A Godward life is lived leaning toward God. We turn our face toward him and not away from him. We enjoy the consciousness of his presence moment by moment. We remember him and do not forget him. At every turn of the day, we put our trust in him. We count on him, not only to save us when we die, but to help us in the next hour. Really help us.
We think about his superior worth in all our reckoning. In all our dealings and relations, we are reminded of things he said. His promises and warnings are the sound of the quietly whirring gears in our minds. The memory of his Son’s ways on the earth is the drama playing between the operations of our brains. And walking across the stage of our thought are the heroes we love to admire because they imitated him.
We see God’s artwork in the world everywhere we turn. Types and shadows of divine things lurk with serious and happy lessons everywhere. We are conscious of his providence as we watch the events of the world. Every object, every event, every person, every thought, every possibility is seen in relation to God.
“Every moment, every act, is from God and through God and for God. This is the Godward life.”
Standing in the grace of justification by faith alone, we aim to please God in all we do. We aim to pattern our feelings after his feelings, and our thoughts after his thoughts, and our words after his words, and our deeds after his deeds. We aim to maximize the rewards he promised to those who live to him. We unashamedly desire and pursue the pleasures of his fellowship — now and forever. He is ever our greatest reward.
We do not have a God-segment of our lives. Monday night is as God-conscious as Sunday morning. All our work, all our leisure and amusement and recreation and social media are lived in the purifying presence of God. There is no empty space in our lives where God is not. Every moment, every act, is from God and through God and for God. This is the Godward life.
What Do the Scriptures Say?
In the Bible, God calls us into this Godward life. It is everywhere in Scripture — the expectation that life is infused with God. All of life. Living as if God were a part of life, and not the fragrance and brightness of all of life, is what the Bible calls foolishness. Turn your hearts and ears to the Godward call in Scripture.
The Godward life is doing all to the glory of God.
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
The Godward life is doing all in the name of Jesus.
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Colossians 3:17)
The Godward life is thanking God for everything.
Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)
The Godward life is walking ever before God.
You have delivered my soul from death . . . that I may walk before God in the light of life. (Psalm 56:13)
The Godward life is exulting before God.
The righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! (Psalm 68:3)
“Living as if God were a part of life, and not the fragrance and brightness of all of life, is what the Bible calls foolishness.”
The Godward life is doing ministry before God.
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words. (2 Timothy 2:14)
The Godward life is having confidence before God.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God. (1 John 3:21)
The Godward life is turning our eyes ever toward God for rescue.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. (Psalm 25:15)
My eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge. (Psalm 141:8)
The Godward life is giving and praying and fasting, conscious that God sees and rewards.
When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:3–4)
When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:17–18)
The Godward life is expecting God’s well-timed help.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace for a well-timed help. (Hebrews 4:16)
The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)
No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11)
The Godward life is doing our vocation with God.
So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God. (1 Corinthians 7:24)
The Godward life works in its vocation as if God were the boss.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23–24)
The Godward life aims in all things to please the Lord Jesus.
Whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Corinthians 5:9)
Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:10)
“Trying to live as a Christian while God is at the margins is a miserable life.”
The Godward life seeks at all times to live worthily of Jesus.
Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10)
The Godward life sees the rest of life as designed for God’s will.
Live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:2)
The Godward life lives to God.
Through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. (Galatians 2:19)
None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:7–8)
The Godward life speaks to God without ceasing.
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
The Godward life cannot end at death.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. (Psalm 63:3)
I invite you into the Godward life. Trying to live as a Christian while God is at the margins is a miserable life. Like a fish trying to live with minimal water. Or a bird trying to be happy as a walker, not a flier. You were not made to be central, while God is marginal. You were made to make God central. Central to everything. I invite you to come all the way into the Godward life. Only here is freedom.