Measure Your Life By How You Glorify God
By Wesley L. Duewel
The great purpose of your life should be to glorify God and do His will. Everything in your life can be done with a desire to bring more glory to Him. The unspoken underlying guideline in your every choice can be, "What will bring the most glory to God?" Superficially considered, many things seem to be unrelated to God’s glory. But always, at least indirectly or potentially, they can add to or detract from the glory of God.
The supreme passion of your soul will be either God or self. It is ever a question of God first or me first. The issue is this – "What does God desire most?" Not, "What do I desire, or what would be to my advantage?" If you seem to have no ruling passion in your life, then self is on your throne. But if the ruling passion of your entire life is to bring more honor to God, then all of living, every day of your life, holds potential glory to God.
God’s glory imposes a discipline upon all of life. "What will bring most glory to God?" is the question you must constantly ask yourself. Keeping yourself and your clothing clean and neat, keeping your hair appropriately cared for, keeping your home and your car orderly, tidy, pleasing, and suitable – this all should be done for the glory of God.
There are a multitude of ways that you can bring more glory to God. Not only does the Bible outline some of the more obvious ways, but the Holy Spirit is given you to guide you daily in bringing glory to God. You need not be constantly in the public eye to bring God glory. You can impact your home and family, your workplace and fellow workers, your church or your community by the example of your whole-souled commitment to glorify the Lord. It can shine in all you are and in all you do.
Earl Rainey was a cashier in the main store in a Missouri town. The Spirit-filled life of this young man gave him a pleasant disposition and a smile for everyone. He was always cordial, always helpful. He died prematurely, and in the county paper the store where he was employed inserted a large ad. In bold type at the top was "Earl Rainey went to heaven." Then it continued, "You ask us how we know. He worked for us. He attended meetings at the _______ Church and said he got converted. All we know is…." Then they described the beautiful life that he had lived. Earl Rainey had lived to the glory of God.
John Newton’s godly widowed mother washed clothes for the glory of God and to put food on her table. John followed his father to sea but went from bad to worse. He went from one ship to another and was finally sold as a slave to a black woman on the coast of Africa and was fed on crumbs from her table and the fruit he stole at night. He had only one shirt to his name. He escaped, went to sea again, and became a pirate-slave trader.
All the time his mother took in laundry, and day after day her tears dropped into the wash water as she prayed hour after hour for God to save her wayward son. Year after year she prayed on. At last, he was converted and became one of London’s most beloved and eminent ministers. The entire Christian world today sings his autobiographical hymn, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me." No Christian leader ever lived more to the glory of God than did humble, unknown Mother Newton. Who will get the greater reward in heaven, John Newton or his mother? Anyone can live to the glory of God. You can.
Full Surrender and Costly Obedience
Jesus expressed the passion that was in His soul: "Father, glorify Your name!" (John 12:28). When did Jesus call out that prayer? He had just given the illustration that unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains unfruitful, but if it dies it produces many seeds. He had just said that the man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it. He had just added, "Whoever serves Me must follow Me" (v. 26). Then He remembered the tremendous cost it would involve for Him personally in following the Father’s will, and He exclaimed: "Now My heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour" (v. 27). Then He called out, "Father, glorify Your name!" Instantly God answered from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."
God will glorify His name through your obedient following of Jesus. He will glorify His name through your being willing to be a seed falling into the ground and dying so that a harvest may be produced (John 12:23-24). He will glorify His name by your being willing to give a costly obedience of whatever it takes to see God’s will accomplished. Measure your life by that kind of godly attitude, by your willingness to pay a price for Jesus’ sake, by your willingness to put God’s glory first in everything. God will give no rewards for having the most opportunities but for doing most with the opportunities you have. The more opportunities God gives you, the more God will require of you (Luke 12:48). Use the opportunities you have, and God will trust you with more (Luke 19:24-26).
A Christian minister was speaking on the subject of full surrender and the possibilities of a holy life. He drew a picture of what a holy home life would be if everybody lived according to the Bible. At the close he made an appeal to people to make that full surrender and be filled with the Spirit. A woman in his audience turned to the woman by her side and said, "That is excellent preaching, but I wonder whether such a life is possible." The other woman smiled back at her. "Well, I know the preacher lives such a life," she said. "I happen to be his wife."
If your life is focused on God with all your heart and soul, then even the most mundane and ordinary aspects of living can be done for God’s glory. Even eating properly, drinking healthfully, sleeping adequately, and exercising faithfully can be done to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Many forget that their bodies are not their own. They owe their bodies to God for long, faithful service. They owe to God doing whatever is best for their bodies to keep them in top physical health. You are commanded to honor God with your body (1 Cor. 6:20).
A Thankful and Joyful Heart
Measure your life by the thanksgiving that overflows into other hearts because of you (2 Cor. 4:15). The thankful attitude of soul that the Spirit wants to pour out from your life in constant expressions to God and to others can bring respect and glory to God. A thankful heart bubbling over in joy and gratitude to God is a vibrant, living testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Fanny Crosby, blind from six weeks of age, brought glory to God wherever she went. From girlhood on, she knew the Bible better than any other book. As a girl, she could repeat from memory the first five books of the Bible, the book of Ruth, most of the Psalms and Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and almost all of the New Testament.
Blind Fanny recognized God’s goodness in everything – in the flowers, the trees, the grasses as she touched them, in the songs of birds, in the rippling sound of little streams of water. She began to describe it all in poetry.
She made up her mind that she would never allow blindness to darken her life or make her complain. She had a happy heart, and she scattered sunshine wherever she went, thereby glorifying God. She refused to let anything trouble her, sadden her, or disturb her faith. She was a welcome visitor in any home. She memorized the eight thousand hymns which she wrote to the glory of God. She was such a blessing that she was invited to speak to many large audiences. At the age of 94, February 11, 1915, she seemed in good health, dictated a letter and wrote a new poem, and went to bed. Before morning she had slipped into heaven.
What Christian has not joined in glorifying God as he sang songs Fanny Crosby wrote: "Blessed Assurance," "Saved By Grace," "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," "To God Be the Glory," "Tell Me the Story of Jesus," and many, many more. How many thousands of people have surrendered their lives to Christ as they heard the hymns "Rescue the Perishing," "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior," and "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling." Perhaps millions of Christians have shared their testimony as they sang her hymns, "Never Give Up," "He Hideth My Soul," "All the Way My Savior Leads Me," "Near the Cross," "Draw Me Nearer," and "Praise Him! Praise Him!" Millions of lives are richer because blind Fanny Crosby brought glory to God.
Prayer and Good Deeds
Measure your life by the prayer answers you receive as you constantly pray with others and for others. We are to carry continually the burdens of others (Gal. 6:2). Prayer answers bring glory and honor to God (Psa. 50:15). They testify to God’s greatness, sovereignty, power, wisdom and love. They prove to the world that God is alive, is on the throne, that God is love, that God is concerned with our lives. Oh, the potential to bring glory to God by prayer answers! What a dimension this can give to your life! Mighty prevailing prayer makes you a coworker with God. It adds an eternal significance to your life. As you go about your daily activities, you can keep breathing intercessory prayers to God and can keep expressing your personal love to Jesus. What greater way is there for you to bring glory to God?
Measure your life by your good deeds, which bring glory to God. In your sanctified humility you hesitate to attribute glory to God from your deeds. But they have a great potential of glory for God. Jesus urged us, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). Peter urged "Live such good lives among the pagans that…they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us" (1 Pet. 2:12).
This suggests an important truth. The prayers you pray, the blessings you bring to others, the witness of your life may not bring instant public glory to God. But all of these will register on the minds and consciences of even those most vocally opposed to you. Just as Paul could not escape his goading conscience that came when he witnessed Stephen’s shining face and forgiving spirit even in death by martyrdom (Acts 7:59-60; 1 Cor. 15:9), even so unsaved people who opposed you will sooner or later – at the Judgment Day, if not before – confess your influence and the glory you brought to God by your faithfulness. Measure your life by the good deeds and blessings you bring to others.
Spiritual Life and Character
You are created to bring glory to God (Isa. 43:7). The Holy Spirit indwells you, fills you, empowers you, and seals you so that His presence can mark you in a way that brings greater glory to God (Eph. 1:13-14). The desire of the Spirit is to make you a constant glory to God. He wants your life to be so outstandingly different from the world that you are sealed as God’s own. Can the unsaved people recognize God’s approval resting on you? God’s seal of loving recognition upon you?
Measure your life by the spiritual fruit in your character that bring glory to God. These are the fruit that cause you to resemble Jesus (Phil. 1:11). We love to sing the chorus of T.M. Jones:
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
Oh, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
Measure your life by the extent to which you have clothed yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14). The more closely you walk with Jesus, the more Spirit-filled your whole being, the more Christlike you become. Paul urges, "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Col. 3:12). Christlike compassion, Christlike kindness, Christlike humility, Christlike gentleness and patience – these are the holy virtues that bring great glory to God.
These are the qualities that cause the body of Christians, Christ’s church, to bring great glory to God (Eph. 3:21). The power of this collective witness of the church is potent, and a church filled with Christlike people has a profound effect on the community as its collective life of witness adds weight to the witness of each individual life. This is one of the many reasons why each Christian needs to become an active member of a God-glorifying local body of Christians. Measure your life by your active participation in the body of believers by your adding to the weight of the testimony of the local group as a group.
Forbearance and Perseverance
The witness of your life brings special glory to God if your holy character, your bearing, and your forbearing with others, your Christlike forgiveness of others, and your lack of carnal responses to others is contrasted with insults, antagonism, and persecution from those who oppose you and Christ.
At such a time "the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you" (1 Pet. 4:14). As God blesses you in the midst of hatred, slander, hostility, and injustice, His beauty is seen in you. Then your light shines brighter and farther than at any other time. Then, above all other times, God’s glory is manifest upon you and through you. Then God’s glory rises upon you and appears in the sight of others (Isa. 60:2).
Measure your life by the glory you bring to God when the pressures of life beat upon you. Measure your life by the Christlikeness you manifest when overworked, when health becomes a problem, when circumstances seem to conspire against you, when you are tempest tossed and harassed. That is when God wants your spirituality to be brightest and most Christlike. That is when He wants to clothe you with holy calmness and persevering faith. That is when He wants you to glorify God with a song of praise. Then, if ever, the world hears your song, sees your Christlikeness, and recognizes that your spiritual paternity is from God.
– Quoted from the book Measure Your Life by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright © 1992 by Wesley L. Duewel. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. Dr. Duewel’s books may be purchased by calling (317) 881-6755, Ext. 361.