To glorify someone means to bestow honor, praise or admiration on them. People tend to glorify other people. Athletes are glorified for their physical talents and championships. Political leaders are glorified for their leadership. Unfortunately, we are often disappointed by these all too human objects of glory. We discover that the glorified athlete cheated and the glorified politician lied. The problem is that we have exchanged the glory of the incorruptible and immortal God for the glory of corruptible and mortal man (Romans 1:22–23). Instead of glorifying God, the fountain of living waters, we glorify the broken cisterns of man (Jeremiah 2:13). Only God is worthy of all glory.
How can I glorify God? What does it mean to glorify God?
Whereas man is sinful, God is holy (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 6:3). Whereas man is limited in power, God is eternal and omnipotent (Psalm 8:4; 1 Peter 1:24; Deuteronomy 33:27; Job 37:14–24). Whereas man will lie and let us down, God is always trustworthy and faithful to His promises (Romans 3:13; 2 Timothy 2:13). The reasons to glorify God are as infinite as God Himself.
However, we must not imagine that God needs to be glorified by us. His glory belongs to Him and we cannot add anything to it (Isaiah 48:11; Acts 17:25). It is for our good that He commands us to glorify Him, for it is only by living to glorify Him that we can be truly holy and happy (1 Timothy 6:6; Philippians 4:12–13).
God's glory is most clearly expressed to us in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. Hebrews 1:3–4 says, "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs."
Not only is Jesus Christ the radiance of God's glory, but He is also our perfect example for how we can glorify God. So, how did Christ glorify God? Although this list is just a start and nowhere near exhaustive, I will point out three important ways in which Jesus glorified God.
1) Jesus believed and trusted in God the Father (Matthew 27:43a).
2) Jesus submitted His will to the will of the Father and obeyed Him in all things (John 5:30; Luke 22:42).
3) Jesus declared the arrival of the kingdom of God and worked towards its advancement (Mark 1:14–15; Matthew 6:33).
However, Jesus Christ is much more than an example for us to follow. In fact, the most important and fundamental way in which we glorify God is by believing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Without believing in Jesus, we cannot know or glorify God (John 4:34; John 14:6). If we do not know God, we cannot glorify Him. However, by believing in Jesus Christ we can know and glorify God.
Finally, if we are to truly glorify God, we must study and obey everything Christ has commanded us to do. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 28:19–20 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
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