As many of you already know, Johann Sebastian Bach was a famous German composer and musician during the Baroque period. What made his music exquisitely unique were the forms, textures and rhythms he adapted and developed from his many travel experiences throughout Europe. With over three hundred cantatas and two hundred still used and recognized to this day, Bach’s melodies are one of the most artistic, beautiful and intellectual counterpoint pieces that has ever been heard and experienced in the history of classical music.
Now, I didn’t get my tattoo because I’m a Bach fan. I’m not even a musical person and I’m also not a big history buff. Let me continue to explain:
During one of my first freshman college classes at the University of Northwestern, we studied German history. My professor briefly touched on the background and biography of Bach. What makes my college SO amazing and set apart from other Universities was the majority (if not all) of the professors are Christians. Many of my teachers added their own biblical worldview to each class and challenged the students to engage in history, math, literature etc. from a spiritual standpoint. I LOVE THIS KINDA STUFF! My history teacher explained something to that class, I will never forget in my life. It is burned into my mind and forever tattooed on my body:
Bach was a man of faith. He loved the Lord. He gave his life over to the will of God. When Bach was establishing his harmonic masterpieces, he would sign the bottom right corner of his finished compositions with SDG. All musicians were required to write their own initials.
Well, not Bach.
Bach penned the initials for the phrase Soli Deo Gloria.
Soli Deo Gloria is a Latin term meaning: Glory to God Alone.
Bach understood that his musical talent was a gift from God. It was not his own. Through the vessel of music, Bach wanted to give all the honor and glory back to his Heavenly Father. He wanted God to get the recognition and the credit over himself. I was blown away by Bach’s ability to see Christ so clearly and also trust in God to the point of sacrificing his craft and personal success. I became completely and utterly in love with the phrase Soli Deo Gloria.
Going a little deeper, what I have learned from this statement is that the true test of a saint is not successfulness, but faithfulness. As humans in a fallen world, we set up success in our work as our sole purpose. However, our main goal should be to display the Glory of God in day-to-day life. It can take a long time to make a complete and effective decision about God. However, if and when you come to grips with the fact that you must die to yourself and allow God to create a new life in you, it will be the greatest moment of your life. (Next to the willingness to die to your sin, but that’s a whole other topic) After you pursue a relationship with God and it is developed and sanctified through the power and work of the Holy Spirit, your faith must be exercised and tested in the realities of every day life. Until you come to the point that Jesus Christ is your Lord, you will continue to live for yourself and YOUR own goals. This is not life to the fullest as Christ designed it. This is a chasing of the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14) and lie that the world -aka: the enemy- wants you to believe.
Here is a piece of truth that your life should be build around:
YOU’RE NOT THE POINT.
We are here for 80 some short years (If we are blessed) and then… BOOM…eternity. Therefore, it’s crucial to store your treasures in the afterlife.
Bach accepted his life was in God’s hands. This brilliant man was tracking with my own philosophy: My life is God’s. All my talents, abilities and possessions belong to God. He gets all the Glory and the recognition for anything I accomplish on this earth. His love is imprinted on my heart (Psalm 199:11) and marked on my body. I will forever cherish this lovely, life giving phrase Soli Deo Gloria.
Let your light shine my friends.