A Glorious Duty
Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.(1 Corinthians 10:31)
It is the duty of every person to live for the glory of God. If God made us for His glory, it is clear that we should live for His glory. Our duty comes from God’s design.
What does it mean to glorify God?
It does not mean to make Him more glorious. It means to acknowledge His glory, to value it above all things, and to make it known. It implies heartfelt gratitude: “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.” (Psalm 50:23) It also implies trust: Abraham “grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.”(Romans 4:20)
Glorifying God is the duty not only of those who have heard the preaching of the gospel, but also of people who have only the witness of nature and their own conscience. “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”(Romans 1:20,21)
God will not judge anyone for failing to perform a duty if the person had no access to the knowledge of that duty. But even without the Bible, all people have access to the knowledge that we are created by God and therefore are dependent on Him for everything, thus owing Him the gratitude and trust of our hearts. Deep within us we all know that it is our duty to glorify our Maker by thanking Him for all we have, trusting Him for all we need, and obeying all His revealed will.
The secret of Jesus’ success can be found in these words of 1 Corinthians 10:31. Let us lay aside for a moment that He was fully God and focus our attention on the fact that He was fully human. Scripture tells us that He laid aside His glory and His power as the Son of God to become the Son of Man. It was as a man that He carried out His earthly ministry.
“Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility], who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it]; but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]. After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely-appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.”
Let us examine these few verses. We are called to having the same attitude as Christ. The KJV says, “let this mind be in you as was in Christ Jesus.” Paul is reminding that although Christ was a man He gave up none of His essence of being God. None of us can make that claim. Yet He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a bond-servant( one who willingly gives up his rights and freedom to faithfully serve his master). Now we come to the part that applies to us. As a man He humbled Himself further by becoming obedient to the Father even to the point of death, death on the cross.
Scripture further tells us that during Christ’s time on earth, He made no decision on His own, He only spoke what the Father gave Him to say, and He only did what the Father gave Him to do. In His prayer of John 17 He requests that the Father would glorify Him as He had glorified the Father on earth. Philippians paints that picture for it says, “For this reason also ( because He obeyed and completely humbled Himself) God has highly exalted Him……”
The secret to Christ’s success was simply that everything He did was to glorify the Father. He took no credit, and many times requested that those who had benefited from His work to not tell who had blessed them.
So what does it mean to glorify God? According to the example Jesus set, it means we seek every opportunity to serve God whether it’s through the church or an individual effort. It means that we ONLY speak what we hear the Father say and we ONLY do what we are instructed to do. It means we move away from setting our own agendas and forming our own plans while asking God to make our ways happen. There were a lot of leper’s in Israel but Jesus only healed those as instructed by the Father. There were no doubt many capable men in Israel who would have made good disciples but Christ chose only those whom the Father has called. Perhaps there could have been an alternate plan to redeem us but Christ submitted to the Father’s plan. It means that we take no credit for anything that God accomplishes through us. It means recognizing that at the end of the day, we were not capable, we were not the one who made it happen, we did not have the ability or necessary skills, but we just made ourselves available for the use of God. Like tools in a tool box, we waited for that moment when the master mechanic chose us for His purpose. Like those tools we accepted that sometimes other tools were chosen for they were designed for that which we were not. We not only accepted that we celebrated that the Master’s purpose had been accomplished whether through us or another. Finally, we obey without questions the instructions of the Father. Remember how Jesus said to the disciples, “I need to go through Samaria?” I’m sure the woman at the well was glad that Jesus followed the Father’s directions without question or excuse. Jesus could have said that it was a waste of time. Who ever heard of a Samaritan ever listening to a Jew? But He went and she came and the Father was glorified.
So let us so live our lives that we glorify God. Let us as John the Baptist declare, “He must increase and I must decrease!”
Dr. John Thompson