17 Ways to Glorify God with Your Life
Reprinted from ChurchLeaders.com as edited by Andrew Hess
Thomas Watson’s timeless advice for making much of God in your life helps us know how to glorify God. This list was first printed by Puritan Thomas Watson in 1692 in his bestselling classic, A Body of Practical Divinity.
1. We glorify God when we aim purely at his glory.
“I seek not mine own glory, but the glory of him who sent me.” (John 8:50)
“Father, glorify your name.” (John 12:28)
Thomas Watson: “It is one thing to advance God’s glory, another thing to aim at it. God must be the ultimate end of all actions.”
2. We glorify God when we sincerely confess our sin.
“Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.’” (Joshua 7:19)
Thomas Watson: “The thief on the cross had dishonored God in his life, but at his death he brought glory to God by confession of sin.”
3. We glorify God when we believe by faith.
“No unbelief made him (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God” (Romans 4:20)
Thomas Watson: “Faith knows there are no impossibilities with God, and will trust him where it cannot trace him.”
4. We glorify God when we are tender to his glory.
“For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.” (Psalm 69:9)
Thomas Watson: “When we hear God reproached, it is as if we were reproached; when God’s glory suffers, it is as if we suffered.”
5. We glorify God when we bear spiritual fruit.
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) Thomas Watson: “It is not profession, but fruit that glorifies God.”
6. We glorify God when we are content in the state Providence has placed us.
“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.” (Psalms 16:5)
Thomas Watson: “A good Christian argues: It is God that has put me in this condition; he could have raised me higher, if he pleased, but that might have been a snare to me; he has done it in wisdom and love; therefore I will sit down satisfied in my condition.”
7. We glorify God when we work out our own salvation.
Thomas Watson: “What an encouragement is this to the service of God, to think, while I am hearing and praying, I am glorifying God.”
8. We glorify God when we live to God.
“…and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)
“For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:8)
Thomas Watson: “We live to God when we live to his service, and lay ourselves out wholly for God.”
9. We glorify God when we walk cheerfully.
“…who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
Thomas Watson: “It brings glory to God, when the world sees a Christian has that within him that can make him cheerful in the worst times.”
10. We glorify God when we stand up for his truths.
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)
Thomas Watson: “When we are advocates for truth we glorify God.”
11. We glorify God when we praise him.
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalms 50:23)
“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” (Psalms 86:12)
Thomas Watson: “Praising God is one of the highest and purest acts of religion. In prayer we act like me; in praise we act like angels.”
12. We glorify God when we are zealous for his name.
“Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy.” (Number 25:11)
“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” (Revelation 2:2)
Thomas Watson: “Zeal is impatient of God’s dishonor; a Christian fired with zeal takes a dishonor done to God worse than an injury done to himself.”
13. We glorify God when we remember God in our eating and drinking.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Thomas Watson: “A gracious person holds the golden bridle of temperance; he takes his food as a medicine to heal the decays of nature, that he may be fitter, by the strength he receives, for the service of God.”
14. We glorify God when we labor to draw others to God; seek their conversion, and so make them instruments of glorifying God.
“My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19)
Thomas Watson: “It is a great way of glorifying God, when we break open the devil’s prison, and turn men from the power of Satan to God.”
15. We glorify God in a high degree when we suffer for God, and seal the gospel with our blood.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go. Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.” (John 21:18-19)
Thomas Watson: “The glory of Christ’s kingdom does not stand in worldly pomp and grandeur, as other kings’; but it is seen in the cheerful sufferings of his people.”
16. We glorify God when we give God glory of all that we achieve.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Thomas Watson: “As the silkworm, when she weaves her curious work, hides herself under the silk, and is not seen; so when we have done anything praiseworthy, we must hide ourselves under the veil of humility, and transfer the glory of all we have done to God.”
17. We glorify God when we live a holy life.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
Thomas Watson: “Though the main work of religion lies in the heart, yet our light must so shine that others may behold it.”
Modified from: Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, pp. 10-18