“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).
In Ephesians 3, the apostle Paul prays for the church in Ephesus to be filled with the love of Christ. He doesn’t ask for the church to be blessed with knowledge or wealth, but for it to glorify God.
What does it mean to glorify God?
It means doing things for God’s glory, not for our own glory. God created us to glorify Him; it is our chief purpose. Man seeking his own glory was what caused sin to enter into the world when Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden. In essence, it boils down to pride.
As Christians, whatever we do should be done for God’s glory. Musicians like Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel often signed the end of their compositions with the Latin phrase Soli Deo Gloria, which means “Glory to God alone”—it’s a good life motto we all could adopt.
Most of us are probably familiar with the hymn, “To God Be the Glory.” It goes like this:
To God be the glory, great things He hath done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.
What you may not know is that this hymn was written by Fanny Crosby, who was blind almost from birth. Blessed with a brilliant mind, Crosby memorized the four Gospels and the first four books of the Old Testament by the time she was 10 years old. In her 94-year lifetime, she wrote the lyrics for more than 8,000 hymns.
Crosby could have used her talent to boost her own image, but she used it to glorify God. She even saw her blindness as a blessing: “If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me,” she said in her autobiography.
Written around 1872, “To God Be the Glory” was used in D.L. Moody’s crusades in Great Britain by song leader Ira Sankey, but it was forgotten for about 75 years. In 1954, Cliff Barrows, who led music for Billy Graham’s crusades, rediscovered the song, and it soon became a mainstay in churches across the country.
Whenever Crosby wrote a hymn, she prayed that it would bring people to Christ. She must have nearly prayed without ceasing because she often wrote six or seven hymns a day. Relying on her sharp memory, she composed everything in her head and then dictated the lyrics when the hymn was finished. She once dictated 40 hymns in one sitting.
Her other well-known hymns include “Blessed Assurance,” “Praise Him, Praise Him” and “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour.”
The chorus of “Blessed Assurance” includes the refrain: “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.” Definitely words to live by.
>Have you ever sought your own glory instead of God’s glory? What was the outcome?
>Is there an area in your life where you haven’t given God credit where credit is due?
>Why do you think God created man to glorify Him?