What it means to “Glorify God”

The Apostle Paul (in 1 Corinthians 10:31) exhorts us to do whatever we do to the Glory of God.  Most contemporary worship songs contain some reference to God’s glory. We throw around phrases in our prayers together that we “just really want to bring you glory”.  But do we know what we mean when we say “God’s Glory”?  I think this is one of those phrases that we all have an intuitive sense about, but maybe haven’t reflected much on.

Yet this is one of the most central and important concepts in all of scripture.  One could rightly say it is the Bible’s central theme.

I have seen theologians write that “God’s Glory is a very difficult concept to define.”  (And then go on to write hundreds of pages on the topic, thus proving its difficulty.)  But I think it is possible to summarize this way:

God’s Glory is the display of the magnificence and beauty and amazingness of who He is and what He is like.  The technical way to say that would be “His character and attributes.”  Same idea.

When we speak of “glorifying God”, “bringing Glory to God”, doing something “for His Glory”, we are using figures of speech to talk about the same thing.

When we say these things, I think we can often have this idea of gathering up a bunch of “glory” (somehow) and handing it to him as a kind of offering. That somehow our work, our singing, our praying our action is somehow amassing a quantity of “glory” that is then handed to God.  But this is note quite right.

Glorifying God isn’t about giving Him something that He doesn’t already have. God is perfect. He does not need anything.  Instead it is about revealing something about God to ourselves, the watching world, and the heavenly beings. (Ephesians 3:10)

So with that in mind, we see that it is very important that we show God accurately, that we say true  things about Him, that we act in a way that is in line with His commands (primarily: to love your neighbor as yourself).

If we say untrue things about Him, we are not glorifying Him, no matter how “sincerely” or how fervently we are doing it.

This is why the study of theology (who God is, and what He is like… not esoteric philosophical and academic propositions), is so critical to the Christian life, especially for those who are going to communicate about God. (Small group leaders, Sunday School Teachers, Worship Leaders, etc).

So be encouraged: God HAS revealed Himself accurately through His Word!  Lean in to it. You can trust it. Devour it and memorize it, let it always be on your mind, heart, and lips.

God enables us to bring Him Glory by revealing who He is to us so we can reveal it to others.  Is that not amazing!?

So, press in to God’s Word. Let Him teach you who He is and what He is like through what He has revealed to us.  Then go and bring Him glory: that is, go and tell your friends, family, and neighbors, everyone you meet, who He is and what He is like!!