17 Ways to Glorify God
Most good Presbyterians know the first question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, "What is the Chief End of Man?" The answer, of course, is that man's chief end is to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."
Thomas Watson, in his book Body of Divinity, offers a commentary on this question and its answer. In doing so Watson offers 17 ways in which the Christian glorifies God. I will give the bullet-point list of ways that Watson lists along with one quote and one Scripture reference that he mentions in his larger discussion. I do so in the hopes that readers will be encouraged to glorify God in their own lives and also to read the whole of Watson's answer in the book for themselves.
Watson says that we glorify God...
1. By aiming purely at his glory. "It is one thing to advance God's glory, another thing to aim at it." (see John 8:50)
2. By an ingenuous (innocent - unsuspecting) confession of sin. "The prodigal charged himself with sin before his father charged him with it." (see Joshua 7:19)
3. By believing. "It is a great honor we do to a man when we trust him with all we have, when we put our lives and estates into his hand; it is a sign we have a good opinion of him. Faith knows there are no impossibilities with God, and will trust him where it cannot trace him." (see John 3:33)
4. By being tender to God's glory. "When we hear God reproached, it is as if we were reproached." (see Psalm 69:9)
5. By fruitfulness. "Though the lowest degree of grace may bring salvation to you, yet it will not bring much glory to God. It was not a spark of love Christ commended in Mary, but much love." (see John 15:8)
6. By being contented in that state in which Providence has placed us. "When grace is crowning, it is not so much to be content; but when grace is conflicting with inconveniences, then to be content is a glorious thing indeed." (see Phil. 4:13)
7. By working out our own salvation. "God has twisted together his glory and our good. We glorify him by promoting our own salvation." (see Phil. 2:12)
8. By living to God. "The Mammonist lives to his money, the Epicure lives to his belly; the design of a sinner's life is to gratify lust, but we glorify God when we live to God." (see 2 Cor. 5:15)
9. By walking cheerfully. "The people of God have ground for cheerfulness. They are justified and adopted, and this creates inward peace; it makes music within, whatever storms are without." (see 2 Cor. 1:4)
10. By standing up for his truths. "God has entrusted us with his truth, as a master entrusts his servant with his purse to keep." (see Jude 3)
11. By praising him. "Praise is the quit-rent we pay to God: while God renews our lease, we must renew our rent." (see Psalm 86:12)
12. By being zealous for his name. "Zeal is a mixed affection, a compound of love and anger; it carries forth our love to God, and our anger against sin in an intense degree." (see Rev. 2:2)
13. When we have an eye to God in our natural and in our civil actions. "We glorify God, when we have an eye to God in all our civil and natural actions, and do nothing that may reflect any blemish on religion." (see 1 Cor. 10:31)
14. By laboring to draw others to God. "We should be both diamonds and loadstones; diamonds for the lustre of grace, and loadstones for attractive virtue in drawing others to Christ." (see Gal. 4:19)
15. When we suffer for God and seal the gospel with our blood. "God's glory shines in the ashes of his martyrs." (see John 21:18-19)
16. When we give God the glory of all that we do. "As the silkworm, when she weaves her curious work, hides herself under the silk, and is not seen; so when we have done anything praiseworthy, we must hide ourselves under the veil of humility and transfer the glory of all we have done to God." (see 1 Cor. 15:10)
17. By a holy life. A bad life dishonors God. "Though the main work of religion lies in the heart, yet our light must so shine that others may behold it." (see Rom. 2:24)
Adam Parker is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America and the Pastor of Pearl Presbyterian Church. He is a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS and is the Associate Editor of Reformation 21.