Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I doing everything for God’s glory?”
What brings God glory? How is He glorified? The answer to this question will help you to be who you are called to be and to do what you are called to do without strain and stress.
If you ask a group of Christians how God is glorified they usually respond saying, “God is glorified by us doing things like: singing worship songs, witnessing to the lost, giving money to those in need, being thankful, esteeming others over ourselves, prayer, giving God credit for whatever great things happen in our life…”
Or they say, “God is glorified when we don’t do things like murmuring or complaining, cheating, lying, sleeping around, getting angry, having lustful thoughts or envying.”
We can summarize these answers in two categories. How is God glorified? We either say:
1) By doing good things or
2) By not doing bad things.
To define “giving God glory” in this way, however, cannot be true because all these things point to us and what we do, instead of Christ and what He has done.To say “God is glorified by what I do or don’t do” stems indeed from a religious mindset!
And as you know any religious thinking will keep you under the death-dealing system of the law which makes you feel you are never doing enough; you are never giving God enough glory.
If you think your level of obedience is the determining factor of God being glorified or not then you’re bound to struggle since you’ll be asking yourself these type of questions:
- Am I doing everything for God’s glory?
- Am I living this life purely out of a motivation to serve Him with none of myself in the equation?
And the more you think about these questions the more you’ll realize that the answer is a painful “No!”
Let me tell you a probably shocking, but liberating truth: God is not expecting you to glorify Him nor for you to live for His glory! Let me explain.
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God Glorifying God
Some years ago, I often asked God to use me and to glorify Himself in my life. I prayed that He would increase His renown through my ministry – through what I did.
My desire was pure – I really wanted to do everything for His Name and glory. But I was walking in the false belief of thinking that my own achievement would bring Him glory. Consequently I would say things like:
- “God use my teaching today”
- “Bless my work that I do for You”
- “Father, I give You this time (teaching, worshipping, serving, etc.); be glorified in our midst today”
Can you relate?
Of course, it’s God’s plan that we be used for His glory, but I mistakenly thought that this “giving-God-all-the-glory” business would happen as the result of my effort.
I mistook my spiritual service as a gift to Him, instead of realizing that my service was His gift to me.
Thus I thought I was to give God my life so that my time, resources, and skill would be for His glory.
I was wrong.
As God gave me more revelation on the New Covenant of grace I started to see I was sincere, but sincerely wrong.
I started to read Eph. 1:4-6 in a different light,
In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace…
Here’s the truth contained in this verse: God will never be glorified by your behavior for Him, only by His grace to you!
So God can only be glorified by His grace to you, not by your behavior for Him.
Ready for more Good News?
Grace is not the means for you to glorify God! Rather, grace is the means to be a recipient of God glorifying you and consequently you reflecting His glory in response to His grace.
Let’s put it this way, only God can glorify God.
This means that you are not called to glorify God nor “give Him all the glory.”
God’s glorification in our lives is His alone to bring about, and His renown is accomplished by our proclamation of what He’s done not what we do for Him.
In other words, God’s grace is not the means for us to glorify Him; God’s grace is His glory fully realized within us.
So His grace doesn’t empower you to live a life that brings God glory as much as His grace is all that is necessary for His glory. Our lives reveal the glory of God as we, by faith, choose to live as recipients of the grace that’s already ours in Christ.
It’s crucial to know that God hasn’t given His grace for you to “live for His glory.” He’s given His grace as a demonstration of who He is – which is His glory.
What’s the implication of this simple truth for your life? You stop trying to live for God’s glory and you stop trying to give God glory for grace does not empower you to live a life that brings Him glory.
Friend, God is not looking for you to give Him all the glory.
“Yes, but my pastor, youth leader and friends say all the time, “let’s give God all the glory.”
Listen, because someone you respect or like says something over and over that doesn’t mean what they say is true!
Like me, I was sincere in many of my beliefs, but I was sincerely wrong in many of them too.
And I’m still renewing my mind, but one thing I’ve discovered and that is this: God will never be glorified by your behavior for Him for He’s only glorified by His grace to you.
Eph. 1:6 doesn’t say that you are a son of God to the praise of the glory of your self-effort. No. It says, “You are made a son of God to the praise of the glory of His grace!”
How Is God Glorified?
Back to our main question, how is God glorified?
By grace alone!
And not by your huffing and puffing, nor by your straining and stressing.
To understand this you need to come to see that you can’t divide grace and glory from each other. His Grace and Glory are one and the same reality. They’re just two sides of the same coin. Christ both is Grace and He is Glory. Therefore, His grace glorifies and He glorifies grace.
In other words, God’s grace gives glory to Himself and He glorifies grace Himself.
Can you see that there’s no part for you to play in this “glorifying God” business.
God is glorified by His grace to you, not by your performance for Him. So you can leave the days behind in which you parrot religious baloney by saying things like:
- “Come, let’s worship and glorify God with me”
- “Use me God; use me for Your glory”
- “Whatever I do it’s all for the glory of God”
- “God be glorified in our midst”
The idea behind this way of thinking reveals an ugly lie, namely, that God can be glorified or not be glorified by things you do or don’t do. That’s simply not true because the way God is glorified does not depend on your level of holiness or lack thereof.
I know this will hurt your pride, but you have no part to play in glorifying God!
How do you glorify God? What does it mean to glorify God. Let’s get to it…
“To glorify God” means to be saved.
Are you saved? Then you’re glorifying God without strain or stress. Jesus has done all the work for you. Hallelujah!
How is God glorified? God is glorified by you doing nothing, but being in Christ. How much must you do to be in Christ? Answer: Nothing. You were saved single-handedly by God.
He took the initiative to come down.
Jesus Christ died for you as you.
He was buried for you as you.
He rose for you as you.
He is now seated at the right hand of the Father for you as you.
He is glorifying God for you as you.
Therefore, you are effortlessly glorifying God!
My friend, you are put IN Christ not by your works, but as a free gift so that you cannot boast about your salvation nor about your abilities to glorify God in any way, shape or form.
In John 17:10 Jesus says to the Father,
And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.
Notice Jesus says, “I am glorified IN them,” and not “I am glorified “by them” or “by their praise and worship” or “by their fervent prayers and zealous works.”
God isn’t expecting you to give Him glory for He can only be glorified by His grace to you.
What I Am Not Saying
Some people will take what I say the wrong way so let me also say what I am not saying.
I am not saying we do not aim to honor God with our thought life, attitude and actions. We do!
Even though we can’t give God any glory by our own merits we do want to be a good witness to the world and reflect the character of God, thus make choices that honor Him.
I can hear someone say, “But what about those verses like in Revelation where it is says to give God all the glory and honor. Do we give Him glory and honor?” Yes, we do. But not from the standpoint that we give Him what we first have not received.
We don’t give God glory and honor by our blood, sweat and tears (raising hands, singing, kneeling, laying down crowns, crying etc.). Rather we can only “give to God” what we first have received of Him. We give Him glory and honor by recognizing Jesus blood, sweat and tears – thus by you responding to what God already has accomplished on your behalf.
If you realize what He’s done for you and who you are you cannot help yourself but respond with a shout and praise, “to God be all the glory, honor and praise.” THAT is to glorify God in the active sense of the word.
And that is how we should read verses like 1 Cor. 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
God Is Already Most Glorified In You!
Lastly this. Probably you’ve heard the famous phrase coined by John Piper, “God is most glorified when you are most satisfied in Him.”
If it’s true that God is most glorified when I’m most satisfied in Him then that begs the question, “How do I know I am most satisfied in Him? When is the point that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am most satisfied so that God is most glorified in my life?”
Oops…can you already begin to see that this popular phrase might actually be a misleading idea?!
To be straightforward, this is a lie because it leads us to believe that to glorify God is based on a subjective, emotional-based experience rather then being based on an objective absolute truth.
This whole phrase “God is most glorified when I am most satisfied in Him” is plain religion for it’s a conditional statement: “If I do this…then this will take place.”
“If I am most satisfied in God…then He’s most glorified.”
“If’s” is the bread and butter of religion.
“If’s” suck the life out of you.
Be aware because “If’s” kill!
“If you are most satisfied in God then….” No!
The truth is that “If you are in Christ, then God is most glorified.” Are you in Christ? Answer: Yes! It follows that God is most glorified by you being found in Christ.
Again, to glorify God means to be saved…to be in Christ.
Now you are IN Christ…And since God is most glorified in Christ…it follows that HE IS ALREADY MOST GLORIFIED IN YOU.
So the idea that God is most glorified when you are most satisfied in Him is a lie.
Like every lie, this one also makes you feel inadequate, condemned and never measuring up because:
1) You don’t know how satisfied is “to be most satisfied”…I mean, when is point that can you are satisfied enough so that you are 100% certain God is most glorified in your life?
2) There might be moments where you don’t feel satisfied in God thus that means you fall short in glorifying Him.
Talking about frustration and never feeling you are giving God enough glory!
What’s the better alternative then this human-based, will-power driven slogan? Instead of saying “God is most glorified when you are most satisfied in Him” just say “God IS glorified in Christ…I am in Christ…thus God is glorified in me regardless of what I do or don’t do!”
Now we’re talking about UNCONDITIONAL love, thus proclaming the true Gospel of grace 🙂
To Sum Up
How is God glorified? Not by your works, but by grace alone.
God will never be glorified by your behaviour for Him for He’s only glorified by His grace to you. That means God is not looking for you to give Him all the glory for He has given you all of His glory.
God is only glorified by His grace to you, not your behavior towards Him. You can cease to live for God’s glory and stop trying to give God glory for grace does not empower you to live a life that brings Him glory.
God’s grace is not the means for us to glorify Him; God’s grace is His glory fully realized within us.
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Color outside the lines,