We all need a durable, all-encompassing purpose for life that motivates everything we do, a sort of Theory of Everything. Scientists are constantly seeking to discover the elusive Theory of Everything (T.O.E.). Such a theory would fully explain and link together all known physical phenomena and have predictive power for any experiment. Whether we are aware of it or not, we all have a functional T.O.E. for our personal life. Philosophers and sociologists call it a worldview, the framework of ideas and beliefs through which we interpret the world. We all do the things we do based on certain assumptions about life and we all operate using certain guidelines for how to live. Most of the time, however, those assumptions and guidelines are unexpressed or unconsciously accepted. As a result, we sometimes lose site of our purpose.
Ask yourself the following questions to help discern your functional T.O.E. Why did I get out of bed this morning? How do I explain apparent tragedies occurring all throughout the world? What keeps me going when I personally experience difficult trials? What would I do with an unexpected gift of $10,000? If you don’t have a T.O.E./worldview that connects all the happenings of your life and the world around you to one ultimate purpose, then you could be unprepared for trials or triumphs that God will bring into your life. More importantly, God has given us His Theory of Everything in Scripture and given us instructions on how to live out that purpose. I am not saying we need answers to all of life’s toughest questions. We do, however, need a settled confidence that there is God-given meaning to every aspect of daily life. So, let’s lay some groundwork for a constructing a biblical Theory of Everything.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism famously states a T.O.E.: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” As far as summary statements are concerned, that is a good one. The ultimate purpose of your life, the reason you were born and the reason you are still alive, is indeed to glorify God (Isa 43:7)! In his letter to the Corinthian church Paul wrote that Christians have been bought with a price and should therefore glorify God with their bodies (1 Cor 6:20). In fact, whatever we do should be done to glorify God (1 Cor 10:31). What, however, does it mean to glorify God and how is He glorified?
The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of Himself (2 Pet 1:3). It is the profound and incomprehensible weightiness of His perfect nature and character (Exod 33:18-19; 34:6-7). What then does it mean to glorify God? It means to put His greatness and goodness on display, to showcase His wonderful works, to boast only in Him (Jer 9:23-24). If the glory of God is the blazing center of His radiant brilliance, then to glorify Him is to portray His magnificence through your life. Practically speaking, that means worshipping, treasuring, and delighting in God as supremely valuable. You glorify God when it is obvious that you love and adore Him more than anything earthly (Psalm 73:25, 28).
One specific and very significant way to glorify God is by being conformed more and more into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. Transformation toward Christlikeness is a primary way we put God on display. In Second Corinthians we read that we all, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another (3:18). In other words, as we fix our eyes on the glory of God we become more like Christ and progressively gain a greater ability to manifest Christ in our everyday life. Paul goes on to explain that the knowledge of the glory of God is most evident in the face of Christ and the glory of Christ is predominantly seen in gospel (4:4, 6). As a result, to know and experience the glory of Christ through His glorious gospel is to encounter the life-transforming glory of God. Or to put it another way, we are transformed by gazing at the glory of God, which is most radiantly displayed in Jesus Christ and primarily viewed through the gospel.
The practical application for you and me is to orient our lives toward becoming increasingly gospel-centered. The gospel of God’s grace is the fuel for the Christian life. It is the only truth powerful enough to draw us out of our self-centered, sinful life and into a Christ-centered, godly life. The gospel contained in God’s Word is the only reliable, authoritative source of truth (2 Cor 2:4-14), sufficient for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). It is the glory of God (2 Cor 4:4, 6), His power for salvation (Rom 1:16), and the very word of truth (Col 1:5). It is our hope (Col 1:23), our strength (Rom 16:25) and our motivation for obedience (2 Thess 1:8). The gospel is the way we grow (Gal 3:1-3) and are renewed (Col 1:6), so that the continual re-discovery of the gospel and further application of its truth are the means for living a life worthy of the gospel (Php 1:27). The gospel, therefore, must undergird and inform all aspects of your life.
When you demonstrably depend on God’s grace for your moment-by-moment needs (Php 4:19) and rely on Him for the strength to live each day (2 Cor 12:7-11), then you will glorify God no matter what the circumstances. When you interpret life through the lens of Christ’s righteousness purchased for you and Christ Spirit entrusted to you, God is glorified. When you rehearse the wonderful promises of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ to yourself, savoring their sweetness and basking in their beauty, you are glorifying God. These are the basics of a Theory of Everything: make it your ambition to glorify God and become convinced that He is chiefly glorified through the outworking of His gospel in your life.