“That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end or your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:7–9

Many Christians use churchy words without spending the time to investigate their meanings. The words glory, glorify, glorified, glorying, and glorious get used in praise songs, prayer, and testimonies around the church. Since these words occur in Scripture we have a license to use them, but it is wise to know what we are singing and saying.

There is a kind of flower called Morning Glory. It has trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom early in the morning. As the sun rises in the sky the flowers burst open shining in all their glory in the brilliant sunshine. Webster defines glory as brightness, splendor, shining, and luster, as in visible splendor or magnificence.

Associated words embroider the central idea of splendor. Glorify, Webster says, is a combination of glory and to make. Glorify means to praise, to magnify, to honor in worship and to ascribe honor by word or thought. Glorious means illustrious, noble, renowned, assignment of title, and celebrated. In my readings of Civil War history it is quite striking to read of that generation’s words concerning their “glorious dead.” To them, North and South alike, their departed loved ones were clothed in the noble splendor of virtuous sacrifice and were reckoned to forever be remembered and associated with bravery and honor.

The biblical word is doxadzo, which means to ascribe weight by recognizing real substance (essence), to praise, to render or esteem glorious. With regard to God, it means to value God for who He really is, to personally acknowledge God in His true character. It is plain to see that to glorify God, real glory can never be truly rendered in a mindless, rote, or mechanical way but must be a product of thoughtful recognition and reflection on God’s excellencies.

There is something of the Morning Glory in 1 Peter 1. Living, breathing, invaluable faith is tested in the darkness of trial, and when the Son of Righteousness appears that faith will be found to be blooming with all the splendor of praise, honor, and glory! In the darkest trial the faith-filled believer, while waiting for the risen Son to return, is cherishing, forming, and brimming with joy inexpressible. He is full of the glory that is yet to be revealed at the Savior’s coming. That day will one day dawn and your glorying will be in full view! Until then “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 13:18). Let’s look at what the Scriptures say about the “Why, What, and How” to glory in the Lord.

Why glorify Him? Not only is giving glory to God commanded (Psalm 22:23, Isaiah 42:12), but all mankind—past, present, and future—will bow the knee and give glory (Philippians 2:10f, Revelation 5:13). God is due all the glory simply by virtue of the fact that He is our Creator (1 Chronicles 16:29). It is the refusal to give God the glory due Him that leads to man’s devolution in dignity and character, and displays man’s depravity (Romans 1:18–32). Reread that passage now that you know that giving glory is to personally acknowledge God in His true character. The offensive sinfulness of man flaunted in the face of the holy, almighty God is breathtaking! Romans 3:23 reveals the extent of total depravity: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But the mark of a genuine believer is that he knows he is even more obligated to give God the glory, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

For what must you glorify Him? You must glorify Him for every deliverance and, especially, the deliverance of your soul from sin and death (Psalm 50:15). All of creation declares His glory (Psalm 19:1ff, Luke 19:37ff), and so you must tell of His wondrous works (Acts 4:21). It is a shame to your testimony as a Christian if your coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends never hear you praise God for His faithfulness and truth (Isaiah 25:1), for His holiness (Psalm 99:9), and for His mercy (Romans 15:9). Your worship and devotion will prompt you to give God the glory before men (Psalm 63:1–5) every day and not just on Sunday.

How can you glorify God? Constantly be on the lookout for things for which to praise Him (Psalm 50:23) and confess Him before men (Philippians 2:14). Trust His promises (Roman 4:20). Honor Him in everything in order to bring glory to Him (1 Corinthians 10:31). Bear fruits of righteousness (John 15:58, Philippians 1:11). Be willing to suffer for His name’s sake (1 Peter 4:14ff) and by His grace bear it patiently (Romans 8:18). Earnestly desire that God may use you to bring glory to Himself (2 Thessalonians 1:12, 3:1).

As you worship and serve Him this week, keep in mind that He is preparing for your glorification (Romans 8:28–30) and every day He is taking steps in that direction (John 17). Live your life as a resurrected life in reflection of the splendor, the honor, the worth of your Creator (1 Corinthians 15:43). Trust and obey.