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Sunday, November 6, 2016

What does it mean to glorify God and how do we do it?

Kathy and I have been listening to an audio version of Joni Earechson Tada’s book,"A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty,” in which she, herself is the reader. It has become one of my “must have” books and I highly recommend it, especially for those that are going through difficulty and hardship.  I lift a quote from Joni's book that has really cause me to stop and think:

"And what does it even mean to “give God glory,” anyway? In the Old Testament the principle word for glory seems to indicate “weight” or “heaviness.” Its primary uses convey the idea of some external, physical manifestation of dignity, preeminence, or majesty. The principle New Testament word makes reference to “brightness, brilliance, and splendor.”  There are plenty of textbook definitions out there, and I could give you one of those, but you could look it up just as easily yourself. Just for a moment, allow me to combine the Old and New Testament concepts of glory to make a simple observation. When we glorify the name of our God, He gives us the opportunity of adding weight or significance—including adulation, respect, and honor—to His reputation. He allows us the unspeakable privilege of showcasing the brightness and splendor of His great name in our dark world."

What does it mean to glorify God?  When we glorify the name of our God, He gives us the opportunity of adding weight or significance—including adulation, respect, and honor—to His reputation. He allows us the unspeakable privilege of showcasing the brightness and splendor of His great name in our dark world."

How could I possibly add significance and honor to God’s reputation? How could I showcase the splendor of His great name in the world?

First, let’s look at some biblical examples. The following is not an exhaustive listing, but will help us as we attempt to answer the question of how we might glorify God, and how God is glorified:

By our praise and thanksgiving: 
Psalm 69:30 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 86:12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.

Recognition of God’s power and sovereignty 
1 Samuel 6:5 Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land.

God’s deliverance over enemies
1 Chronicles 16:35 Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”
Psalm 106:47 Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Isaiah 24:15 Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea.

Fulfillment of Prophecy
Isaiah 35:2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.

Repentance and acknowledgment that God’s ways are right 
Jeremiah 13:16 Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom.

Telling the truth and so reflecting God’s nature and character:
Joshua 7:19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
John 9:24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

Bearing fruit as a result of our obedience and discipleship:
John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Miracles and healings
John 11:4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Christ’s obedience to go to the cross
John 13:31  When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.
John 13:32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.

Recognition of Christ as Divine
2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

By recognizing what God has done:
Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

By our obedience to what He ha called us to do:
John 21:19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Living in unity with other believers:
Romans 15:6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For His mercy in offering salvation to all that would come to Him:
Romans 15:9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”

When we go through suffering
1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

When those that do not know Christ recognize what God is doing in your life:
1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

If there is an overall pattern in these passages, it seems to be
[1] a recognition of God’s rightful authority and power,
[2] a recognition of God’s work and moving among us, and
[3] our responding in gratitude, obedience, and in ways that reflect His nature and character.

So if we are to truly “give glory to God” then we must recognize that God is all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present; that from His infinite love, mercy, and grace Christ became one like us, lived a perfect life and died as a sacrifice so that we might have a restored relationship with our Creator. We must realize that God has not abandoned us, that He is actively working in the world today, that His Holy Spirit is in us, drawing us to Himself, longing to remold our lives to reflect His nature and character and our thoughts and minds toward His own. We must respond in obedience to all that God has commanded us with grateful hearts for all that He has done, is doing, and will do, even in difficult times.

As we pray that “God would be glorified” in a worship service, or in an activity, then there must be that recognition of God’s supreme authority, His working, and a complete surrender to all that He desires. It is much more than a “catch phrase” that we use in prayer that sounds great, but means little. I pray that as we pray that God would be glorified, that He truly would be and that we aren’t living and working in ways that are a contradiction to all that it means.

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