Have you ever caught yourself during a Sunday morning service, mindlessly singing along with hymns or praise songs? That is one of the dangers of familiarity. Sometimes, however, the problem is that we don’t really understand the depth of the words we are singing.
For instance, what do we really mean when we sing about glorifying God or His name? Those words may flow freely from our lips, and they may even be accompanied by feelings of closeness, gratitude, and reverence, but is this all that’s involved in glorifying the Lord?
To better understand what is required to bring Him glory, we need to know what the Lord says about this subject. In the Greek language, the word for glorify means to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate, or honor, and one of the primary ways we do this is through our songs and prayers. However, the Scriptures reveal that glorifying the Lord involves more than simply exalting Him with our words on Sunday mornings; it includes honoring Him with all that we say, do, and think.
Read Matthew 5:16; Romans 15:5-7; 1 Peter 4:10-11
Before opening your Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what He wants you to take away from this passage. Then read the section, jotting down your first impressions: What questions do you have? Is anything confusing? Which verses speak into your present situation, and how?
The Lord didn’t save us simply so we could gather in churches to worship Him. Although this is an essential part of Christian life, we are also called to glorify Him in our interactions with those outside the church.
As Christ’s ambassadors and witnesses, we have a responsibility to spread the gospel message and demonstrate by our conduct how He can transform a person’s life. Matthew 5:16 describes the result: When we allow Christ’s light to shine through our actions, people will realize there’s a correlation with our faith, and they’ll give God the credit.
In fact, the Lord’s evaluation of a church is not based on what its members say or sing but on how they behave. If a body of believers is characterized by generosity, unity, selflessness, and service, they are glorifying God in both word and deed. But if these qualities are lacking, their corporate praise and worship on Sundays will be empty and hypocritical.
Glorifying involves more than simply exalting Him with our words on Sunday mornings; it includes honoring Him with all that we say, do, and think.
Read John 14:13; John 15:8; John 21:18-19; 1 Peter 4:12-16
Ultimately, the responsibility to glorify God rests on each individual believer. When Jesus gave His final instructions to His disciples (John 13-17), He offered Himself as the example of one who perfectly glorified the Father by fully obeying His will (John 17:4).
Following in His footsteps may seem like an impossible mission, but Jesus didn’t leave us to fend for ourselves; He promised that His Holy Spirit would come to live within each believer. And in that way, He would forever be with us, teaching us to pray according to His will, empowering us to walk in obedience and purity, and transforming us with the fruit of His Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
Glorifying our heavenly Father is a lifelong pursuit that need not be hindered by suffering or ended by death. The truth is, if we respond to “fiery ordeals” by entrusting our life to God, we not only glorify Him now but will also rejoice greatly when He is finally revealed in great glory. Even the death of believers, no matter how untimely or painful, brings God glory (Ps. 116:15).
Write your thoughts in a journal.
The book of Psalms is filled with prayers and songs that speak of the Lord’s majesty. They tell us why He is worthy of our praise and how we should approach Him.
• Read verses 8-13 of Psalm 86, a prayer of David (Ps. 86:8-13). How does he describe the Lord in verses 8-10? What does David ask God to do for him, and what does he commit himself to do as a result (vv. 11-12)? According to verse 13, what is the basis for David’s trust in the Lord and his reason for exalting Him?
• Psalms 96 is a call for the people of God to praise Him through song. What are they to proclaim and to whom (Ps. 96:1-3)? How is the Lord exalted in Psalms 96:4-7? What attitude should the people have toward the Lord (Ps. 96:8-9)? What do the final verses of the psalm say about God’s trustworthiness and justice?
The only way we’re truly able to glorify God is by understanding how high and exalted He is and how lowly we are.
• If you’ve always thought that glorifying God is something that’s done at church but has nothing to do with the rest of your life, perhaps this definition will help you: To glorify someone is basically to ascribe importance to that person. With this in mind, how important is God to you in your everyday life? How much does He occupy your thoughts? Do you seek to please Him in all you do, say, and think? If you find that you have not given the Lord the standing He deserves, what are some steps you can take to change that and make Him the priority of your life?
• Another synonym for glorify is magnify, which means “to make bigger.” The only way we’re truly able to glorify God is by understanding how high and exalted He is and how lowly we are. In the coming weeks, focus on passages of Scripture that speak of His attributes and mighty works. What are the advantages of giving Him His rightful place as almighty God? What are the disadvantages of trying to bring Him down to our level?
• Glorifying God is not supposed to be an occasional activity reserved for Sundays. Rather, it should be a lifestyle of obedience and devotion for every follower of Christ. The next time you find yourself exalting the Lord in song, pay attention to the words, and ask Him to help you glorify Him in every area of your life. Then think about ways you can honor Him in your personal life, in your church, and in the world.