What Does it Mean to Glorify God?

You hear it said often, don’t you? You need to glorify God! But what does it mean exactly?

How can someone glorify God?

Perhaps one of the best pictures of glorifying God in the Bible is found in Luke 9:9. Herod says, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?”

The context around this verse is clear. Jesus sends out the twelve on their first evangelistic trip. They go out to preach about the kingdom, but they do so in a way that brings glory to Christ. I say this because as people watch and listen to the twelve, they can’t help but wonder about who Jesus is.

In other words, they think to themselves that these twelve men couldn’t possibly believe these things that they were declaring; that they couldn’t do the things they were doing unless God had enabled them to do so.

Bringing glory to God with our lives means that we are doing supernatural things that can only be attributed to Him. And I’m not talking about miraculous sign gifts; I’m talking about supernatural things that can only happen in the minds and hearts of regenerated Holy Spirit-filled believers.

There are three areas I want to highlight in particular in which we can glorify God: In our beliefs, in our decisions, and in our response to trials.

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We glorify God by what we believe.

We glorify God by what we believe.

Nothing is more supernatural than believing the Gospel. To be able to say “I am a sinner that deserves to spend eternity in hell, and there is nothing I can do to save myself” is an absolute miracle.

By simply believing this truth, we give glory to God. We didn’t believe this truth because we were smarter than others, it was simply because of the grace of God.

We also give glory to Christ by believing that He is truly God and truly man. That He lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead.

Many might admit that they have sin in their lives, but they will deny the fact that their sin separates them from God and makes them deserve Hell. False religions teach some form of works-based righteousness where the sinner merits entry into heaven one way or another.

The Gospel is the only truth that gives God full glory. So that one day each sinner standing in Heaven will be there based solely on the grace of God through faith in Christ alone.

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We glorify God in our decision-making.

We glorify God in our decision-making.

Whether it is by choosing to say no to sin, or to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven rather than on earth; believers are able to glorify God in their decision making.

My mind goes to Elizabeth Elliott, who, despite great peril and the fact that her husband had been recently murdered by the Houaroani people in Eastern Ecuador, decided to go and still reach the murderers of her husband with the Gospel.

It would be tough for someone to look to Elizabeth Elliot as though she were some incredible angel.  Instead, we believers know that it is God who softened her heart and miraculously caused her to love those who took the love of her life away.

When we decide to be counter-cultural, to go against the flow of the world, that is when we truly are glorifying God – because it is unnatural to say no to sin, and it is unnatural to live with our eyes set on eternity.

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We glorify God in our response to trials.

We glorify God in our response to trials.

There are few things more miraculous than Paul’s words in Philippians 1:18, where he says, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.”

To be in prison and to be maligned by other believers is already difficult, but to be there with the possibility of facing Nero at some point is unbearable for a human to withstand. Most humans would be depressed, even suicidal.

And yet, Paul is rejoicing. He is the opposite of what a human being typically is.

You probably know some Christians who experienced serious physical pain, spent many days in the hospital, and couldn’t stop talking about all the evangelistic opportunities that their trial enabled them to have. I can think of over a dozen people in the past few years who told me this. 

When we see our trials in light of eternity, we are able to truly glorify God with our lives.

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Glorifying God is living by the Spirit.

Glorifying God is living by the Spirit.

Glorifying God is not something you can drum up on the fly. Only those who are saturated in the Word of God and who are enabled by the Holy Spirit to live with eternity in view are able to do so.

You will glorify God when those around you will hear your beliefs, watch your decisions, and observe your responses to trials, and will be prompted to worship God for His power to enable you to live in a supernatural way.

Remember, our ability to glorify God will reach its apex when we reach Heaven. Not only because we will be perfect, but because the angels, upon seeing us reach heaven, will remember how spiritually bankrupt we were, and will know that it is only by the grace of God that we will have gotten to Heaven (1 Peter 1:12). This will fuel their worship of God for eternity (Eph. 2:7).

Do you long to give glory to God with your life? Then study God’s Word so that you can know God better and love Him more. 

And when temptation lurks and trials come, you will live supernaturally, and those around you will be encouraged and propelled to worship God more.

Jordan Standridge is the pastor of evangelism at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA. He and his wife, Jenny, have four children: Davide, Matteo, Nico, and Gabriella.

This article originally appeared on The Cripplegate. Reprinted with permission.

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