Glory is a strange concept. The Hebrew word literally translates as “heaviness”, and the Greek word literally translates as “opinion, judgment or view” and also “splendor or brightness” (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). We use the term glory outside of religious conversation from time to time, and it is usually in the context of outstanding achievement – often relating to athletics. And while it is very difficult to define and understand, we all have a concept of glory: the weightiness of worth, the supremacy, the praiseworthiness, the value deserving of highest honor.
In it’s truest sense, God alone has glory. And we cannot add to it nor take away from it. C.S. Lewis stated it brilliantly:
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
– C.S. Lewis
Sometimes we get a little confused because we talk about “giving glory to God” or “glorifying God”. Scripture regularly admonishes us to glorify God:
“For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
– 1 Cor 6.10
“…but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”
– 1 Peter 4.16
But God’s glory is not contingent upon, nor increased by our praise, honor or admiration. Nor is it diminished by our slander or disobedience. To glorify Him simply means to acknowledge and worship Him because of the glory that He has. That is how Desiring God ministries can build their mission statement as “We exist to help you make God your treasure because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. God’s glory is not increased by us knowing Him and being satisfied in Him, rather, we honor Him the most when we are satisfied by Him.
Do you recognize God’s glory? Do you see His weight and splendor in creation? In people? In circumstances? Do you praise Him for it?
“I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.”
– Is 42.8