The purpose of our lives in Christ is to make God known. This is the reality of the great commission, the command to make disciples which is for every believer. Thanksgiving, prayer, and praise testimony reveals the joy of Lord given in abundance to those who live in His presence.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! (1 Chronicles 16:8)
David was, as the Bible shows us clearly, a very extraordinary ordinary man. Like all of us, he had weaknesses and sins. He came from a less than exceptional background – shepherds weren’t considered pillars of the society back then. But this ordinary shepherd became king. God made him extraordinary because his love for God transcended everything. The psalms pour out his absolute dependence on Him in his darkest hours. But they also pour out his equally honest praise and celebration of the joy of knowing God. In everything, David had a zeal to make God known. He wasn’t afraid to ‘be a fool’ for God and to show his passion to the world. It earned him scorn and disfavour sometimes. But the result of this was that God honoured him and raised him up. Despite his many sins, David was a man after God’s own heart.
To make God known is our purpose.
There can be no such thing as a ‘secret’ Christian. Even in countries where Christianity is forbidden and believers vehemently persecuted, the church grows. This is because even the need for secrecy is balanced by the driving purpose to make God known. The Spirit opens doors to preach the Gospel and believers obey. There is no comfort or complacency to get in the way of the brutal but beautiful truth of the cross. There are any number of believers who have accepted Christ but keep their faith to themselves. But we were created and then recreated in new birth to reveal Christ and through Him, God, to the world. A true believer will find that a growing relationship with and knowledge of God creates an impetus to share. The good things of God are never intended for us alone. They will always overflow to the world around us.
The infilling of the Holy Spirit is the seal and sign that we belong to God. It sets us apart for His purpose, which is to make God known. We may suppress the outward, visible demonstration for a while. But if we’re walking and growing in the Spirit, it will ‘erupt’ at some point. He cannot be contained in secret. He’s a living Spirit of power and supernatural activity, and will manifest. This is the purpose of God in us. He intends that our lives and the personal transformation in Him reveals His power, glory, and nature. We cannot truly know and love God without this spilling out. The joy of the Lord contains His life. It’s not given as a secret thing. Rather, it’s our strength to live our purpose and manifest the full nature of God through Christ in us and the work of the Spirit.
We make God known through thanksgiving.
Contrary to human nature and worldly expectations, giving thanks is meant to be continual and complete. The Bible reminds us to give thanks in all circumstances. This doesn’t necessarily mean giving thanks for the circumstance. We can even do that, though, with His grace and strength when we see His purposes at work. The important thing is we continue to give thanks even when times are hard. This is a simple but incredibly powerful way to make God known. It’s guaranteed to make the world stand back and take notice. What it means is that we recognise God as the source of all. We acknowledge Him as provider, saviour, defender, and restorer. Our trust is in Him alone and enables us to look beyond the circumstances. Thanksgiving reveals the God who has done, is doing, and will do. It’s a powerful revelation of the great I AM.
The outworking of this is that thanksgiving works to make God known to us. In other words, it’s a reminder of all He is and can do. It turns our focus to Him with whom all things are possible. When we consider what He has already done for us, joy is released. His joy is our strength, so we are empowered by a supernatural release of all we need. This, in turn, feeds our faith. In all of this, others can see the work of God in us. His nature, love, mercy, and faithfulness are revealed. He manifests His grace and His supernatural intervention. Thanksgiving restores us, empowers us, uplifts us, and transforms us into His image. This is through the work of the Spirit. We choose to give thanks in all circumstances, and He empowers us in ways that aren’t natural but supernatural, which is what God is.
We make God known when we call upon His name.
Many believers don’t fully comprehend the power in the name of God. The entire Bible is a revelation of His many names, all of which reveal His nature and character. The sum total of all His names is I AM – everything and all in all. I AM provider, I AM healer, I AM righteousness, I AM peace. These are only a handful of the various aspects of His name that are fully available to us in Jesus. The simple but powerful message here is that God’s name is the most powerful thing in heaven and earth because it is who He is. When we call upon His name, we make God known. We reveal Him not only as the one we trust but as the one who can be trusted. When we call upon His name, we magnify Him – as opposed to the world which diminishes Him.
Thanksgiving brings us to the place where we call upon God. When we’re reminded and secure in the truth of what He has done for us, we have faith for what is needed. Real, joyful, celebratory thanksgiving inevitably results in calling on His name. The one flows from the other. Yes, we can and do call on the name of the Lord without necessarily having a ‘thanksgiving warm-up’ and God does respond. When we use His name, we make God known and He honours that. But thanksgiving builds faith so that we believe when we call. But it also reveals the dynamic, faithful nature of God who is unchanging. If He did yesterday, He will do today. That’s a powerful message to others. Finally, God’s response when we call upon His name reveals Himself as well – that He is willing and able to intervene on behalf of His people.
We make God known by making His deeds known.
God manifests Himself by what He does. He is spirit and operates supernaturally, but there will always be tangible or visible results. This is the ‘evidence’ that He provides of who and what He is. We make God known by making His deeds known. Again, it has a two-fold outworking. It reminds us of what He has done but also confirms Him to others. The ‘unseen God’ can only be seen through the testimony and evidence of what He has done in and for us. This began in Christ’s earthly ministry with visible healings, deliverance, and miracles. But we now have Christ in us, so that ministry continues in and through us. His power continues to work and His deeds are ongoing. These deeds are the result of calling on His name – our prayers. They are God’s loving response to those who trust only in Him.
When we make God known by revealing what He has done for us in answer to prayer, we find ourselves back at thanksgiving and praise. These things all work together. They are woven into a supernatural interaction so they flow into and alongside each other. Together, they are worship – the greatest way to make God known. We live constantly in the absolute assurance of faith that He is who He says He is. Others see this in us. But they also, through our surrender and worship, see Jesus and the full power of the cross. We must never forget that God has chosen to have a people called by His name so they can reveal Him to the nations. This is our divine purpose and must be outworked as we live and grow in Him. To make His deeds known manifests a dynamic and powerful relationship with I AM.
Make God known is the great commission.
The great commission was His last command to every believer to ‘go and make disciples’ and has never been countermanded. Disciples are those who walk so closely with their teacher that they learn from and emulate him. Our teacher is Jesus, as He was for His disciples back then. We make disciples when we make God known and teach others to live in Christ and as He did. David’s exuberant dance reveals the right attitude – absolute joy in the knowledge of the presence of the Lord. Others are drawn to joy.
The joy of the Lord contains His power to believe and overcome. Are we willing to surrender to God and His purposes so the same kind of joy overtakes us? He says He uses the foolish to confound the wise. Perhaps our prayers should include being made foolish, like David was, in order to make God known.
Lord, help us today to set our sensibilities and conventions aside and, like David, live in Your joy. Thank You for the assurance that You are God in us. Empower us to live this truth in all we do, with thanksgiving in all things. Remind us always to call on Your name and to share Your deeds. Let our lives be lived to make You known so that others will be drawn to You.