the weblog of Alan Knox

But, what glorifies God?

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in discipleship | 14 comments

But, what glorifies God?

Bringing glory to God… All followers of Jesus Christ want to bring glory to God. It’s a no-brainer.

But, what brings glory to God?

That’s not always a no-brainer… because it’s not the same in all situations.

Dave Black wrote about this in his blog yesterday (Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 8:20 a.m.):

This morning, for example, I was really trying to wrap my head around the Christian’s purpose in life. We often say, “Why, it’s to glorify God, of course!” I have no problem with those words. But are we willing to pray, “Lord, glorify Yourself through me”? The reason I say this is because God sometimes has some strange ways of bringing glory to Himself. Lazarus’s sickness was for the glory of God (John 11:4). Peter’s death was to be a means by which he would glorify God (John 21:19). Much discussion, I believe, has confused rather than clarified this matter of glorifying God. It is possible to glorify God more by death than by life, in sickness than in health, during those twisted, terrifying periods of life when everything seems dark, even in those drab and normal days when nothing is “happening.” It is easily possible to so idealize “glorifying God” that we come dangerously close to denuding the expression of any meaning. Look at your life. By the world’s standards, it may or not be successful, but that’s really irrelevant. Satan is a great imitator, and he has a false gospel, a false discipleship, and a false sanctification. Especially vulnerable are those who get caught up in following some famous Bible teacher’s pet theories and religious vagaries, never settling and abiding in the Truth themselves. It is of first importance that the Christian learn to glorify God no matter what happens to him or her, whatever it takes, whatever it means, even if it means being dropped to the bottom of the ladder, even if it means stooping to drudgery or bending low in unappreciated service to others.

Think about it just a minute…

James was killed in prison, but Peter was released from Prison… Which one glorified God?

Stephen was stoned to death by the crowd in Jerusalem, but Paul was rescued from the crowd by the Romans… Which one glorified God?

Barnabas traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch and beyond, but Philip stopped traveling when he got to Caesarea… Which one glorified God?

Eutychus was raised from the dead, but Stephen was not… Which one glorified God?

I could go on and on using various examples in Scripture. Which examples glorified God? We cannot determine the answer to that question by looking at the outcome.

Whether someone died or not does not necessarily bring glory to God. Whether someone gave money or not does not necessarily give God glory. Whether or not someone speaks does not necessarily glorify God. Whether or not someone travels around the world does not necessarily glorify God.

So, what brings glory to God?


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  1. 4-12-2013

    “I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.” Ecclesiastes 7:15-18
    This came to me as I contemplated a life of glorifying God. What if everything works to His good pleasure somehow and He wants us to live a quiet humble life of desperately seeking Him?

  2. 4-12-2013

    Our very existence glorifies God. I’m not so sure that ‘we’ even can glorify Him. I’ll be satisfied to hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant!” To hear that, I only have to know Him, hear Him and obey Him. I suspect that will be sufficient….

  3. 4-12-2013

    What epistle comes immediately to mind as I contemplate God’s glory? Ephesians!

    1:5 – adopted, to the praise of His glory
    1:12 – predestined according to His plan, to the praise of His glory
    1:14 – sealed with the Holy Spirit, to the praise of His glory
    1:18 – called to His hope, according to the riches of His glory

    Initiated by God through His Son!

    To do what? To be lived out in us!

    4:1 – to live a life worthy of that calling
    4:17 – no longer as the Gentiles do, with dark minds and hard hearts
    4:22, 23 – to put off the old self, put on the new, created to be like God in righteousness and holiness
    4:25, 5:30 – for we are all members of His body
    5:8-10 – as light in the Lord, find out what pleases Him
    5:16 – making the most out of every opportunity
    5:17 – understand His will
    5:18 – be filled with the Spirit
    5:20 – giving thanks for everything

    And finally,

    6:1 – be strong in the Lord
    6:14 – stand firm
    6:18 – pray for all the saints

    I’m sure many other things could be added to this list out of this very short letter of Paul’s! Whether we live, or whether we die, it will all be to His glory!


  4. 4-12-2013

    Glenn, I was thinking about your last comment in your post when I wrote my comments. If/ when we are saved by His glorious grace, He already has found us! We no longer have to “desperately seek Him!” That’s the main difference between Christianity and ALL the other religions of the world…God has reached down to man. All other religions are man’s attempt to reach up to God. But He devised a marvellous plan to save us from our sin and place us in the heavenlies, seated with Christ! (Eph. 2:6)

    The rest of the letter, as I pointed out, tells us what we are to do, how we are to live out the life He has given us, to the praise of His glory! The mind of man could never have devised such a plan!


  5. 4-12-2013

    Years ago I heard a simple definition of what it means to glorify God that has helped me immensely. It was to live your life giving a correct opinion of God.

  6. 4-12-2013

    I see the essence of glorifying God to be something that reveals who and what He is so that we come away knowing Him better. It is not something we do for God, but something He does in, through, and to us.

  7. 4-12-2013

    I wrote this in a comment not too long ago but I will repeat. Loved what Sally Lloyd Jones says (Jesus Storybook Bible & Thoughts to make your heart sing author)… glorify means “to make a big deal of”….

    whenever we make a big deal of the Lord it is glorifying Him. In Words, service, daily thoughts, daily life, praise, thanksgiving, the Bible would tell us ANYTHING we do can be for Him and can bring glory to Him because we are focusing on Him and wanting to make a big deal of Him. That can only be judged by the heart so only God knows when people are really offering something to Him or for self. but what’s beautiful is that God can use all things for His glory so even if we weren’t trying to, He will eventually get the glory!!

    And, because He is our Father, He will cherish and hang up ANYTHING we offer on His fridge not because they are perfect or beautiful… but because they are from us and we are His and He adores & loves us so much. <3

  8. 4-12-2013

    The word “glory” is one of those words that is often used and interpreted way beyond the literal meaning of the original Greek in the scriptures. As I understand it, it means basically “shining”. So I see glorifying God as drawing attention to Him, His true nature, and His work in us; rather than to ourselves and our accomplishments. That would be the ultimate expression of humility.

    Let your light shine to all men… that does not refer to bragging about our abilities, but we are the lamp and He is the light.

  9. 4-13-2013

    I was inspired and encouraged by both of your posts. The expression of desperately seeking God was meant to allude to Hebrews “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
    And to Thessalonians “and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 1 Thessalonians 4:11
    Your encouragement of our position in Christ is well stated and I would shout AMEN! To you if you stood up to proclaim that in the assembly.
    Thanks for your response and I look forward to an eternity of dialogue and glory to God.

  10. 4-14-2013

    Glenn, thanks for your encouragement! I’m glad it is through our faith we are encouraged to seek Him, and that He is never far from us!

    You know, it’s funny how a theme begins early in the week, and then continues on for a time, giving blessing upon blessing…it can only happen because of God’s large heart. I’ve been looking at 1 Cor. 10-14, and this verse caught my attention:
    1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

    All that follows in the next few chapters revolve around His glory in the churches. Then today, this verse:

    2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

    What amazing love, mercy and grace, that God would even think of displaying His glory, not only to us, but through us, for all the heavenly host to gaze upon:

    Ephesians 3:8-10: “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”


  11. 4-15-2013

    You know, if I knew you all would continue commenting, I would stop writing posts. I get so much more from the comments than I do thinking through the posts themselves. Thank you!


  12. 4-15-2013

    Anything that brings attention to the greatness of God glorifies him. That is why the death of one saint can glorify him and why the salvation from death of another can also glorify him. When Alan says “Which examples glorified God? We cannot determine the answer to that question by looking at the outcome.” he is right. As far as the outcome of the saint- death or life, traveling far or staying near, death in prison or release from prison, etc… one cannot determine if God was glorified or not.

    We can however, determine what things glorify God by looking outcome of a circumstance upon the community. In Acts 3 when Peter and John healed the lame man, God was glorified. “All the people saw him … and were filled with wonder and amazement” (3:9-10). Two chapters later a couple of saints, Ananias and Sapphira, fell dead for lying to the Spirit. In verse 11 it says that “great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.” This is the good and godly kind of fear, the kind that glorifies God.

    Just as Alan pointed out the outcomes to these saints themselves were very different (healing vs. death) and one cannot determine by the outcome to the individual if it did indeed glorify God. However, in both circumstances the community focused on God as a result of what had happened. Herein is the answer to the question “What glorifies God?” The answer- Anything that brings attention to the greatness of God. So do your actions, inaction and mine draw attention to the greatness of God or do they draw attention away from him?

  13. 4-15-2013

    Thanks to you all and glory to God! Looking forward to our fellowship in eternity and the ability to glorify God and proclaim His greatness unconditionally.
    Thanks for joining in David.

  14. 4-18-2013

    Just repeating this from David:

    Herein is the answer to the question “What glorifies God?” The answer- Anything that brings attention to the greatness of God. So do your actions, inaction and mine draw attention to the greatness of God or do they draw attention away from him?

    Yes… that’s good stuff.