You will feel conflicted, stressed, and unhappy when you know there is disconnected between your human relationships and your desire to glorify the Lord. But when you are finally able to be in a relationship with another human and you know this relationship is pleasing to the Lord, the joy that is produced is immense.
So what pleases the Lord? There are many good answers to this question. But the ultimate answer is, “glory.” If you really want to please the Lord in a relationship, you have to learn to glorify God through this relationship.
Therefore, here are 4 things God will often do when he’s developing you for a glorifying relationship.
1. When God Is Teaching You What It Actually Means to Glorify Him, This Is a Good Sign He’s Also Developing You to Glorify Him in a Relationship
Christians are notorious for platitudes. A platitude is “a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.”
Perhaps the worst example of this is when it comes to the word “glory.” We say it so often but rarely do we take the time to remember it’s deep meaning. The way I define glory is “the goodness and character of God made visible or knowable to others.” There are many examples in Scripture for why I believe this is a good definition, but perhaps the best place to look is Exodus 33:18-19, which reads:
Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name “The Lord.” And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
When Moses asked to see God’s glory, basically God said “yes” by then stating, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’” In the Bible, especially the Old Testament, names were used to describe people’s character. So when God said he would allow Moses to see his goodness and know his name, he was saying he was going to make his goodness visible and make his character known.
In Genesis 1:27 it says that God made humans in his image. In Isaiah 43:7, it says that God made his people for his glory. It’s the same thing. To glorify God, you must make him known, bearing his image. Thus when we sin and do not bear his image, we “fall short of his glory” (Romans 3:23). Jesus glorifies God the most because he reveals the image of God the most (Colossians 1:15, John 1:14 and 18).
All that to say, to glorify God, we must make Jesus known through our words and actions. When you apply this to your relationships, only then can you glorify God in a relationship. You have to bear the image of God, reflect his character, and live like Jesus in your relationships if you desire to glorify God in those relationships.
For more on this topic, you can read my article What Is the Glory of God According to the Bible?
2. When God Is Teaching You that He Desires Glory Through All Areas of Your Life, This Is a Good Sign He’s Also Preparing You to Glorify Him in a Relationship
Oftentimes we say “glorifying God” is our main job. And like a job, we imagine we can only perform this task by clocking into work. We think we are glorifying God when read our Bible, pray, go to church, serve in a defined ministry at church, tithe, and do many other clearly defined “Christian” tasks. But then like a job, we eventually clock out and go do other things. When you are at home, you are no longer required to work like when you are at your job.
But this is the wrong way to think about glorifying God. Glorifying God is not meant to be a task that is separated from the other parts of your life. It’s meant to be an all-consuming goal that is the motivation for everything we do. Unlike going to work and then leaving work, glorifying God is something we are called to do all the time – when we eat, drink, do ministry, play basketball, pray, read a book, talk to a stranger, go to church, look up at the sky, sing worship songs, watch YouTube, and interact with other people.
In other words, glorifying God is not a separate task from the other things you do in life. Rather, it is meant to be the motivation for why you do everything you do in life. As 1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This means that in everything you do, you seek to bear the image and character of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (Colossians 3:17).
This is so important to realize if you hope to glorify God in a relationship because God will not be glorified by just being “above” this relationship; rather, he will be glorified when you put him first “in” this relationship. God cannot be separated from a relationship if you want him to be gloried through it. Rather, the actions, words, and fruit that are being produced in that relationship must be used to bear his image, make him known, and thus bring him glory.
3. When God Is Teaching You to Value the Right Things in a Partner, This Is a Good Sign He’s Developing You to Glorify Him in a Relationship
Oil and water, vegetarians and the meat lover’s pizza, dogs and chocolate, tight jeans and buffet night, toddlers and fine china – some things just don’t mix! On a more serious note, this is what 1 John 2:15-17 states:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
Relationships always involve two people. You can give love to anyone. But a relationship is about giving and taking. When you take what the world is offering, it mars God’s image in you.
Therefore, we must seek a partner that we can be one in Christ with. As Jesus said in John 17:22-23, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
4. When God Is Teaching You the Meaning of True Love, This Is a Good Sign He’s Preparing You to Glorify Him in a Relationship
If glorifying God means we are making God known by bearing his image, it should be no surprise that to glorify God we must learn to truly love, “for God is love,” (1 John 4:8). There’s a lot to say about true love, but ultimately it comes down to joyfully sacrificing yourself for the benefit of another (John 15:13).
If God is preparing your heart to make meaningful sacrifices for another person, this is a good sign he’s preparing you for a glorifying relationship. As 1 John 4:9-12 explains:
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”
Will you know when you’ve found true love with someone? To answer that question, you may want to read my article, 5 Things that Will Happen When God Is Preparing You for a Love that Will Last.
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