We often hear the phrase ‘give God all the glory’. But what does this actually mean and how can we do it?
Well, I spent a few minutes this afternoon being asked by a great friend of mine called Matt, who is a youth worker up near Leicester, about this topic. Watch the video below to hear what was said. But I also want to go into a little more detail about it, so I have just quickly written down a few thoughts about giving glory to God.
I wonder if you have ever done something and received a load of praise for it? How did it feel? I expect really nice! Being told that you have done something well is always a great thing. What if I told you now that the praise you just received, is a bit like being given a present. I love presents so I would be very happy! But now you need to go and give that present away. How do you feel now? Probably a little bit sad to be honest! I don’t want to give it away; I want to keep it all for myself! That analogy might seem a little bit random but let me explain. You see as Christians, we are told to do everything for the glory of God, even eating and drinking (1 Corinthians 10:31)! The world ‘glory’ comes from the Greek word ‘doxa’ which means to shine light on God, it points to God. What is being said in that verse is to do everything in a way that points to God who created everything good and who can do all things. It’s not about us, it’s all about Him!
There are loads of Bible verses about giving glory to God and it can seem like a really easy thing to do. I guess on one level it is, but on another, it’s really not! It is easy because all that is required of us is to worship God, one definition of worship could be to bring glory and praise to God. But on another level, it’s really hard. Our human reaction when we are given praise is to keep it, however awkward we feel receiving it! We don’t want to give it away, yet it’s really clear that the Bible tells us to because ultimately, we can do nothing without God. I learnt this in my life when I found myself in the hardest place I’ve ever been in, in the middle of a mental health crisis. I couldn’t do anything by my own strength, confidence or knowledge, I had to rely on God. Everything I did was God working in me because I couldn’t do it by myself. As a result, I had no option but to give God the glory for it, because He was keeping me going, it wasn’t me at all. I’m through the worst of this issue but that time helped form a habit in me of giving God praise for everything. I don’t always remember to do so, I’m still learning! But I’m better at it than I was.
It’s a very different story though when you’re well, in good health, and high in confidence. On one hand you don’t need God, you can do it all by yourself. But in those moments, we forget who God is. He is the God who gave us life, who created the Earth, who defeated death, who can do anything. We desperately need Him because when God is at work in us, the things we do are good because God is good. As soon as we take God out of the picture, life becomes all about us when really it is all about God. A long document called the Westminster Shorter Catechism (it’s like a Q&A about faith) which was written in 1600s says how the point of life is to bring glory to God in everything we do. God should be right at the centre of it, not pushed out to one side.
So how do we go about giving glory to God and learning to do so?
1. Be intentional
Giving glory to God isn’t going to happen by itself! We have to put effort in and try! We have to want to do it, so give it a go. Every time you receive praise, practice saying ‘Thank you God that You…’ It’s normal to find that hard to do and I don’t believe that it’s wrong at all to be encouraged. In fact I’d say listen to the praise and let it build you up! But ultimately, it’s about God! So practice giving the glory to Him.
2. Look for what God is doing
Spend time going over your day and different encounters and the things that you have done. Try to spot God in the different parts of it. Where is He? What has He done? As you do, you can start to see how God has impacted the things that you have done and therefore know what to praise Him for. You might also spot patterns of where God is at work more often. Then you can go into these times, more aware of God’s presence in them.
3. Spend time in God’s presence
Of course, this was going to be in here! But it’s so true! As we spend time in God’s presence, we learn how we react to God; you may feel peaceful, cry, feel a tightness inside you, feel nothing at all but just know, or maybe something else. As you start to recognise when the Spirit is moving in you, you’ll more easily see God at work in your life. As you spend time in His presence, you’ll begin to hear God’s voice more often. And as you spend time in God’s presence, you get drawn into the worshipping life of the Trinity, bringing glory to God! What that means is that the three parts of the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are all connected by love (a bit like bricks and cement), and showing love to God is one of the things that makes up worship. And worship is bringing glory to God! So spend time in His presence, worshipping.
Learning to bring glory to God in all you do isn’t something that will happen overnight, it’s a process. For me, it’s taken three years and I’m still in the process of learning. But it is the least we can do. Jesus died for us, so that we could have a relationship with him! He paid for our sins what we could not afford, so we should try to bring glory to God in everything we do (1 Corinthians 6:20). And that might be as simple as just saying ‘thank you God for helping me…’, or it may be something on a bigger scale. But it’s all about Him! And He deserves all glory and praise.