FOLLOWING JESUS – LIVING FOR GOD’S GLORY

The apostle John wrote about Jesus:

‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).

Jesus lived in such a way that the glory of God was seen –

‘No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known’ (John 1:18).

Jesus himself summed up his life with the words

‘I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the word you gave me to do’ (John 17:4).

And from Jesus comes the command to all who follow him in this commitment to God’s glory:

‘Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16).

This high standard of living for the glory of God is found throughout the New Testament, for example:

It is the first petition in the Lord’s prayer – ‘hallowed be your name, your kingdom come’ (Matthew 6:9, 10).

Paul instructs us: ‘whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ (1Corinthians 10:31); ‘with one mind and one voice’ to ‘glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Romans 15:6); to live in such a way that God receives ‘glory and praise’ (Philippians 1:11) and that God’s name is not slandered (1Timothy 6:10).

Peter says that the reason God has made us his chosen people, his royal priesthood, his holy nation, his special possession, is ‘that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’, and that we should therefore ‘live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us’ (1Peter 2:9, 12).

This focus on living our lives for the glory of God is consistent with our creation by God. He created us in his ‘image’; he created us with both the capacity and the identity of reflecting his glory:

‘God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them’ (Genesis 1:27).

‘you ... crowned them with glory and honour’ (Psalm 8:5).

‘everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory’ (Isaiah 43:7).

It is also consistent with the fact that God saved us:

Paul says that our salvation is ‘to the praise of his glorious grace ... for the praise of his glory’ (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14); that we ‘might glorify God for his mercy’ (Romans 15:9).

As more and more people respond to the Gospel of grace this causes ‘thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God’ (2Corinthians 4:14)

And it is consistent with our new identity in Christ and our eternal future with him in the new heavens and the new earth:

‘We boast in the hope of the glory of God’ (Romans 5:2).

‘... Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27).

‘In bringing many sons and daughters to glory ...’ (Hebrews 2:10).

‘God... called you to his eternal glory in Christ’ (1Peter 5:10).

‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ (Colossians 3:4).

From all the above references we learn that the pursuit of God’s glory is to govern all of our actions, including even such simple things as eating and drinking.

To live our lives for God’s glory is the only appropriate response and action for those who know God by knowing Christ. Our new identity as children of God, our commitment to follow Jesus Christ as our Lord and to learn from him, demands that we make every choice with these questions in mind:

Will this thought, attitude, word, or action that I am contemplating glorify my heavenly Father?

Or will it bring dishonour to his name and grief to his heart?

Am I doing this for my glory (that people will praise me)? or for his glory (that people will praise him)?

Everything, including we ourselves, must be subservient to his glory, his honour, his praise. If something will dishonour him, then it is something his child, his servant, his follower, should not do.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2021