Summary: Sometimes you’ll hear people lament, “What’s my purpose in life?” Perhaps you’ve voiced that question yourself. There’s an answer in Scripture that gives motivation and fulfillment to every facet of your life.
When you speak, you should have one overriding motive. Likewise when you do ministry of any kind. And what is that all-encompassing motive? — that “everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.”
I did a detailed Bible study of the word “glory” and various forms of that word. I was quite impressed with how much Scripture was devoted to the central importance of everything bringing glory to God the Father and to Jesus the Son of God. As I looked at the Scriptures below, plus more that I didn’t have space to use, I realized that bringing glory to the Father and the Son should be a dominant, life-controlling mindset for each of us. Let’s look together at various biblical ways to do this.
Jesus made this remarkable promise to His followers: that we would do His works and even greater. He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, cured lepers, and much more. Just imagine Jesus fulfilling that promise by using you in any of those ways. Could you handle the publicity, the public attention, even the fame that might come to those the Lord might use in spectacular ways like miraculous healings and even raising the dead?
The solution to this is not to back away from being used by God, but rather to embrace the right attitude and motivation — that is, any powerful works you might do in the name of the Lord should all point toward the Lord and His glory. A classic example of this proper attitude is Peter and John, when they healed the lame man at the temple gate (Acts 3:1-12). A crowd gathered in wonder and amazement (10f). Peter’s humble reply deflected attention away from themselves and toward the Lord (vss. 12, 16) — “When Peter saw this, he said to them, ‘Fellow Israelites, why does this [healing miracle] surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we made this man walk?’ …  ‘By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see’.” In sum, 1) a miracle of healing was done by Peter and John in Jesus’ name … 2) a marveling crowd gathered around them … and 3) Peter humbly and properly gave 100% of the credit to “Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him.” All glory to the Lord, zero glory to Peter and John.
This verse impacted me greatly 50 years ago, when I was a recently born-again Christian. It has motivated me very much from that day to this. The speaker in the verse was Jesus Christ. The subject was bearing much fruit in our lives, which we can do both personally in our own growth in the Lord and also in our ministry to others.
The key to the verse is the motive for our fruit-bearing — the glory of God the Father. Our Father in heaven is glorified when we bear godly fruit both within ourselves and in our ministry efforts. Ponder this when, for example, you are dealing with overcoming some sinful pattern in your life. Let your motivation be strengthened by the realization that your character development, with God’s help, brings glory to Him. It’s the same for your ministry to others. God puts spiritual gifts and abilities in your life to help others. And there too, all the honor, praise, and glory belong to God for the divine enablement He gives you to minister on His behalf. In fact, Jesus made the point that our bearing fruit to the Father’s glory (not to ours) is a sign “showing” that we are truly His disciples.
Jesus the Son of God, while on earth, was acutely conscious of bringing glory to God the Father. In His magnificent prayer in John 17, our Savior was anticipating His soon-coming crucifixion, burial, and resurrection for the sins of the whole world, which is surely one of the central events of all history!
Jesus’ focus was on two things: 1) His willing self-sacrifice would bring glory to God, and 2) to that end He was determined to finish that work that He had come from heaven to earth to accomplish. God is glorified when we accomplish the work He assigns us. The apostle Paul understood this well when he wrote to his friend Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord” (Colossians 4:17). Each ministry task assigned by God to you, when accomplished, brings glory to God. Let that be a central, guiding motive as you minister for Him.
Even our routine, daily activities, such as eating and drinking, can be occasions to bring glory to God. In 1969 I was taking flying lessons from an instructor named Buster. I had recently committed my life to the Lord. I noticed that if we stopped at a restaurant to get a bite to eat, Buster would quietly bow his head and pray before eating, even if there were others around. That affected me deeply for good, and Buster’s godly influence became one of the factors that helped me, a new Christian, to begin growing in the Lord and bearing fruit to God’s glory.
Notice that the verse adds “…or whatever you do.” Let all your conduct 1) be “for the glory of God” and 2) not be an occasion for anyone else to stumble.
The apostle Paul’s ministry continued to expand and “reach more and more people” for the Lord. What was the response Paul encouraged? — overflowing thanksgiving “to the glory of God,” not of Paul.
The takeaway for us? As our ministries, by God’s grace, reach increasing numbers of people, there is only one proper response: “Thank you, Lord, and may you alone continue to be glorified.” By contrast, I recall years ago watching a TV minister with a significant audience. He bragged onscreen that his was the “most anointed ministry” happening at that time. Well, lo and behold, that minister was completely out of the ministry a short time later, sadly having fallen. God will never honor our taking to ourselves the praise and glory that belong only to Him.
This verse always warms my heart. What an honor for us followers of the Lord! The Church has the privilege and honor of being in partnership with Jesus Christ to bring glory to God. The apostle Paul is singling out two special sources that will glorify God the Father: 1) His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and 2) His Church.
Christians, don’t shrink back when the world around you mocks your faith. We are not weird or out of touch for believing the things that we believe. No! We are vessels of God Almighty, created to bring honor, glory, and praise to Him! He has sent us into this world to be “the salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13f). Hold your head up confidently yet humbly, and go forth in whatever field God has placed you to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), devoted servants in the kingdom work of the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of the universe.
This short sentence is packed with key truths. Whatever “fruit of righteousness” we will ever bear comes through Jesus Christ. It is the power of His cross, where He bore all the world’s sin, that enables us to get saved and then to conquer sin in our lives and to press toward becoming “pure and blameless” as we await His return or our going on to Him in heaven. And all of that is intended to be “to the glory and praise of God,” who willingly for our sakes sent His Son Jesus to make it all possible.
Much glory came to God the Father through the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. And glory to God the Father continues as we draw upon Jesus to develop increasing fruit of righteousness in our lives and to pursue a life that is pure and blameless. This world is awaiting “the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). Let’s not let them down. Let’s live up to God’s high and holy calling in such a way that our lives are a living expression of “To God Be the Glory.”
Does God meet your needs? The Scripture says He will. Don’t take food, clothing, and shelter for granted. Sometimes when praying before a meal, I will add thanks to God for our comfortable house, reliable transportation, enough money to pay our bills, and similar things. Why not? Immediately after speaking of God meeting all our needs, the apostle says: “To our God and Father be glory…” Are your needs being met? Give glory to God!
The Lord is a rescuer, a deliver, of His people from evil. In fact, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father in heaven…deliver us from evil (and the evil one).” I try to remember to pray that every day. Are you facing evil attacks from people or from the devil? Remember the apostle Paul’s words: “The Lord will rescue me…to Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Probably the greatest rescue/deliverance — for which we should be continually glorifying God — is our salvation unto eternal life: “[God] has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13, NLT). Thank and praise God often for your salvation and eternal life.
God’s spectacular creation is intended to bring Him “glory and honor and power.” I lived 17 years in Alaska and can recall the stunningly beautiful nighttime sight of the Northern Lights. When you look at His creation, when you see a gorgeous sunset or the blissful peace of a sleeping infant, give glory to God! He’s the Creator of all those things.
Let’s close with a scene from heaven. John heard the voices of heavenly beings crying out, “Worthy is the Lamb [Jesus], who was slain, to receive…glory and praise!” Then he heard an even bigger multitude of voices crying out, “To [God] and the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” One day after this life you who know Jesus as Savior will joyfully join that throng that is praising and giving glory to God the Father and His Son Jesus for ever and ever.
Right now, while still on earth, we’ve seen multiple things for which we can give glory and praise to God and to Jesus His Son. Give thought and expression every day to one of the very highest purposes of God for your life. And that is (1 Peter 4:11, KJV) “that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” Let that a be a guiding principle for your life and conduct, and you can be assured that one day you will hear the Lord’s welcoming voice: “Well done, good and faithful servant… Come and share your Master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:21).
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©2021, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.