Glory is when holiness comes to expression. How we glorify God.

As God is the saints’ glory so they are His.

An amazing statement. Hear Jesus pray in John 17 that, “I have given them the glory that you gave me.”

Glory is the extraordinary, mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence as He brings to light or manifests all the goodness that He has and is. Glory is when holiness comes to expression.

At creation, only man was given a deposit of this glory, we were made in the image of God  (imago dei). God animated our souls with His God breath.  Man can express our worship of God only because from our spirit, where that deposit of glory rest, our soul’s interpreter speaks using man’s tongue. The glory of man above all created, uses words to declare praises. This is to glorify God.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Heb 13:15

To glorify God is to be used to bring Glory to Him.

I write “used” because we are incapable of doing this ourselves. The imperfect cannot show or explain the perfect. When we glorify God it is God glorifying Himself through us. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil 2:3 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Cor 4:7

How does God work in us and through us to bring Himself glory?

Using the different meanings of glory we can better understand what glorify means.

Light: Jesus calls us the light of the world and we need to shine and illumine our area of influence with the presence of Christ. Light reveals. To glorify God is to reveal God so others see Him. See Him, not us.

Majesty: Recognizing God as our great Lord and King. To glorify God is to live in submission to His will and purposes. We exalt the awesomeness of God’s sovereign rule, absolute power and majestic creation.

Brilliance: Make God look good by our love and unity with believers. To glorify God is to make Him beautiful, desirable, and attractive in the eyes of man by the radiant way that we live out our love for Him and others.

Boasting: Holding God in high esteem we value, delight and take pride in God, valuing our relationship with God above everything else. We give a witness to God’s work in our lives and boast of Christ and the good news of His grace and gospel. To glorify God is to live our lives so that God could boast of us like He did about Job.

Honor:  Publically show the value that we have toward God. To glorify God is to express God’s worth to us in praise, worship and adoration. We magnify God’s name by making God’s name heard then pronouncing it great so others will also fear, which Biblically means be in awe of and respect, Him. We promote the name of God with great respect with the purpose that the mere mention of God’s name would evoke praise from men.

There are also ways we steal glory from God.

We glorify creation instead of the creator. We give glory to ourselves, our opinions, our works, ways and wills or we give glory to the world, men or objects, events or emotions. We ignore God, omit Him in conversations or fail to model Him to others. We profane His name with words or actions. We are taken over by pride. We put something above God, called an idol, that hides God’s character or distorts it as all things that lie to us do.  We don’t do what we say which labels us a hypocrite.

How can we glorify God with great intention.

Prepare our knowledge, attitude and will to this end by an earnest desire and commitment to glorify God.
Shift our attention to live out a life of worship by becoming aware of God’s presence and giving honor to Him.
Pray for a desire to glorify God, a consciousness of when we steal glory and a commitment to live it out.

In the Westminster Shorter Catechism the question, “What is the chief end of man?” is answered.
Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
The second question is “What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him?”
The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.

Psalm 145 describes what glory is, why it is to be given to God, and how we are to give it.

First David describes what glory is and how it is to be given:

1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. 4 One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. 5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds.7 They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The psalmist goes on to describe the character of God in a way that makes Him desirable to men:

8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10 All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. 11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.

The writer continues with God’s noble acts:

14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3

Want to learn more, read The Honor Series, parables about God’s glory expressed in contemporary fiction.

Glory the work of suffering. How evil’s wounds become victory’s scars.

I work at being a writer. I practice each day and read the works of others and study the craft and have a curious mind when it comes to words and the working out of language. But within my old school pen or modern age laptop there is not any magical power or tendency within the equipment to ‘write’. They are only tools and cannot labor by themselves without the writer taking them up to work. The tools do not create or produce even a letter without being taken in hand.

So if glory is the work of suffering, is there any merit in affliction, sufferings and troubles?

Does God barter eternal glory for a toothache, family troubles, poverty, lack, widowhood, old age? We dismiss that immediately if we know even the beginning truths of God’s plan of redemption that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. God does not invest affliction with any degree of merit and certainly no ‘magic’ power to earn glory. Affliction works for us like my laptop and my pen. There is no merit in the keys that type the letter. The merit is in the hand of him that strikes the keys into an order. The efficacy lies in the strength and skill of the writer.

Have you recently had a severe family trouble? There is a saying, “A mother is only as happy as their saddest child.” We suffer with our children maybe more than they suffer. But have you been able to weigh the Lord’s dealings with you? Have you seen the effect of those trials upon your soul and what spiritual profit have you reaped? Can you find in these troubles any fruits of the spirit?

No. Huh? There’s not a greater love when you are in lack? A kinder heart when you’re being slandered? A greater patience in that third round of chemo? A stellar self-control that pushes aside even a snarl as you deal with back pain?

Then you are more like me and ‘woe, is me’ when suffering starts. We can find ourselves blowing up balloons of self-pity and having a woe-is-me party before we even see how we’re responding. If you’re critical of that then beware the seat of scoffers.

Trials test us.

They prove out what is real in us and sometimes the first fruits are spoiled, rotten. In the prequel to The Glory series, you’ll see this illustrated—Honey Cooper, a faithful cowboy, acts more like a rank bull when his world gets rocked. Believers don’t allows act out what we believe.

Often our flesh rises up and acts out first when we encounter suffering.

Afflictions can bring out rebellion, peevishness, fretfulness, self-pity, unbelief and even despair. Troubles can cause a tantrum that would put a two year old to shame. Most of us are not sanctified enough to say at the start of suffering, “This is my comfort in my affliction, for your word has quickened me;” or, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes?”

Our initial response can often be immature, but God. But. God. Works in us. His hand is upon the spade turning over the dirt and the typewriter keys guiding our story. Spirit fills us when we are upon the floor in an exhausted heap from our tantrum and words become prayer, supplication, confession, desires. Our first whispered, “Help me, God,” begins our cooperation for this sanctifying suffering working to make us more like Christ.

Our heart, too often, is so full of the world that there is in it little room for Christ until He himself drives out the intruders and prunes away the rabbit trail branches that lead to comfortable fruitless lives.

Affliction in his hands, and especially spiritual affliction, convinces us of the sin and emptiness of loving the world. It embitters us to its temptations and loosens our heartstrings to its pleasures.

We don’t understand the power sin exercises in our carnal mind. What strongholds it builds. We are blind to its destructive fruit. What a need there is for a fierce, furious love of God to go to war in our behalf against an enemy we often ignore and disregard or even flirt with. Christ is a jealous dominate lover of our souls. He will tolerate no rivals.  We are fools to think Him mean. Harsh. Uncaring. Strict. Or worse, far away. He is with us. Here. In this suffering, trouble, affliction, mess. And he is working. Working. That’s the key action.

I AM is working.

He is God and He is a hater of sin and a lover of His own. And He, is working in us. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)

We need His discipline to teach us the folly of our ways and assure us that nothing, nothing, nothing save Christ is eternal. We need his corrections to convince us that abiding and thriving is the holy way to glory not sufficiency and striving. We need Him. This Jesus. With his scarred hands, evil’s wounds now victories scars. What love is this? That God would show us how to suffer well.  What hope is this? That the cross, a torturous death device, worked out our salvation. What faith is this? That we are promised a result from affliction; Glory.

And as God is the saints’ glory so they are His. Glory. It is all His.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor 4:17-18

Want to learn more, read The Glory Series, parables about God’s glory expressed in contemporary fiction.

Glory is the extraordinary, mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence as He brings to light & manifests all the goodness that He has & is.