler. I looked into this for Pastor Chappell, and he actually had already included a section in this chapter on glorifying God by bearing fruit that remains. (Only about half the chapter is on his blog.) Additionally, he has an entire chapter on being motivated by a lost world. Thanks again!

    Comment by monicabass — May 4, 2012 @ 9:29 am

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