This is the first of our four Distinctive Values. Stay tuned for short write-ups on the other 3 coming soon.
Our first Distinctive Value is:
by Paul Bush
We are committed to knowing God, worshipping God, and being led by God.
I think there are few terms that are used so often and understood so little as ‘the glory of God’. We see the glory of God preached in sermons, we sing about it in worship, and maybe even use it regularly in conversation. 1 Corinthians 10:31 even commands us to “do all to the glory of God”.
But what does that even mean?
One night in the fall of 1999, my life changed forever. I was just 14 years old and very little did I know that one car ride would change the trajectory of my eternity.
My friend had been persistently asking me to go to visit his church on a Wednesday night. I liked my friend and church seemed to be an ok thing so I gave in. On the half hour journey home my friend opened his Bible and started showing me some of his favorite Bible verses about God’s love. Something started happening within me. My heart began to sing to the tune of God’s word. It was unexplainable.
Then there was a pivotal moment my friend looked at me and said some words I will never forget, “Paul – you are either sold out for Jesus or you are just out.” It was in that very moment that my relationship with God became clear. Suddenly, I realized this whole Jesus thing mattered. I mean it really mattered! It mattered more than anything else in the world. It mattered more than anything I had ever heard or imagined.
So what does this have to do with God’s glory?
The Hebrew word for glory is ‘kabod’. Which actually means ‘weight’. When the Hebrews spoke of God and his glory, one of the things they were trying to communicate is that God mattered. He mattered more than anything. His existence was of the utmost significance. He is the great ‘I AM’. The only one that exists in and of himself. Everything that exists owes its existence to Him. God by himself has his such weightiness and significance which commands the attention and respect of our lives.
You can think of God’s glory like gravity. Gravity is what anchors us to the earth. If you were to hold an apple in your hand and drop it, where does it go? Back to the ground. Why does it do that? Because the earth is so large, it has its own gravitational pull. Without gravity, nothing on our earth would have order. We would all be random floating around, not anchored to solid ground.
The weight of God’s glory is what gives order to the universe and everything in it. Hebrews 1:3 states “he is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature and he upholds the universe by the word of his power”. Because of who God is – his eternal nature and sovereign power – God must be worshipped. Psalm 19:1 says that even the ‘heavens declare the glory of God’. Everything in this world is designed to give glory to our creator.
Not only do the heaven’s declare the weight and significance of who God is, but our lives should as well. Our lives should be ordered according to the glory of God. Everything we do- our social life, family life, work life – everything should be to the glory of God.
What does God’s glory mean for me?
Ask yourself this question: Does God’s glory give order to my life? If we believe God is to be glorified, then we believe God is weighty. His plan should have weight in our life. There should be much passion in us to see Him glorified in the way we live!
After a hectic day, my wife Karis and I love turning on our favorite show and enjoying a solid half hour of not thinking about anything. One night, I noticed Karis was taking an extra long time to put our 3 year old down. I started to grow impatient because I knew that a longer bed time routine meant less time to watch our favorite show together. Afterwards, Karis told me that my son was asking many questions about Jesus. The small act of having a spiritual conversation with a three year old carried more weight and significance than watching our favorite show. In that moment, God’s glory was what ordered my wife’s night.
Think for a moment – is your life ordered according to the glory of God? Maybe there are certain activities that in the grand scheme of eternity really don’t carry weight. The Apostle Paul was not speaking hyperbole when he said, “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”.
Practical steps to Glorifying God
That night in my friend’s car was the night I put my faith in Jesus. I believed that I was forgiven and because Jesus was alive, I now could live a life that glorified God. From that point on, my life was ordered with the gravitational pull of God’s glory.
If you want to understand more of what it means to glorify God, look to Jesus. As Hebrews 1:3 says, “he is the radiance of the glory of God”. If you have never trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, make that your first step in glorifying him.
If you already have trusted Christ, I would encourage you to prayerfully examine your life. Is your life ordered according to the glory of God or something else? Our culture is so obsessed with productivity and staying busy. Often times we lose touch with valuable relationships and tasks because of our busyness. As a pastor, I have found that one of the greatest threats to many Christian families is busyness. If Satan cannot get you to do evil, he will often try to distract us from good. I would encourage you to slow down and carve out time to reflect on how God’s glory should give order to your life.
Wrapping It Up - Three Final Factors
I must admit there is much more to glorifying God than what can be fit into a blog. But I would be remiss to point out three important factors to glorifying God. At Summit Church, we believe “God-Glorifying” means knowing God, worshipping God, and being led by God. All three of these areas are important and without each of them one cannot fully understand what it means to glorify him. For further study, I would encourage you to reflect on Psalm 119:105.
Your word is a lamp unto my feet,
A light unto my path.
As we study God’s word, God’s Spirit shows us how to know him better, worship him more truly, and be led by him wholeheartedly. I would encourage you to order your life around God and start by diving deep into his word. As we seek him in his word, we will find our life becomes more and more defined by God’s glory.