As Jesus was preparing himself mentally, emotionally, and physically to go to the cross he spent the night in prayer to the Father, and one of the things that he prayed was, “I have glorified you on the earth…” (John 17:4). The word “glorify” means “to magnify, extol, praise, and honor” and Jesus had done all of this as he had completed the will of the Father. A key to determine how we should glorify God is found in the words of Jesus that were spoken to a group of people that only followed Jesus because they “ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). Jesus responded to them, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38). The key factor that we find concerning bringing glory to God is the will of God.
There a many people that speak of glorifying God or doing something to the glory of God, but without seriously taking into consideration the will of God. As human beings we must remember that the source of deciding what will bring glory to God is not us, our opinion, or our ways, but it is the will of God that is the standard. For this reason, God speaking through Isaiah said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). So often man thinks that if he thinks of it, speaking of religious things, that he can do it to the glory of God, but that is not the case. The glorification of God begins with the Word of God.
We glorify God in the same way that Jesus did and that is as we obey the will of God because a Christian is one who has obeyed the truth and continues to do so. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth…” (1 Peter 1:22). Obedience of the truth or doing things God’s way is what glorifies him. God was not glorified when Nadab and Abihu decided to offer their own fire instead of what God had told them to do (Leviticus 10:1-2). God was offended and disgrace was brought upon him and his will by their taking things into their own hands. God was not glorified when the brethren in Corinth changed the Lord’s Supper from being a spiritual meal using only unleavened bread and fruit of the vine as Jesus had commanded (Matthew 26:26-30, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) into a common meal where there were various types of food on the table, and they were not even thinking about the “Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 11:17-22). They were not bringing glory and honor to God, but were bringing dishonor and reproach upon God, Jesus, the church, and the will of God. So, Paul asked the question, “Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you” (1 Corinthians 11:22). God can only be glorified in the church or in life when one does that which is in keeping with the will of God.