What does it mean to “do all to the glory of God”? How can we give glory to God? Here are 10 practical ways to show honor to our loving Creator.
Probably one of the top Bible memory verses of all time is 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
These words have been emblazoned on plaques, note cards, shirts, mugs, magnets and bumper stickers. They’ve made it into countless books, blog posts and religious podcasts.
And that’s wonderful. We should always keep this biblical teaching in the forefront of our minds.
But there’s also a potential snare with this verse being so familiar. That is, we can start to assume we fully understand it, even if we don’t. We might only have a vague notion of what it really means to bring glory to God, and not take the time to consider what we should be doing to implement this command.
So what exactly does it mean to glorify or give glory to God?
Dictionaries and Bible commentaries generally define the word glorify as “to bestow high esteem, respect, or reverence.” The word translated “glorify” is also translated in the Bible as “give honor.” We glorify or honor God when we acknowledge, value or exalt His attributes and acts—His holiness, perfect character, magnificence, wisdom and omnipotence.
We also honor God when we think and act in ways that reflect Him and show evidence of His hand in our lives.
To truly honor God, we need to think about specific steps we should take to live by 1 Corinthians 10:31. If we don’t, it’s so easy to relegate this verse in our minds to simply a nice-sounding catchphrase.
I’ve talked with numerous ministers, as well as other individuals who I know take honoring God seriously, to get their thoughts on this subject. From these conversations, I’ve gathered 10 practical ways to glorify God in your everyday life.
1. Make time for God.
When we truly revere God, we will pursue a close relationship with Him. That means setting aside time for prayer, Bible study and meditation each day.
Give God your best time—typically at the start of the day, rather than late at night when you’re tired. Don’t let your work schedules, household projects, entertainment, recreational pursuits, social commitments or other activities preoccupy you to the point that you neglect your relationship with God.
Making time for God tells Him you value His way of life and want His guidance and direction.
2. Praise God.
To praise God is to glorify Him verbally. We do this when we sing hymns at church. We can sing worship songs at other times too. I know families who sing hymns together before or after dinners, or even when they’re in the car running errands.
We should also praise God in our prayers. Extol Him for His mercy, patience, faithfulness, righteousness, generosity and love, and for being our Creator, Sustainer and Life Giver.
Another idea is to start each day by reading a Psalm. One minister described the Psalms as “pure worship.” The objective of so many of them is simply to praise God or to express admiration for His creation. Reading the Psalms can help us learn how to better praise God.
3. Thank God.
Giving thanks to God is another way we honor Him and glorify His name (Psalms 50:23; 86:12). We should thank God in our prayers for how He has blessed us and intervened in our lives, and for His plan of salvation and Jesus’ sacrifice.
When we thank God, we are telling Him how much we need Him and acknowledging that He is the One who gives us the strength and the means to live our lives.Expressing gratitude to God places our focus on Him and takes it off ourselves. When we thank God, we are telling Him how much we need Him and acknowledging that He is the One who gives us the strength and the means to live our lives.
Strive to keep a mind-set of gratitude throughout your day. Think about the many things God has given you and the situations He has helped you get through. If you’ve been successful at an endeavor of some kind, look for God’s hand in it and give Him the glory and thanks for what He has done.
4. Trust God.
Trusting God means believing His promises to care for us and depending on Him for everything. When things are going well for us, we must put our primary confidence in God—not our bank accounts, education level, intellect, abilities or connections with “important” people. When we’re facing trials and challenges, we should think, “I still trust God and know He won’t let me down.” We should “cast all [our] anxiety” on God (1 Peter 5:7, New International Version) and not allow ourselves to worry.
God is glorified when we don’t doubt His Word, but instead see Him as the loving Father and faithful Creator He is (1 Peter 4:19).
5. Treat others with dignity.
God loves each of us—as imperfect as we are. We honor God when we, too, show love, concern, respect and kindness to other people.
Scripture directs us to “be kind to one another,” “esteem others better than” ourselves and “honor all people” (Ephesians 4:32; Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 2:17). In everyday terms this can mean showing understanding to a waiter who’s provided poor service, not keeping our neighbors awake at night with loud music, maintaining a courteous demeanor after someone’s been rude to us, not disparaging government leaders (or anyone), or being patient with difficult coworkers or bad drivers.
Every human being is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and has the potential to be part of God’s family. Keeping this vision in mind can help us learn to see others as God does and to develop a greater appreciation for how God works with mankind.
6. Be generous.
I know many people who are wonderful examples of sharing what they have to be a blessing to others. They’ll give away produce from their gardens, buy unexpected gifts for people, house individuals who need a place to stay, contribute funds to those who are hurting financially, regularly host dinner guests, and on and on.
Truly they are doing what it says in Proverbs 3:9: “Honor the LORD with your possessions.” This is something we all should strive to do, particularly if we’ve been blessed financially.
When we are generous, it shows God we are internalizing His values—that we are using our lives not just to amass fortunes for ourselves, but to develop an outgoing concern for others. Sharing is also a way to thank God for what He has blessed us with and to demonstrate our continued trust in Him to supply our needs.
7. Use your talents to serve others.
God has endowed each of us with certain capabilities or talents. In 1 Peter 4:10 Peter encourages us to be “good stewards” of whatever gifts we’ve been given. That might include music or art talent, listening or hospitality skills, management or teaching abilities, and so on.
As stewards of these gifts, we should be developing and using our talents to serve others.
I can think of people who are good with kids who volunteer with their church youth program. I know others who have a knack for technology who regularly help senior citizens with computer installations and repairs. This can also mean using your job skills to do your best at work and to serve your boss.
When we use our talents, we show God that we appreciate what He’s given to us. Moreover, serving is another way we tell God we’re concerned about other people and not just ourselves.
8. Take care of your body.
God expects us to also be good stewards of the bodies He has given us. This is basically what Paul admonished the Corinthians to do when he urged them to “honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:20, NIV).
Try to eat a well-balanced diet, avoid using cigarettes and harmful drugs, don’t abuse alcohol, exercise regularly, keep stress levels down and get enough sleep. If we’re physically fit, we’ll be better able to serve and fulfill the roles God gives us.
Choose clothing and groom yourself in ways that reflect godly values. We should dress modestly so as to not call improper attention to ourselves. God is holy and pure, and He wants us to be also.
9. Choose godly entertainment.
Our media choices, too, should reflect God’s values. The Bible tells us to “abhor what is evil” and “abstain from every form of evil” (Romans 12:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:22). If we are entertaining ourselves with television shows, movies, websites, music, video games, novels, etc., that are loaded with profanity, violence, sexual immorality or demonic themes, we are giving homage to Satan, not God.
A friend told me that before she watches anything on TV, she asks herself if it passes the Philippians 4:8 test—meaning if something isn’t true, noble, just, pure, lovely or virtuous, she doesn’t watch it.A friend told me that before she watches anything on TV, she asks herself if it passes the Philippians 4:8 test—meaning if something isn’t true, noble, just, pure, lovely or virtuous, she doesn’t watch it.
We honor God when we select entertainment that is compatible with biblical standards.
10. Align your will with God’s.
The bottom line is we honor God when we want what He wants and value what He values. Before we say or do anything, we should make sure it aligns with God’s Word. We mustn’t allow ourselves to desire something that contradicts God’s way of life or would make it harder to follow Him.
As one person I know put it: “I might want to win the $100 million lottery, but I know that much wealth could distract me from seeking God, so I’m not going to set my heart on that.”
Christ said in John 14:15: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” We glorify God by striving to follow the example of our elder Brother, Jesus Christ, who kept all of God’s commands. When we emulate Christ, we are placing God’s way of life in high esteem. It also puts on display what God can do in our lives.
None of us will glorify God perfectly. But even when we fall short, we must keep working at it. We should never stop looking to God for direction.
That is what God wants to see from us, and ultimately, how we truly honor Him.