There is a hymn that is sung, “We will Glorify,” the lyrics of which, begin as follows: “We will glorify the King of Kings, we will glorify the Lamb; we will glorify the Lord of lords, who is the great I am.”
The sentiment of the song is quite appropriate. God is truly deserving of such praise. As the scriptures say, “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11; NKJV) And our Savior, Jesus Christ is likewise deserving, as we read a little further, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12; NKJV)
Each individual who truly believes in God as their Creator, and Jesus as the Savior of men, should do all they can to glorify them. Nor should this glory be limited to a few trite platitudes uttered upon occasion. The Psalmist expressed it thusly: “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.,” (Psalm 71:8; ESV) and elsewhere, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
But is this what we are doing? Are we truly glorifying God?
For most in the world, the answer must be, “No!” Life is not lived to the glory of God, but to the glory of some other. All too many live so as to bring glory to themselves. When they boast, they boast about their deeds, their wisdom, their ideas, their riches, their property, and their own accomplishments. They do not have the attitude of the one who wrote, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)
Many others live for the glory of some institution or association, such as their family or their country. Consider those who may not brag about themselves all that often, but they are more than happy to tell you all the wonderful things their children, grandchildren, or other kin have done exceptional. Or consider the politician, soldier, or nationalist who is all too happy to tell you why their country is the best on earth and are eager to fight and sweat and work to make it even better.
Are we glorifying God, or are we living for another?
Again, heed the words of Scripture: “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Therein is the expectation of God for His people. He is our Creator, the mighty King, the great I am; and if we consider ourselves the people of His pasture, then He alone is worthy to receive the glory, honor and blessing due Him.
If we wish to truly honor God, then we need to give some careful thought to how to go about doing this.
Most obviously, we should spend time in worship to God, both privately and collectively with the Lord’s church. Glorifying God is intrinsically linked to the worship of God. “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2) Why would we claim to want to glorify God, but refuse to worship Him?
But glorifying God cannot be limited to the actions of a worship service. Again, as the Psalmist said, “my mouth is filled with your praise,” and as the apostle reminded us, our boasting, if we are to boast, should be boasts about what God through Christ has done for us. Can we be said to glorify God if we refuse to speak to others about how great God is.
Then too, Jesus taught His followers: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16; NKJV) We bring no glory to God if we claim to be His follower but our lives do not reflect positively on Him. It is through our loving deeds that others may know we are indeed true followers of Christ (cf. John 13:35) Can we be said to be glorifying God if we are living selfish lives of sin? The answer is clearly, No.
So let us be serious about glorifying God, and think seriously about who our lives are actually bringing glory to. If your life has not been bringing glory to the One who made you and died for you, it’s not too late to change that. The church of Christ invites you to study and worship with us at 234 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis, Ohio. Likewise, if you have any questions, please share them with us through our website chapelhillchurchofchrist.org.
Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ.