When I first cried out to Jesus, it was initially essentially for my own happiness. For relief from my ever-increasing guilt, and ever-increasing slavery to sin. I didn’t pray, “Jesus, please save me for your glory. I want to live a life to glorify God.”
Before Jesus saved me, I lived essentially for my own happiness. I wanted to make myself happy. I never actually said that, but I believe that deep down that was the driving force in my life. I learned to play guitar and got into a rock band because that brought me pleasure. I became an art major in college because painting and drawing made me happy. I wanted a girlfriend essentially for my happiness. And I had no idea how self-centered I was, how selfish I was.
I’m so grateful God is so long-suffering, loving and patient with me.
Eventually, the more I read and heard God’s word, the longer I followed Jesus, he revealed the main reason he saved me – for his glory. God saves us, yes, because he loves us, and because he is so merciful. But I believe the primary reason he creates us and then saves us is for his glory. And he is not some vain, self-centered God who just wants all the glory. The more we see and know God’s glory and glorify God, the more joy we experience in him.
Our greatest goal in life should be to know and delight in our Lord, and to bring him glory.
Our greatest goal should not be to be successful or famous or rich. Our greatest desire should be to know our God, and to live to serve him and glorify him. As it says in the Psalms:
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Psalm 115:1
We should desire to glorify God because he is worthy of all glory and honor
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11
And God tells us in 1 Corinthians:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
We may think that those who glorify God are those who have extraordinary gifts, maybe like preachers or missionaries or people like Mother Teresa. You may think, “How can I glorify God? I have to drive an hour to work every morning through heavy traffic. I work all day at this boring job. I drive home, and have to take care of my kids (if you have kids) or pay my bills, and clean up the kitchen after supper. I have to cut my grass and pay my bills. My life is ordinary and I’m not some powerful evangelist. How can I glorify God?
God tells us that each one of us can glorify him in numerous ways. Here are 11 ways every one of us can glorify God.
1. We glorify God by letting our light shine before others.
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. Matthew 5:16
We can let our light shine before our unbelieving relatives on holidays, by serving them. By being cheerful. By not grumbling when we don’t get our way. We can let our light shine before our children every day by serving our spouse, and by demonstrating thankfulness, patience, love, forgiveness.
We can let our light shine before our co-workers by not joining in with office gossip and grumbling about our boss. By looking for ways to serve our fellow workers. By seeking to be the most cheerful person in the office.
2. We glorify God by participating in advancing the gospel.
We are not all called as evangelists, but we can all share in the advance of the gospel. One way is by praying that God will bring his kingdom to the earth, to this nation, to your town. Hopefully your church proclaims the gospel. By welcoming new people, giving to the church, and serving in the church’s ministries, you help advance the gospel. You can advance the gospel by serving in your church’s children’s ministry or teen ministry. You advance the gospel by serving on the worship team as you sing of God’s power and glory. You help advance the gospel by serving on the projection team as you project Scriptures during the message.
We can pray that God will raise up laborers for the harvest. There are many ministries that help the poor and share the gospel with those they help. By supporting these ministries we help advance the gospel
3. We glorify God by working heartily at whatever we do.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
When Paul exhorted his fellow believers to work heartily, he was primarily addressing “bondservants” to serve their masters heartily. But ultimately they were serving the Lord and that he would reward them. They may not have felt like they were glorifying God, but Paul said they were. They would bring glory to God by working heartily as bondservants, even though they may not have chosen to do that or desired it.
You may be stuck in a job you don’t like, but you can glorify God by doing your work heartily for the Lord, and not for your boss. And Jesus will reward you.