Glorifying God

By Ann Smith

Verses To Read:

It was a short note of encouragement. Handed surreptitiously from one man to another. It would have held little significance to anyone else who read it. But the few words meant everything to the recipient.

The folded square of paper read, “In the old book (OT) it says he that honors me, I will honor. 1 Sam. 2:30. Wishing you the best of success always.”

A few minutes later, a starting gun went off and Scottish Olympian Eric Liddell went on to set a world record in the 400 meters race at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. He beat out two American favorites in a race he had never competed in before.

Liddell was actually the favorite in the 100 meters, a race he owned and had never lost but forfeited three days prior. This was not by default, but by choice. The prelims of the 100 were to be held on Sunday and Liddell, a committed Christian, minister of the gospel, and future missionary to China, had never run a race on a Sunday. To him, that day was a day to honor God alone and he would not change that now, Olympics or not. He was maligned publicly in the press and labeled a traitor by public opinion. But he was not swayed. He did, however, choose to run in that 400 meters race held on another day. He won that race, and he was lauded as a national hero. The note that was handed to him before he ran was handed to him by the team trainer. The knowledge that even one man understood his decision was so encouraging to Liddell. The Greek meaning of the word ‘glorify’ is, ‘to cause the worth of something to become manifest or acknowledged; to ascribe weight to by recognizing real substance’. Liddell’s actions bore the weight of what it meant to glorify God. On the scale of life, God weighed so heavily in the measure that Liddell did all he could to honor God by his own human attempts to fill the balance.

We glorify God by loving Him over all, in all, and through all. This is a hefty endeavor. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 that the greatest commandment from God is to love Him (the Lord your God) “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Let’s look at what that means for us.

The Heart: The heart is seen as the seat of emotions, but emotions must inform and not guide. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 3:5-6 admonishes us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight”. A heart that glorifies God puts aside the freedoms that come with selfish desires to do what God desires more – this is our obedience to Him.

The Soul: Glorifying God is not just a matter of sin or righteousness, right or wrong, moral or immoral. In Romans 6:1-2, the apostle Paul asks, “What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means.” But we barely get by. In walking close to the narrow line that separates our choice between God and self, our worry is only concerned with crossing the line. Our concern remains to please God AND self. But our true worship is surrendering self so much that we dwell fully as close to godliness and holiness as humanly possible.

The Mind: Glorifying God is a mind set on things above, not things of this world. The world values wealth, popularity, and power. It seems as if one will automatically provide some measure of the other, so we strive and strain on the horizontal plain and forget to reach vertically toward God. If we seek the approval of this world, we risk failing to seek the favor of God. Psalm 84:10 reminds us that, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”

At the end of every church music composition, master composer and one of the most regarded composers of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote his initials, S.B.D., followed by Soli Deo Gloria, which in Latin means glory to God alone. May each of our names also be characterized by giving glory to God alone.

Questions To Consider:

1. Recall a time when your path has been made straight as a result of trusting in the Lord. Think of a time you have pleased man instead of God. What was the result?

2. What area of your life needs the most growth in glorifying God?

Prayer to Pray:

Thank you, Lord, for being a God who is worthy of all praise and glory. Please help me to live my life in such a way that I am wholly devoted to you, with all my heart, soul, and mind. Let your approval be the only approval I seek as I live a life to honor you. Amen.