Glorifying God Isn’t What We Think, continued

You’ve seen it, maybe even said it. A young child in a situation apart from his parent, acts in an especially responsible way, and an adult responds by saying, Your mama raised you right, or some such thing. The child was the one who did the good deed, but the parent was the one receiving the honor.

I believe that scenario best shows the way “glorify” is used most often in the New Testament.

One definition of the Greek word doxazō which is most often translated as glorify is this: “to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged.” As I see it, that definition best fits the context of the verses related to people glorifying God.

Because of the miracles Jesus performed, people who witnessed them acknowledged God’s dignity and worth. Because of our good works, people around us will acknowledge God’s dignity and worth.

Here are some general observations then.

1) The Christian can glorify God but can also do good works that cause others to glorify Him.
2) Good deeds don’t themselves glorify God; instead, they give others the opportunity to glorify Him.
3) Glorifying God is a “third party” activity. The one doing the good works isn’t the one giving glory.
4) Glorifying God is something done for a visible act, not a private, personal attitude.
5) If God is to be glorified, those watching have to see and recognize, not only the act, but God as the source behind it.
6) Glorifying God is more than calling attention to Him because people can do so in a negative way — it is showing Him in the best light possible.

The Christian isn’t limited to glorifying God. That may sound strange, but I think this is the crux of what I’ve discovered. “Glorifying God” has become a catch-all phrase for every time a Christian mentions God’s name.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those people picketing funerals with horrible signs proclaiming God’s judgment think they are glorifying Him. They are not. Even if they are saying something true, their lack of love and compassion does not magnify God.

Athletes who say they want to praise to God in an after-game interview aren’t giving God glory. I’m not saying they shouldn’t identify themselves as people who believe in and follow Jesus Christ, but the fact that they make that public statement is no different than me putting a license plate frame on my car that said “Jesus is Lord.”

After so identifying, what comes next is what matters. Good works? Or behavior that defames God’s name?

And writers? I think I’m ready to tackle that question next.

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Other posts in this series include “Glorifying God Means What Exactly?”, “More Thoughts About Glorifying God,” and “Glorifying God Isn’t What We Think.”

Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm  Comments (3)  
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