Each man and woman is created in God’s image to glorify him. We glorify God when, like a mirror, we reflect his beauty, holiness, and goodness in our thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds. We glorify God when pleasing him in our purpose, his word is our life, and his fellowship our delight. We glorify God as “our mouth is filled with his praise, and with his honor all the day” (Ps. 71:8).
But sin has marred God’s image in us and therefore made us incapable of glorifying him – until the bright light of the gospel shines upon us. The glory of God’s love and grace pierces our dark hearts by the gospel of Jesus Christ. His glory in the face of Jesus Christ drives away our darkness and restores his shattered image (2 Cor. 4:6). Now, by amazing grace, glorifying God is our delight again (2 Cor. 3:18).
The Spirit says to glorify God “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do” (1 Cor. 10:31). Eating and drinking are normal activities of life. “Whatever you do” means all we do. If it cannot be done or said to the praise of God, do not do or say it. If it is an attitude that reflects badly upon him, repent, forsake, and replace it. It is opposed to the purpose of our existence.
To embrace glorifying God as our chief purpose is clarifying. It is also challenging. “We have this treasure in clay vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7). We glorify God in broken bodies, broken circumstances, and broken relationships. We glorify God when we praise him for tribulations, smile at our wrinkles, and bless him for a crust of bread. We glorify God when we are trying to get out the door but stop to help a child tie his shoe without belittling him.
To enjoy glorifying God, we must “be renewed in the spirit of our mind” (Eph. 4:23). Our thinking must be changed. We cannot glorify God in our lives unless we love him with our thoughts (Matt. 22:37; 2 Cor. 10:5). For example, we learn to answer kindly when falsely accused or wrongly reproached when our minds are transformed by the light of Christ’s example in suffering (1 Pet. 1:21). We are delivered from a life of escapism and fantasy to a life of glorifying God when we “cast down imaginations…and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5). We live as we do because we think as we do.
We are to glorify Lord in our particular times. Calvin once said, “A dog barks when its Master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” Are we silent or barking? Defending God’s truth or passively maintaining our confession of faith? Glorifying the Lord is to speak up for Christ, confess him before men, and give a reason for the hope he gives. To glorify the Lord requires “contending earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3) against the madness of cultural Marxism and political polytheism, sodomy and totalitarianism. We glorify the Lord when we insist that “no other gods before me” applies everywhere, to everyone, in every government office, classroom, bedroom, and boardroom. To glorify the Lord when the cost of discipleship is high, we must believe that Jesus is the Christ of God, that he died for our sins, rose to give us victory over death, and that to depart and be with him is better than anything here. To glorify the Lord we must joyfully believe that Jesus Christ is worthy of our blood, should he call us to suffer and die for him (Acts 5:41).
Nowhere is the Lord more glorified than in the salvation of sinners. This is the main story he is writing and telling. We want to drop bombs on the world. He saves the world. This is the reason he sent his Son. Why do the angels rejoice when one sinner repents? Mercy magnifies the Lord as nothing else does. He delights in mercy. Become best friends with mercy, and you will glorify the Lord by sharing his gospel. God’s enemies devise lies and murders, but God is working glory. The destiny of the world is to be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory (Hab. 2:14). The Father is glorifying his Son (John 17:1). Let us shout “glory” in his temple and devote ourselves to his praise.