Ask the average person on the street what glory means and you will find a multitude of answers. Some may link it to fame or winning. Some may think of the angels singing glory to God. Most will give you a blank stare as they try to come up with an answer.
Now ask the average Christian what it means to give God glory. Most will use words like praise and honor, possibly worship. But let's face it most of us don't have a clue exactly what we are supposed to give God. This was the starting point for my investigation.
I wondered what could I possibly give God that He didn't already have or own? I reasoned that glory was something besides praise or honor, since the Hebrew has other words for praise and honor. Most of the references instructing us to give God glory are in the Old Testament. Usually in the New Testament they are giving God glory. So, obviously somebody knew what to do. Since the Jews and the Gentiles gave God glory, it must have been common to give glory. Caesar demanded glory and honor as he declared himself god. There was a cultural understanding.
But, what is the Biblical understanding?
I began by finding all the verses which related to giving God glory or glorifying God. There are quite a few. Then I looked up the Strong's number to find a definition. The definitions (there were several words translated glory or glorifying) included words like weight, praise, honor, loud tone, boast, shine, mad, roe, celebrate, marriage, renown, rage, splendor, copious, beauty, beautiful, goodly, pleasant, still, keep in, triumph, pacify, fair, bravery, comely, and excellent. Those are just the Hebrew definitions. The Greek definitions included words like glorious, honor, praise, dignity, worship and magnify.
Then there were different types of glory; the glory of nature, the glory of man or woman, the glory of kings, the glory of nations and finally the glory of God as well as giving glory to God.
Obviously this definition needs to be refined. Strong's Expanded of Biblical Words helped a lot. The definition, like most words, is determined by the context.
The next step was to examine the context. Since I already had narrowed down the verse I wanted to look at this was a little easier. The expanded dictionary also shed light on various passages I was examining. I discovered the words used to define the glory we give God all have to do with Who God is. We cannot glorify Him unless we know Him or at least know something about Him. How can we worship a god we don't know? The worship would be rather shallow.
The second thing that become apparent is glorifying God is a choice. We can elect not to do so. However, this election will not affect the glory of God. He is Who He is. We cannot add anything to Him. He is complete. We need to know He alone is God. He has no equal and answers to no one. We need an experiential knowledge of His attributes. As our spiritual, intellectual and emotional knowledge of Him grows so does our ability to glorify Him. We begin to understand His real weight or worth. While we can corporately glorify God, it is still an individual response to the Who of God. Just as there may be corporate praise during a worship service, not everyone participates fully. It is our relationship with God that determines the glory we are able to give God. This "offering" of glory adds nothing to God. He is all that He will ever be. Instead, it adds to us. The experience of glorifying God deepens our relationship with Him and thus our knowledge of Him.
Third, to glorify God you need to be submitted to His authority. We need to recognize His majesty and power; to stand in awe of Him, recognizing that He alone is in control. He is the victorious One.
The purpose of glorifying God is not to add anything to Him, but rather to add to ourselves. It allows us to be in right relationship with Him--to align our wills with His.
Perhaps it is time for us to spend as much time cheering for the King as we do for our favorite sports teams. When we watched the latest royal wedding, people were lined up on the streets, cheering and hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal couple. How much more should we be willing to line the streets proclaiming the glory of God? Our God is triumphant so why not rejoice and celebrate that triumph? We can boast in our God. There is no other like Him, nor will there ever be.
Whatever giving God glory is it is more than just saying "Glory to God". It is the intense worship that falls flat on its face and cries Holy, Holy, Holy is our Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. It is standing in awe of what He is doingwatching miracles happen right before your eyes and being overjoyed and amazed at Who He is. It is the quiet moments when we cry out to Him from the depths of our soul and feel His touch. It is the inexplicable silence of being in His Presence where doubts, fear, needs and pains all fade away and all that is left is Him. It is worship in its deepest sense. It is the minimum that is owed to God. So please join me in giving God glory.
Dee Brown Smith has been a Christian for over 40 years. She resides in Salem, Oregon, with her husband, Dave, and her dog Ozzie. As the author of Parables, a self-published book for pre-teens, she is fairly new to the writing world.
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