More Than Words or Emotions

What does it mean to glorify God, and how can you know if you’re doing it?

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.

Related Topics:  Worship

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16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go. "

19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, Follow Me!"

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;

13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;

16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.

4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.

8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours.

9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name.

10 For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.

11 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.

12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.

13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

1 Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.

3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

4 For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name; Bring an offering and come into His courts.

9 Worship the LORD in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth.

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