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In 2005, 17 years ago, the phrase “Live Your Best Life” became popularized by Oprah Winfrey, Huffington Post, and Instagram. At first glance, this phrase seems like harmless, positive reinforcement. What harm is there in setting the goal of living your best life – living to your fullest potential?
But the more I heard people expand on what they meant by living their best life, the more I realized that this mantra has become a god for many people, with self-important goals and elevation of ‘the good life’ above all else.
The Bible calls the Christian to the ultimate goal of glorifying God with our entire being, in all that we say and do.
If living your best life is giving God all the glory, then you are on the right track. But if living your best life is all about finding inner peace, achieving optimal health & fitness, realizing success, or accumulating wealth, you are missing the mark.
But what does glorifying God even mean?
This post is all about what glorifying God means and the ways we can glorify God.
We are all familiar with award ceremonies when a singer, actor, or athlete receive a significant award: best actor, best singer/songwriter, or most valuable player. The person being awarded steps up to the microphone and proceeds to thank all the people who helped them along the way. Sometimes they will thank God, giving him all the honor in their achievement.
But if you really think about it, doesn’t God always deserve all the credit? We exist because of God, all of our talents and abilities come from him, and the path that led us to achieve anything was directed by God, whether we thought we were following him or not.
The Christian, or atheist, achieve what they do because God causes it and allows it. Human pride likes to take the credit for intelligence, hard work, and abilities – but all of that came from God in the first place.
God created everything and is sovereign over all.
1. We glorify God when we give God the glory for our achievements.
1 Corinthians 15:10 says,
‘But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me – and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.’NLT
What motivates our thoughts, words, actions, and choices? The Bible tells us to do all things for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
I met a family with young children several years ago who moved into government housing for new immigrants – not because they had to – but because they wanted to bring God glory! This area was known for a lot of gang violence, crime, and drugs. This may sound extreme, but they truly understood what 1 Corinthians 10:31 was talking about. They were not what we would call ‘Sunday Christians’, but instead they dedicated every aspect of their life for God’s glory!
2. We glorify God when our primary aim is to give God all the glory.
Psalms 115:1 says,
‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.’NLT
When we humble ourselves in this way, living our lives to glorify God, God promises to lift us up in honor as well.
1 Peter 5:6 says,
‘So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.’NLT
And Romans 8:17 says,
‘And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.’NLT
Pride prevents us from admitting when we are wrong. Even as Christians, we might not be willing to examine our hearts for hidden sin and confess them to God. But we know that all have sinned, and the Bible gives us the promise that if we confess our sin, God is faithful and will forgive our sins. Admitting that we need God’s grace and forgiveness gives God the glory – he alone can save us.
3. We glorify God when we confess our sin and admit our need for a Savior.
Joshua 7:19 says,
‘My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, by telling the truth. Make your confession and tell me what you have done. Don’t hide it from me.’NLT
God wants us to trust him and put our faith in him. Only God is worthy of our complete trust because he alone is perfect in character – faithful, holy, good, and powerful to name a few of his qualities. When we sincerely have faith in God, when we live confidently in Christ and in his promises, we give God glory.
4. We glorify God when we put our faith in him.
Romans 4:20 says,
‘Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.’NLT
How do you feel when something is not glorifying to God? And not even simply not glorifying God, but outright insulting him? When someone insults the name of Jesus, do you speak up? When the Bible and Jesus are being slandered, do you stand up for the truth? Or are you so use to hearing bad jokes and language that it just doesn’t bother you anymore?
5. We glorify God when we are sensitive to what does and does not glorify him.
We are to be a light in this world and point people to Jesus. Did you know that standing up for truth and making sure that God is given the glory, not insults, is part of our calling as Christians? Read what David says in Psalms 69:9,
‘Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’NLT
While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. We are saved by God’s grace and forgiven, even while still unrighteous. But God has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us to transform us to become more like Christ. God wants us to allow the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out and become more and more holy. As we grow spiritually, we will grow spiritual fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as evidence of God’s power at work within us.
6. We glorify God when we develop fruits of the spirit.
Read what Jesus said about producing spiritual fruit in John 15:8,
‘When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.’NLT
The Bible tells us that God has a good and perfect plan for us. Even when we go through trials and problems, God may be using them to grow us and help us develop spiritual fruit. For example, the best way to learn patience, is by going through situations which require a lot of patience!
But ultimately, God wants and knows what is best for us, and he is most concerned with seeing that plan come to fruition.
We might not like the life God has given us. Things may not have turned out the way we had hoped. It can be easy to complain and be discontent when we aren’t trusting in God’s plan to make all things work out for good.
7. We glorify God when we are content where he places us.
David demonstrated a right heart when it comes to being grateful. In Psalms 16:5 he wrote,
‘Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.’NLT
We sing praise and worship songs at church, but how often do you take the time to truly praise God? Many people love how worship songs make them feel, but they forget that it’s about giving thanks and glory to God.
God deserves all the praise and honor. Jesus said that if people kept quiet, the stones would cry out instead (Luke 19:40).
8. We glorify God when we praise him.
Psalms 50:23 says,
‘But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.’NLT
Jesus commissioned his followers to go out and share the gospel and make disciples – to be fishers of men. God so loved the world, that he sent a Savior for everyone who might believe. He doesn’t want anyone to perish so he sends us out to spread the good news.
9. We glorify God by sharing the gospel.
Jesus spoke of giving the Father glory by completing the work he came to earth to do. We also have a job to do and accomplishing it will give God glory. John 17:4 says,
‘I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.’NLT
Though we can’t earn our salvation – we can only obtain it through faith – God commands us to do good works. Our faith is made evident by our good deeds. God wants us to help others in need, fight against injustice, and serve people in our community. Romans 15:3 tells is that Jesus didn’t come to live for himself, and we are called to follow his example.
10. We glorify God when we do good works.
Matthew 5:16 says,
‘In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.’NLT
Glorifying God is our primary purpose and glorifying God in these ways is how we can truly live our best life.
Are you struggling to give glory to God in one or more of these areas? Confess them to God, allow the Holy Spirit to transform you by reading the Bible, and start giving God all the glory!
Thinking. Loving. Doing. A Call to Glorify God with Heart and Mind. Contributions by John Piper, Rick Warren, Francis Chan & More. – A Call to holistic Christianity. A challenge to be thinkers, engaged and serious about knowing God. A compelling invitation to experience the fullness of the Christian life.