By Joaquim Braga, PhD
Biblical Counseling Interim Department Chair
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31)
God’s glory is a central theme of Scripture. As John Piper has succinctly put it: “The vindication of God’s glory is the ground of our salvation, and the exaltation of God’s glory is the goal of our salvation.” Difficult as it is for us to fully capture what God’s glory means, we commonly understand it as the perfect beauty of the Triune being who created all that there is. Thus, to speak of God’s glory is to speak of His perfection, His majesty, His holiness, His character, His literal awesomeness (oh how have we cheapened the meaning of this last term, much to our own detriment).
To “glorify God,” therefore, means to highlight, proclaim, draw attention to, display, showcase, show forth, declare God’s intrinsic worth as a being of unmatched beauty and perfection. For instance, when I forgive someone who has hurt me, I am glorifying God because through that sacrificial gesture of forgiving another, I am demonstrating to the world something that is beautiful and true of God Himself, namely His grace and mercy. Likewise, when I enjoy a beautiful, sunny day at the beach with a grateful heart, I am glorifying God by acknowledging Him to be a creative creator and a giver of good things to His children. Or when I continue to trust God after some personal tragedy that defies all comprehension, I glorify Him by declaring that against the limitations of my unbearable pain, I still believe Him to be all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing.
We can (and should!) indeed glorify God with all we say, think, feel, and do. This is why the apostle Paul commanded us to do all things to the glory of God, including whether we eat or drink. Think about that for a second. Even behaviors as mundane as drinking and eating, which we often do without giving them a second thought, can be done to God’s glory. This is quite a liberating and empowering thought. If I can display God’s glory no matter what I am doing, no matter where I am, no matter how small the task, no matter who is watching me, no matter what!, then nothing about my existence needs to be wasted. On the contrary, all about me matters because all about me can and should engage in what matters the most: to glorify God, or to display His unmatched beauty!
The pile of dishes on the kitchen sink.
Those tasks at work that are as tedious as they are pointless.
All those groundhog days.
Your pain, your suffering, your struggle with sin.
Both your failures and your successes.
All. Absolutely all about you (I don’t think I can overstate this point: there’s no exception!) can have meaning and purpose—it can matter infinitely—because it can showcase the beautiful face of our loving Creator and Redeemer. And nothing, absolutely nothing, matters more in life.
What mundane action or sacrificial choice will you use to glorify your Creator today?