Job had been talking as if he knew exactly how God should run the world. His sense of integrity had been the basis of his presumptuous claim that God should have treated him better. Outraged that he could not square his innocence with his fate, Job had dared to challenge and judge his Creator…(therefore) Yahweh’s answer came in the form of a rebuke – an overwhelming reminder that the first religious obligation of the creature is to acknowledge and glorify the Creator.
We all know people, even unbelievers, who seem to be natural servants. They are always serving others one way or another. But God does not get the glory; they do. It is their reputation that is enhanced. But when we, natural servants or not, serve in dependence upon the grace of God with the strength He supplies, God is glorified.
Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.
Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God.
Nourish right conceptions of the majesty of God in your minds. Let us consider that we are drawing to God, the most amiable object, the best of beings, worthy of infinite honor, and highly meriting the highest affections we can give; a God that made the world by a word, that upholds the great frame of heaven and earth; a Majesty above the conceptions of angels; who uses not His power to strike us our deserved punishment, but His love and bounty to allure us; a God that gave all creatures to serve us, and can, in a trice, make them as much our enemies as he hath now made them our servants. Let us view Him in His greatness, and in His goodness, that our hearts may have a true value of the worship of so great a majesty, and count it the most worthy employment with all diligence to attend upon Him.
God glorifies Himself toward the creature also in two ways: 1. By appearing to…their understanding. 2. In communicating Himself to their hearts, and in their rejoicing and delighting in and enjoying the manifestations which He makes of Himself… God is glorified not only by His glory being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. His glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart.
The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God, by which also God is magnified and exalted.
God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in… [W]hen those that see it delight in it: God is more glorified than if they only see it; His glory is then received by the whole soul, both by the understanding and by the heart. God made the world that He might communicate, and the creature receive, His glory; and that it might [be] received both by the mind and heart. He that testifies his idea of God’s glory [doesn’t] glorify God so much as he that testifies also his approbation of it and his delight in it.
Now what is glorifying God, but a rejoicing at that glory He has displayed? An understanding of the perfections of God, merely, cannot be the end of the creation; for he had as good not understand it, as see it and not be at all moved with joy at the sight. Neither can the highest end of creation be the declaring God’s glory to others; for the declaring God’s glory is good for nothing otherwise than to raise joy in ourselves and others at what is declared.
God is glorified not only by His glory’s being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it. God made the world that He might communicate, and the creature receive, His glory…both [with] the mind and the heart. He that testifies his having an idea of God’s glory [doesn’t] glorify God so much as he that testifies also his approbation [i.e., his heartfelt commendation or praise] of it and his delight in it.
The spiritual beauty of the Father and the Savior seemed to engross my whole mind; and it was the instinctive feeling of my heart, “Thou art; and there is none beside Thee.” I never felt such an entire emptiness of self-love or any regard to any private, selfish interest of my own. It seemed to me that I had entirely done with myself. I felt that the opinions of the world concerning me were nothing, and that I had no more to do with any outward interest of my own than with that of a person whom I never saw. The glory of God seemed to be all, and in all, and to swallow up every wish and desire of my heart.
How do we bring glory to God? The Bible’s short answer is: by growing more and more like Jesus Christ.
Since man was made for the glory of God, he can never be what he was intended to be until his life is properly focused on the glory of God… So God’s glory does not detract from man’s life. Instead, His glory is the sun around which the whole of life must revolve if there is to be the light and life of God in our experience. Since we were made for His glory, we will always malfunction whenever we fail to live for that purpose according to the Maker’s instructions.
The bedrock of missions is not the value of man. It is the spread of God’s glory. The biblical commitment to evangelism and missions is rooted in God’s passionate concern to make His name known.
A church that says no to missions is not just saying no to men. It is not just a matter of leaving men in their sins. It is saying no to God’s greatest concern: the spreading of His glorious name among the peoples of the world. This is His passionate concern; it must be ours.
We have been made to mirror God’s holiness and righteousness back to God, not so we may benefit (though there are immeasurable benefits to personal godliness), but so God will be glorified in beholding Himself in His creatures.
Our only hope is to return to the God of the Scriptures and the truth that the center of all meaning in life is not ourselves but God. God is the center of the universe and the essence of all wisdom and all truth. The purpose of life derives from God’s desire to see His own glory and behold His own beauty. Thus it is time for Christians to be called back to the truth that the meaning of life is to be found in “the glory of God alone.”
Since God is only pleased with the perfections that He alone possesses, and since these have been granted to us through the Holy Spirit, the believer can glorify God. God is glorified when He sees Himself in the character of the believer.
Whenever I am afield or outdoors, there steals over me the acute consciousness that I am confronted on every hand by the superb workmanship of my Father. It is as if every tree, rock, river, flower, mountain, bird, or blade of grass had stamped upon it the indelible label, "Made by God." Is it any wonder that in a simple yet sublime sense of devotion, respect, and reverence for all life, Christ longed for His Father’s name to be hallowed throughout the earth?
Whatever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand – in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind, in the world of art, and science – he is, in whatsoever it may be, constantly standing before the face of God. He is employed in the service of his God. He has strictly to obey his God. And above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God.
If a church truly loves God and the fame of His name, it is jealous for more and more people to know and praise Him. Every conversion means one more mouth is praising God, and every church planted is a chorus of mouths. Our love for the world is born out of our love for God. The greater our love for God, the greater our desire for others to display God’s glory by enjoying Him.
Resolved: that every man should live to the glory of God. Resolved second: that whether others do this or not I will.
By analogy God is to Christians as the sun is to the moon. As the sun is the exclusive source of light, so God is the sole source of glory; as the moon reflects light, so believers reflect God’s glory. Because God’s image in man was fractured by the fall, sinful humans refract God’s glory more than they reflect it back to Him. But once believers begin to be transformed into the same image at the moment of salvation, they reflect more than they refract. Thus, God’s glory is more and more returned to Him just as He transmitted it to his beloved ones. That’s how Christians can give to God something that He alone possesses and shares with no one (Isa. 42:8; 48:11).
God’s purpose is to glorify Himself through His church. He is glorified as the church is true to Him and His Word, as the church mirrors His purity and holiness. Failure to keep the church pure brings discredit to God on this earth and brings to His name great shame in the failure of those who profess to know Him (Richard Belcher).
To give God glory is not to add something to Him; rather, it is an active acknowledgement or extolling of who He is or what He has already done (Peter T. O’Brien).
The world has yet to see what God can do through a man wholly consecrated to Him (Henry Varley).
It has pleased God lately to teach me more than ever that Himself is the fountain of happiness; that likeness to Him, friendship for Him, and communion with Him, form the basis of all true enjoyment. The very disposition which, blessed be my dear Redeemer! He has given me, to be anything, do anything, or endure anything, so that His name might be glorified – I say, the disposition itself is heaven begun below.
Nothing makes God more supreme and more central than when a people are utterly persuaded that nothing – not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends – is going to bring satisfaction to their aching hearts besides God. This conviction breeds a people who passionately long for God on Sunday morning. They are not confused about why they are here. They do not see songs and prayers and sermons as mere traditions or mere duties. They see them as means of getting to God or God getting to them for more of His fullness.
What does it mean to glorify God? It does not mean to make Him more glorious. It means to acknowledge His glory, and to value it above all things, and to make it known.
God will not judge anyone for failing to perform a duty if the person had no access to the knowledge of that duty. But even without the Bible, all people have access to the knowledge that we are created by God and therefore depend on Him for everything, thus owing Him the gratitude and trust of our hearts. Deep within us we all know that it is our duty to glorify our Maker by thanking Him for all we have, trusting Him for all we need, and obeying all His revealed will.
The proper understanding of everything in life begins with God. No one will ever understand the necessity of conversion who does not know why God created us. He created us “in His image” so that we would image forth his glory in the world. We were made to be prisms refracting the light of God’s glory into all of life. Why God should want to give us a share in shining with His glory is a great mystery. Call it grace or mercy or love – it is an unspeakable wonder. Once we were not. Then we existed – for the glory of God!
We are all starved for the glory of God, not self. No one goes to the Grand Canyon to increase self-esteem. Why do we go? Because there is greater healing for the soul in beholding splendor than there is in beholding self. Indeed, what could be more ludicrous in a vast and glorious universe like this than a human being, on the speck called earth, standing in front of a mirror trying to find significance in his own self-image? It is a great sadness that this is the gospel of the modern world. The Christian Gospel is about “the glory of Christ,” not about me. And when it is—in some measure—about me, it is not about my being made much of by God, but about God mercifully enabling me to enjoy making much of Him forever.
[The Bible speaks of God’s glory in three ways.] First, glory is the inward majesty of God; second, it is the brightness God sometimes shines out into the world; third, it is the worship we offer to God. When we see God’s glory, the proper way for us to respond is to give Him the glory-to offer Him all the honor and praise He deserves. As Jonathan Edwards concluded, “The end of the creation is that the creation might glorify [God]. Now what is glorifying but a rejoicing at that glory He has displayed?”
We pursue our pleasure in God because it is the wisest pursuit to bring us the greatest pleasure, but we also pursue our pleasure in God because it’s the greatest way we can bring Him the most glory!
We are far too easily appeased and far too frequently deceived. As humans, we often pursue our inner desire for happiness in the superficial, sugar-coated sin morsels, temporary trinkets of the world. In this pursuit, we are not satisfied and God is not glorified. This is a radical call for faith. Contrary to the world’s pursuits and our internal cravings, we need to believe that doing it God’s way (according to His words in the Bible) will not only bring Him the greatest glory, but also bring us the greatest joy. We need to believe that our highest joy and God’s greatest glory do not compete, but are rather tethered to each other as one unified pursuit.
Nothing gives believers more joy than to see God glorified.
You are not acting as you ought to do when you are moved by any other motive than a single eye to your Lord’s glory.
It is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence – “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy name be glory.”
The term “glory” refers to the visible splendor or moral beauty of God’s manifold perfections. The “glory” of God is the exhibition of His inherent excellence; it is the external manifestation of His internal majesty. To “glorify God” is to declare, draw attention to, or publicly announce and advertise His glory.
To say that worship is either about glorifying God or finding personal satisfaction is to put asunder what God has joined together. His glory and your gladness are not separate tracks moving in opposite directions. Rather His glory is in your gladness in Him.
Pleasure is the measure of our treasure. How do you measure or assess the value of something you cherish? How do you determine the worth of a prize? Is it not by the depth of pleasure you derive from it? Is it not by the intensity and quality of your delight in what it is? Is it not by how excited and enthralled and thrilled you are in the manifold display of its attributes, characteristics, and properties? In other words, your satisfaction in what the treasure is and what the treasure does for you is the standard or gauge by which its glory (worth and value) is revealed. Hence, your pleasure is the measure of the treasure. Or again, the treasure, which is God, is most glorified in and by you when your pleasure in Him is maximal and optimal.
God is most glorified in us when our knowledge and experience of Him ignite a forest fire of joy that consumes all competing pleasures and He alone becomes the treasure that we prize.
We do not have any honor and glory in our possession that He supposedly lacks, thinking that somehow we are able to give Him what He does not already have inherently and eternally. Our role, our joy, is to ascribe and declare and proclaim to and of Him what He is and always will be.
There is nothing that will put you in your place, nothing that will correct your distorted view of yourself, nothing that will yank you out of your functional arrogance, or nothing that will take the winds out of the sails of your self-righteousness like standing, without defense, before the awesome glory of God.