Q6: How can we glorify God?
ANSWER: We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him, and by obeying his will, commands, and law.
In 1647 the Westminster Assembly completed the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which serves as part of the doctrinal standards of the Presbyterian Church and famously begins by declaring that "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Yet this bold notion that God created us for the primary purpose of His own glorification strikes many, particularly in this age of equality, as rather strange. Are we to believe that God is so self-absorbed that He created us just to flatter Himself? Does he need us to do so? Something about the whole notion just doesn't sit right with us. We suspect that perhaps Monty Python, in a bit of ironic humor, got it right and this whole "praise and glory" thing is at least outdated, if not a bit gauche.
But our uneasiness arises from a fundamental misunderstanding of both ourselves and of God. As the Southern novelist Walker Percy famously observed, we "live in a deranged age - more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.” Lacking any real self-knowledge, we cast about in various directions, hoping to find some solid ground upon which to build a life. Some of us glorify physical pleasure or athletic exploits. Others glorify professional achievement, status and power. Still others glorify wealth and the purported security and comfort it promises. But the truth is that while each of these goals has its rewards, we all discover that in the end they never satisfy. As Alexis de Tocqueville insightfully observed, the incomplete joys of this world can never satisfy the human heart. Sex, sports, power, money and success are fickle, and they can never love us back.
Only God can give us the peace of mind and solid rock on which to build a life. If you must glorify something, or someone (and you must, and do), Scripture teaches that glory is properly given to the One who is the Creator and sustainer of all things. He desires our praise and wants us to enjoy Him. Viewed from this perspective, God's call to glorify, enjoy, love, trust and obey Him is a call towards true human flourishing and away from all the failed images-- or idols--that we erect in His place. You see, Monty Python is only right if God isn't Who He says He is. Sure, the idea of glory and praise is funny and outdated if God is a kind of cosmic petty despot, fed up with us groveling humans. But God is the loving Creator and sustainer of all that is, Who desires fellowship with you and me. Choosing to devote glory and honor to Him is the wisest commitment we can make. And unlike our feckless "counterfeit gods," in giving His Son for us God already has loved us back.
I Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.