What Does it Mean To Glorify God? By Dr. Ray Pritchard

“Glorify God: Enhancing God’s Reputation In The World”

 “Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together.” – Ps. 34:3

What precisely does it mean to glorify God? The particular word translated “glorify” in this verse is sometimes translated by words such as “magnify,” “exalt,” “pile high,” and “make grow.” It has within it the concept of increasing the size of something. In this context it means to recognize who God really is and how to honor Him for what He has done. You glorify someone when you recognize his true identity and the true worth of his accomplishments.

When our boys were young, we took them on a short vacation to visit relatives in Lexington, Kentucky. During an afternoon trip to a miniature golf course, we noticed an older gentlemen with his grandchildren on another part of the course. “Do you know who that is?” someone asked. We didn’t. “He was the governor of Kentucky.” “You’re just making that up.” But it was true. The older gentlemen turned out to be the distinguished former governor of Kentucky. Our opinion changed instantly from disinterest to great respect.

The most common Old Testament word for glory means to treat something as “heavy” or “weighty” in nature. The word was used in Genesis 31 for animals heavy-laden with gold. The word also refers to the shining light of God’s presence. That glory was the cloud by day and the fiery pillar by night that led the people of God through the wilderness. Later it was the light that filled the tabernacle and the temple. Exodus 24:17 tells us that God’s glory was like a consuming fire on the top of Mount Sinai. Thomas Watson, the great Puritan preacher, called glory “the sparkling of Deity.”

When we pass into the New Testament we meet a Greek word, doxa, from which we get the English word doxology. This word has the idea of honor, dignity, and reputation. The last word—reputation—brings us very close to the meaning of “glory” in Psalm 34:3. I remember hearing Dr. Charles Ryrie explain that God’s glory is His reputation in the world. To live for God’s glory means to live so that God’s reputation is enhanced, not diminished.

That leads me to an important thought. In one sense you cannot diminish God’s glory. It exists forever because God is eternal. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, you cannot diminish God’s glory any more than a madman can diminish the sun merely by scribbling “darkness” on the walls of his cell. However, you can cause others to see the glory of God or to dismiss it entirely by the personal choices you make every day.

God’s purpose for you and me is that we would glorify Him by recognizing in our daily lives who He is and what great things He has done for us. As we do that, His reputation is enhanced in the world.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray to be the kind of person who makes it easy for others to believe in you. Amen.

A Moment’s Reflection:

Why did God leave His earthly reputation in the hands of His children?

What difference does that make for you?

Name three practical ways you can glorify God this week?

About the Author: Ray Pritchard (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Min., Talbot School of Theology) is the founder and President of Keep Believing Ministries (http://www.keepbelieving.com/blog/). He was for many years the Senior Pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois. He has been a professor and guest lecturer at many schools and is a frequent guest on nationally broadcast radio programs. He has ministered extensively overseas, preaching in India, Nepal, Paraguay, Colombia, Haiti, Nigeria, Switzerland, Russia, and Belize. He has written more than twenty books. He has written close to 30 books on the Christian Life. The article above was excerpted from his excellent devotional on the Psalms entitled Green Pastures, Quiet Waters: Refreshing Moments from the Psalms. Chicago, Moody Press, 1999, 30-32.

Jonathan Edwards “Resolved” by Dr. Steven Lawson

For the last seven years, I have spoken at a conference on the West Coast called “Resolved.” The name is drawn from the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards and is aimed at college students and “twenty-somethings” in the next generation. As an eighteen and nineteen year old, young Edwards wrote seventy resolutions, which became his personal mission statement to guide his life. To launch the first conference, I spoke from Edward’s first resolution, what Edwards determined would be the single most important pursuit in his life — the glory of God.

Edwards began his Resolutions with what he desired to be the driving force of his life — an all-absorbing passion to pursue the glory of God. “Resolved: that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory and to my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved: to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved: to do this whatever difficulties I meet with, how ever so many and how ever so great.”

With this before his eyes weekly, this first resolution set the tone for his entire life. In every arena, he resolved to honor God supremely. Everything else in his life would be subsidiary to this one driving pursuit.

What is the glory of God? The Bible speaks of it in two ways. First, there is His intrinsic glory, the revelation of all that God is. It is the sum total of all His divine perfections and holy attributes. There is nothing that man can do to add to His intrinsic glory. Second, there is God’s ascribed glory, which is the praise and honor due His name. This is the glory that man must give to God.

For Edwards, to be resolved to live for God’s glory means to exalt His most glorious name. It means to live consistently with His holy character. It means to proclaim and promote His supreme greatness. This is the highest purpose for which God created us.

Why did Edwards place this resolution first? He understood that Scripture places the glory of God first in all things. Edwards was gripped with a transcendent, high view of God. As a result, in writing his “resolutions,” he knew he must live wholeheartedly for this awesome, sovereign God.

Thus, Edwards intentionally chose to “do whatsoever I think is most to God’s glory.” Here is the interpretive principle for everything in life. You want to know what God’s will is? You want to know whom to marry? You want to know what job to take? You want to know what ministry to pursue? You want to know how to invest your resources? You want to know how to spend your time?

There it is! Everything in life fits under this master theme. Anything out of alignment with this principle pursuit is in dangerous territory. Sometimes our decisions are not between right and wrong. Sometimes they are between good, better, and best. These are sometimes the hardest decisions. Edwards said that he would not live for what is merely good. Nor for what is better. He purposed to live only for what is best. Whatever is most to the glory of God — that is what is best!

Edwards believed that God’s glory was inseparably connected with his “own good, profit, and pleasure.” Whenever he sought God’s glory, he was confident that it would inevitably yield God’s greatest good for his life. The glory of God produced his greatest “pleasure.” So it is with us. Would you know unspeakable joy? Abundant peace? True contentment? Then pursue God’s glory.

With unwavering determination, young Edwards chose this first resolution to mark “the whole of my duration.” As long as he was alive, this was to be the driving thrust of his life. He must always live for God’s glory. He would never outgrow this central theme. He must never exchange it for a lesser glory.

Also, Edwards’ believed that his commitment to God’s glory would bring the greatest “good of mankind.” By seeking God’s honor, the greatest advantage would accrue to others. Thus, living for the glory of God would lead to the greatest influence of the Gospel upon the world. Souls would be converted. Saints would be edified. Needs would be met.

Would you have maximum impact upon this world? Would you lead others to Christ? Would you live for eternity? There it is! Live for God’s glory.

No matter what, Edwards resolved to live for God’s glory despite “whatever difficulties I meet with, how ever so many and ever so great.” Regardless the cost, despite the pain, he would pursue God’s honor. Even if it meant persecution or poverty, his mind was made up, his will resolved. He would pay any price to uphold the glory of God, regardless of the hardship that awaited him.

This is my challenge to the next generation: Would you seek the highest goal? Would you know the deepest joy? Would you realize the greatest good? Would you cast the widest influence? Would you overcome the greatest difficulties?

Then make this first resolution of Jonathan Edwards your chief aim. Be resolved to live for God’s glory.

*Article originally appeared in Tabletalk Magazine, August 1, 2008. Dr. Steven J. Lawson is the senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. Dr. Lawson serves on the board of directors of The Master’s College and on the ministerial board for Reformed Theological Seminary, and teaches with Dr. John MacArthur at the Expositor’s Institute. In addition, Dr. Lawson has written numerous books, including Foundations of Grace and Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching, The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards, and his recent offering The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon.

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