What It Means To Glorify God: And How To Do It In Your Daily Life

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What It Means To Glorify God

And How To Do It In Your Daily Life

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A friend told me about a time when she was watching her 7-year-old grandson, and as she often does, she was reading some Bible passages to him. She came to 1 Corinthians 6:20 and read it: “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Her grandson immediately got a puzzled look on his face and responded with, “But Grammie, why does God tell us to glorify Him when He’s already perfect?”

“I stopped, a bit surprised at his question, and not totally sure how to answer,” my friend related. “I think I came up with an okay explanation, but it took me a while. I know we are to glorify God, but until that moment I had never really thought a lot about what it means in practical terms or why we need to do it.”

When my friend told me this story, it got me thinking. The instruction to “glorify” God is woven throughout the Bible. A verse that might immediately come to mind is 1 Corinthians 10:31, which says “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This verse has been inscribed on bumper stickers, notecards, magnets, shirts, mugs and various home décor items, indicating just how popular it is.

In the book of Psalms, numerous passages tell us to “give glory” to God’s name or similarly, to “magnify” God (see Psalms 29:2, Psalms 34:3, Psalms 35:27, Psalms 40:16, Psalms 69:30, Psalms 70:4 and Psalms 115:1). Many well-loved hymns are based on these verses.

And then in our daily conversations, we might use expressions like “Give the glory to God” and “Glory be to God.” The challenge for us is these phrases can become so familiar that we just gloss over the words or hear them without stopping to think about what they really mean.

A good lexicon can shed some much-needed light. The Hebrew words for glorify and magnify (kabod and gadal) and the Greek work for glorify (doxazo) all carry with them the idea of bestowing high esteem, honor or respect, or to lift up and exalt. We glorify or magnify God, or give glory to God, when we recognize, admire, value or extol His attributes and acts—His holy righteous character, creative brilliance, miraculous works and boundless wisdom. We certainly can’t make God any greater than He already is, but we can point out His majesty, and when we do, we glorify Him. We also give glory to God when we live our lives in ways that please Him and reflect His goodness.

Real-life ways to glorify God

We’ll be more likely to glorify God as He commands if we’ve thought through what it entails and specific steps we can take, and keep these things in the forefront of our minds every day. There’s literally no end to the steps we could take to magnify God, but here are some of the most important ways:

1. By singing praise.

Singing praises to God is one of the more obvious ways we can glorify Him. Psalms 66:1-2 instructs us to “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious.” We might primarily associate hymn-singing with church services, but we can do it at other times too. I know people who sing hymns as they do household chores or prepare meals in the kitchen, or more formally as a family around the piano after dinner. 

As we sing, we should reflect on the meaning of the words. Remember that the hymns are being directed “to God,” (Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:19), not to ourselves. While singing hymns can be very enjoyable and stir us emotionally, the primary purpose is to worship God and thank Him for His many blessings and mercies.

2. Through prayer.

We should also praise God in our prayers. The model prayer outlined in Matthew 6:9-13 instructs us to begin and end our prayers with praise. Extol God for His virtues—His love, mercy, power, creativity and way of life. Thank Him for His plan of salvation and Christ’s sacrifice, and for specific blessings and ways He has intervened in your life. Thanking God honors Him because it shows we realize that He is the source and the provider of all good things.

Just the act of making time for prayer demonstrates to God that we value Him and want a relationship with Him. It tells God that we depend on Him and need His help, strength, guidance and direction.

3. By obeying God’s commands.

If we revere God as we should, we will be living by His precepts as outlined in the Bible. That’s not to say that we will always to do this perfectly, but we will strive to live according to God’s Word as best as we can. When we fail or fall short at times, we will ask God’s forgiveness and repent. Obedience to God demonstrates that we love Him (Deuteronomy 11:1; Psalms 119; John 14:15; 1 John 5:2–3), and recognize and value His laws and instructions for our lives.

4. When we follow Jesus Christ’s example.

The Bible tells us to “be imitators of God” and to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us” (Ephesians 5:1-2). We should study the Bible to see how Christ lived and let His example guide us in terms of what we should do in our daily lives. Always be thinking how we can “mirror” the character strengths Christ exemplified, such as compassion, conviction, self-sacrificial love, forgiveness, and self-control. This tells God that His way of life is important to us, and puts on display what He can do in our lives (Matthew 5:16).  

5. Through giving.

One of the reasons God blesses us is so we can share some of what we have with others, particularly those in need. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions.” I can think of many people who are excellent examples of this. They’ll share produce from their gardens, regularly host dinner guests, make gift baskets for home-bound individuals, contribute funds to those in need financially, and on and on. We might also give of our time to do work projects for people who need help, or even to just be a good listener to someone who is lonely.

Sharing with others, as you are able, shows God where our heart is (Matthew 6:19-21) and that you treasure Him and what He values. God is pleased with us when we’re giving because it reflects His own generous nature.

6. When we work hard.

Whether you are an employee, business owner, student or homemaker, everyone has work responsibilities. Even those who are retired still have housework, yardwork and homes to maintain. Whatever job we may have to do, the Bible says to do it “heartily” (Colossians 3:23) and “with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

In practical terms this means to meet deadlines. Improve your skills. Keep learning. Maintain a “can-do” attitude. Don’t cut corners. Don’t do things in a halfhearted manner. If you are a business owner, produce high-quality products. If you are an employee or student, do more than just what you can get by with.  

When we work hard and strive to do our best, we glorify God because we are putting the talents and abilities He’s given to us to good use. God is perfectly diligent and excellent in every way. When we pursue excellence in our own lives, it tells God that we want to be like Him.

7. By taking care of our bodies.

When we take care of our physical bodies and use them as God intended, it shows Him that we appreciate the bodies He has provided us. That is basically the point being made in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Included here would be to avoid sexual sins, but also to do what is necessary to keep our physical bodies and minds healthy (such as: eating a well-balanced diet, not using tobacco, limiting alcohol intake, exercising regularly, and taking steps to manage stress). Moreover, if we are physically fit, we will have the strength and energy we need to be able to work hard at our endeavors.

Why it’s important to glorify God

As we think through ways we might glorify God, it becomes clear why He wants us to do this. It’s certainly not that God needs us to magnify Him, or that we are to do it to benefit Him. The true benefactors are us.

When we are intentionally and actively trying to reflect God’s character and standards in how we live our lives, it gives us perspective. We’ll be less likely to let the cares of this life—our day-to-day setbacks, disappointments, anxieties and challenges—dominate our thinking. Instead, we’ll be more focused on God’s great plan of salvation and using this life to prepare for the Kingdom of God.

We’ll also spend less time worrying. Praising God helps us remember that no matter what predicament we might face, no problem is too big for God; He can and will help us get through it. God wants us to lean on Him more, and rely less on ourselves and our own limited strengths. He wants us to look to Him as our provider and trust Him to meet all our needs. So while it is true that God doesn’t need us to glorify Him, He is surely very pleased when we do. He knows that we will live a much more hope-filled, joyous and positive life when we look up to Him.


  • Sabbathgal

    When I started reading your article and came across the scripture your friend read to her grandson, “For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”, my first thought was that he was going to ask how much He paid for us. But instead, he asked a very sincere and thought-provoking question about God's glory. It never ceases to amaze me how God works with children, even at such a young age. Thank you for sharing your story and bringing real life examples on how we can glorify God. It is very much appreciated.

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