Few would deny that the word of God instructs all those who would be the servants of the Lord to glorify God. The psalmist wrote, “Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel” (Psalm 22:23). The apostle Paul, writing by the inspiration of God, wrote “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:20). Many other verses could be cited that show the responsibility we have to glorify God. Yet, sometimes when we know that we are to do something, we need help in understanding just how we are to do it. Such may be the case when it comes to glorifying God. Glorify is a verb, thus it is not just something that we say, but something that we do. So, just how are we to glorify God?
First, it would be good for us to define the word “glorify”. It means to give glory, to praise and to exalt. Thus to glorify God is to give glory to God, to praise God and to exalt God. David comes to mind immediately as one who often glorified God in the psalms that he wrote. The eighth psalm is a prime example of giving glory, praising and exalting God. Many times we have heard someone say the words, “praise God” thinking that in doing so they are in fact praising God. They are not. They are just stating a command to do so. We wish to note a few ways that we can actually glorify God.
The first of these ways is by the use of our mouth. Again, it was the psalmist that said, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me…” (Psalm 50:23). One one out of ten lepers came back to Jesus after being cleansed and the text says that he, “with a loud voice glorified God” (Luke 17:15). Paul told the Roman brethren, “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 15:6). It is noteworthy that we notice that our spirit is involved in this glorifying. Recall that Paul said we are to glorify God in our body and in our spirit (I Cor. 6:20). In other words, just saying words of praise doesn’t glorify God, one must be sincere in that praise. Otherwise it is nothing but “lip service”, much as when Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8). This glorifying of God by way of our mouth can be done in simple verbal praise, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, in our prayers to the Father and in our teaching of the omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, love, longsuffering, mercy and grace of God.
But, we wish to extend our thoughts on glorifying God to a realm beyond just the verbal praise and exaltation that we are probably aware of as a means of glorification. Let us go back once more to that statement by the apostle Paul. He said that we are to “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:20). It’s not just our hearts and our tongues that we use to glorify God. He said that we are to glorify God in our body. The prophet Isaiah said, “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified” (Isa. 60:21). Being righteous glorifies God! Faithfully doing the work that has been assigned by God glorifies God. In prayer to the Father, Jesus said, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). Peter wrote, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ…” (I Pet. 4:11).
We also glorify God by glorifying His Son. Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (John 13:31). Jesus also said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). To reject the Son is to reject the Father. To neglect the Son is to neglect the Father. To glorify the Son is to glorify the Father. Just as one cannot separate the Father from the Son, neither can one separate Christ from His body, the church. Thus to do injustice to the Lord’s church is to do injustice to the Lord and to the Father; the very opposite of glorifying Him.
One last manner in which we can glorify God that we will consider, is in bearing fruit. Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8). Being a disciple of Christ requires fruit bearing. This involves teaching others and encouraging others to become children of God. We will then be the cause of others also glorifying God. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). We can glorify God through our suffering of persecution (I Pet. 4:14). We can even glorify God through our death (John 21:19). We have much for which to glorify God and many ways in which we can do so. Now, it is up to us to glorify God in our body and in our spirit.
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]