“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
When you do something, who’s getting the glory? When people watch your actions and listen to your words, is their admiration directed towards you or to your Heavenly Father?
“All the glory to God.” I speak, read, and pray these words often. Since God has saved us, what can we do but give Him all the glory we receive? I know it is important to give the glory to God, but I recently discovered–I didn’t know how to obey this command.
So I prayed for wisdom and began on a little journey to find out what “giving the glory to God” entails.
Beginning With Definitions
I began in the concordance and turned to “glorify”. I was surprised to find fifty-eight references listed. When I scanned over the short excerpts, I found that “glorify” was used in several different ways, but in 1 Corinthians 10:31, the Greek word used is doxan, meaning “opinion (always good in N.T.), hence praise, honor glory.” Using this information as a reference, I turned to Merriam-Webster, which defined glorified as a way “to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration.”
God Brings Glory to Himself
When preaching to the worshipers of “The Unknown God” in Athens, the apostle Paul distinguished the One, True God from their many gods. He said, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” ( Acts 17:24-25, emphasis mine).
God receives glory from His creation, but He cannot truly be lifted any higher by us. What could we add to the One who doesn’t need anything? Ultimately, God is the One bringing glory to Himself. He is the One who made us, saved us, and will resurrect us on the last day–all for His glory.Ultimately, God is the One bringing glory to Himself. He is the One who made us, saved us, and will resurrect us on the last day--all for His glory. Click To Tweet
God is Glorified in What He has Done for Us
Before giving glory to God, we must first realize what He has done for us. Romans 3:10-12 says, “As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.'”
We could not and cannot do anything without God. We were enemies of God blinded by our sin, and we had no desire to come to God or seek Him. It was only in His amazing grace that we were saved. I had no faith, no love, no works, and no humility before God reached into my life and saved me.
God Is glorified by our thankfulness
Thankfulness and humility are key to giving glory to God. We must remember that every success is a gift from God. This thankfulness gives us perspective–perspective that in the end, any glory that we receive should not be given to us but to God, the One who gives us every success, every ounce of strength, and every breath of air. Giving the glory to God is giving Him the credit for what He has done.
Most of you have probably been to an event where hours of long speeches are devoted to giving credit to everyone involved in a big project or sports season. You have probably also seen the credits after a movie that never seem to end.
What if, in a crowd of movie fans shouting congratulations, one actor stood up and accepted all the credit for the work of other people? What about all the directors, producers, artists, and other actors? Those other workers are necessary for the movie completion and success. It would be wrong and dishonest for just one person to take all the honor.
Because God is the One who saved us, it would be wrong for us to take the glory for our good works, talents, or situations.
Since God has given us everything we have, we are to glorify Him in everything. The apostle Paul sums it up well in 1 Corinthians 10:31:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
This certainly isn’t’ always easy. Glorifying God in everything might mean stopping that swear-word from coming out of your mouth, or submitting to a rule from your parents that seems ridiculous. But when we obey God and live as Jesus lived, we bring honor to our Heavenly Father. We are representatives of the family of God, and when we live righteously, we bring God glory.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)
God is truly glorified by our remembrance
Sometimes, though, we pretend to give God the glory. For example, when a person says “all glory to God”, they might in reality be trying to bring glory to themselves instead. Those words aren’t really bringing praise to God here–they’re bringing praise to the person who said them, for being “so godly and humble!” If we have the motivation to thoughtlessly say words to improve our reputation, it shows us the prideful nature of our hearts.
When I find myself in this mindset, I think of my need for God and remember that I am nothing without Him. I could not overcome any sin in my life until I asked Him for help. Remembering what He has done causes me to give credit to Him for it all. Giving the glory to God may look different depending on your situation. It might be boldly sharing your testimony or quietly serving your family at home.
Giving glory to God means remembering who you are without Him. Giving the credit to Him will naturally come from that humility. So let’s remember the greatness of our God, and glorify Him in every single thing that we do.
“To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
and because he is strong in power,
not one is missing.”