On Wednesday nights at our church, I work with a group of young children. They range in age from four to eight-years-old. As most of us know, using an object lesson is one of the most effective ways to teach a lesson. The curriculum we use had a wonderful one last week.
I took a blank piece of paper and wrote the words “God is eternal” as tiny as I could in the middle of the paper. I pinned it up on a bulletin board in the front of the classroom. Needless to say, the children had a hard time reading what it said from where they sat.
However, I brought a magnifying glass with me and had several of them come up to the front and use that to read the sentence. Once they had the glass, it was easy for them to see what the words said.
So what was the point? It was to demonstrate what it means to glorify God. We take a truth about God and through the way we speak and how we live, we magnify, or make “bigger,” that truth about God so that others can see it.
Then I gave them an illustration. Suppose they were playing ball outside with kids from their neighborhood and a few of them went running after a loose ball. Maybe one of the kids pushed you out of the way in trying to get to the ball first. If you wanted to glorify God, what type of response should you have? Run over and push them back? Yell at them? One little boy said that you should walk over and politely say, “Please don’t do that again.” 🙂 I thought that was a good response.
When our reaction to situations we face is the same as an unbeliever’s, we’re doing nothing to glorify God. But we get to decide if our lives are going to show others – even fellow believers – how great He is. As we learn about God and His character through His Word, we can ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to exalt Him.
What are some specific ways in which we can glorify God? Here are some ideas I found.
By praising Him when times are hard
We proclaim His goodness when we’re going through a trial.
“Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” ~Psalm 50:14-15
Deliverance may not always take the form we think it should, but God is always faithful to deliver us. Even in the midst of our difficulty, we can praise Him.
By giving Him the credit when times are good
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” ~James 1:17
Sometimes I think this is harder than praising God when times are tough! We’re just cruising along, enjoying our blessings, and don’t make proclaiming our thankfulness to God a priority.
By sharing answered prayer
It can be a great encouragement to let people know when God has answered a prayer in our life. It reminds us of the blessing ourselves and can edify others as they continue praying for something they’re burdened about.
By having a consistent lifestyle
“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” ~1 Peter 2:12
In other words, don’t be a hypocrite. People are often watching to see if you practice what you preach – and that can include our children. Our goal is not for them to think highly of us, but of the God we serve.
Here’s another familiar verse about how the way we live our lives can bring glory to God.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:16
By bearing fruit
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” ~John 15:8
We bear fruit as we abide in Christ. This means staying connected to Him and depending on Him to meet our needs.
By being like-minded as believers
“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 15:5-6
We need to be aligned doctrinally, but often we get worked up over things that don’t make a difference. As Christians, we must live according to the Bible, but outside of that, we should seek to dwell in unity.
As we look back over this list, may we be able to say with David, “I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name forevermore.” ~Psalm 86:12