God created us in His image so that we can identify with Him and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him. But sin separated us from God. To reconcile us to Himself, God gave His Son, Jesus, as the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. Jesus took our place and laid down His life for us so that we can be reconciled to God and enjoy a relationship with Him again.
The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks what is the chief end of man, and it tells us that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. It is only when we glorify God in our lives that we will enjoy His presence with us, not just for that moment but forever.
What puzzles me is why does God ask us to glorify Him when He already has all the glory? What can we do that will “add” to His glory?
Revelation 4:11 says: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” God created us and we are to worship Him and Him alone. He declared in Exodus 20:3-5 that He is a jealous God, but God’s jealousy is not the type of sinful envy that comes out of our selfish pride; it is a holy and righteous jealousy that cannot allow the glory that is due only to Him to be given to anyone or anything else.
God’s glory belongs to Him and Him alone. We cannot add anything to it (Acts 17:25). It is for our good that God commands us to glorify Him and it is only by living our lives in a manner that glorifies Him that we can be truly holy and happy.
So the question we should be asking is not whether giving glory to God adds to His glory, but rather, we should be asking who is deserving of glory and who should we give glory to. There is no one else in heaven or on earth who deserves all glory, honour and praise except God. As the one true God, He alone is worthy to receive all glory. If we are to give glory to anyone, it should be to God as He alone deserves our glory, honour and praise.
How then do we glorify God in our lives?
Paul exhorts us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we should do it all for the glory of God.
God has instructed us in the Holy Bible how we should live. Because God is holy, perfect and true, His word, as written in the Bible, is also holy, perfect and true (Psalm 19:7). We glorify God by reading His word and applying it in our lives. It pleases God when we obey and submit to Him.
If we do not read His word, we will not know how to glorify Him. Therefore, we must discipline ourselves and make it a habit to read His word each day. The Psalmist tells us to keep the word of God in our hearts so that we will not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). The Bible is all that we need for a life that is pleasing and acceptable to God.
Paul urges us in Romans 12:1-2 to offer our bodies (our lives) as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, for this is our spiritual act of worship. We are not to conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. As we go through each day, we must learn to offer and submit all that we do to God in prayer and we will surely experience His presence with us each day. He will give us a new perspective towards what we do and in the process, He will transform us into His likeness. In this way, we are able to test and approve God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for us. Many people struggle with what God’s will is for their lives. If we endeavour to draw close to God, He will surely draw close to us. We will then know His plans for us as we walk closely with Him.
To glorify God means to acknowledge His glory and value His glory above all things. We glorify God by the way we live – through what we say, how we act, and how we think. We glorify God through our faith in Him; through our love for Him; and through our desire to know Him and obey Him.
When we tell others and demonstrate God’s work in our lives, how He saved us from sin, and the marvellous works that He is doing in our lives, we testify of His goodness and glorify Him before others. Even though they may not always want to hear what we have to say, God is pleased with us when we order our lives in this manner.
God wants us to worship Him as an expression of our reverence and thanksgiving to Him. True worship comes from obeying God. So let us worship God with an obedient heart and an open and repentant spirit, for this is how we glorify God with our lives.