How can Christians glorify God in their relationships? Whether it is in friendship, dating, or marriage, how can we glorify God in how we interact with those we love?
It Helps to Know What the Glory of God Is To Glorify God in Your Relationship
Perhaps one of the most used but least understood words in Christianity is “glory.” Christians say it constantly but few have slowed down enough to actually study what this word means. We will still glorify God even if we don’t know what glory is, but when we know what the Bible actually says about God’s glory, we can be more intentional about actually glorifying him.
I’ve talked a lot about the glory of God in other places, so I will not fully explain everything again right now (read, What Is the Glory of God According to the Bible? or read my book, Intertwined: Our Happiness Is Tied to God’s Glory.) A quick answer is that the glory of God is when the invisible qualities of God are made visible or knowable. In the article mentioned above I state a few examples of how I get this definition about God’s glory:
- When Moses was on the top of Mount Sinai speaking with God, “Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And [God] said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD’” (Exodus 33:18-19). When God visibly showed Moses his goodness and allowed Moses to know and understand the proclamation of God’s name “The LORD,” this is the same thing as showing God’s glory.
- God created the universe, the stars, the world, and everything, and it all bears God’s image to some degree. Thus the Bible states that it all declares his glory (Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:20-23).
- Humans were made for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7). Therefore God made humans in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).
- Lastly, we understand that the glory of God is the invisible made visible through looking at Jesus Christ. Jesus glorifies God the most because he reveals God the most (because he is God made flesh) (John 1:1, John 1:14, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3).
Therefore if you want to glorify God in your relationships, this means you must reveal the character and image of God in your relationships. When you bear his image and reflect God through the way you treat and love the person you are in a relationship with, you are glorifying God in that relationship.
To Glorify God in Your Relationship, You Must Reflect Christ in Your Relationship
So if glorifying God is about bearing his image, it is crucial that we know what God looks like and acts like. But God is invisible, so how can we reflect him whom we have never seen? This is why God himself, Jesus Christ, came to earth.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:3)
If we want to know how to glorify God, we must know Jesus Christ in a personal way. If you don’t know Jesus, you don’t know God, and if you don’t know God, how can you reflect God in your relationship? Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
If you want to glorify God in your relationship, you will treat your significant other like Jesus treats you. It’s not about just being nice, kind, or doing good things for someone. Love is about doing what’s best for someone at whatever cost to yourself. Jesus expressed the highest form of love for us by laying down his life for us (John 15:13).
We do not have to literally die for the people we love, but we do need to die to self for the people we love (Philippians 2:3-5). If we want to reflect Jesus and glorify God in our relationships, we must serve the person we are dating or married to like Christ serves us, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
When You Obey What God Has Said in the Bible, You Will Glorify God in Your Relationship
So to glorify God we must bear God’s image, and to bear God’s image we must act like Jesus, but how do we know how Jesus lived and acted since he is now in heaven at God’s right hand? This is why the Bible is so crucial.
Without the Bible we will not know the true Jesus. We may think Jesus did this or that, but when we just assume we know Jesus because of what others have said or what the culture portrays him to be, we are filling in the blanks on our own and we do not know Jesus.
The Bible points to Jesus in the Old Testament, the Bible reveals Jesus in the gospels, and the Bible teaches us to live like Jesus in the epistles. The whole Bible is all about Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27). Secondly, the Bible is not just a random list of do’s and don’ts. The laws of God are a reflection of his character. Murder is not wrong because God randomly said so, as though if he said it was right murder would have been good. All the laws reveal the character of God.
We are to be holy because God is holy (1 Peter 1:16). We are not to murder because God is just. We are not to commit adultery because God is faithful. We are not to bear false testimony because God is true. God has revealed himself through his laws. When we obey the word of God it is like we are reading the director’s script and playing our part in the play. When we disobey the word of God it is like we are going off script and thus we are not playing our part in the play and no longer reflecting God.
What is sin? The word “sin” literally means to miss the mark. It’s a word that comes from archery, so when the arrow misses the bullseye it is a “sin.” When we obey God’s laws, we are acting like God. When we act like God we are reflecting his image and hitting the mark of glorifying him. When we sin we miss the mark of reflecting God and thus “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). You’d think this verse would say “all have sinned and fall short of obedience” but sin is not merely a lack of obedience. Sin is missing the mark of glorifying God.
Therefore if you want to glorify God in your relationship, you have to obey God’s word in your relationship. You might think God is a certain way or that he wants you to love this person in a certain way, but if you violate what God has said in his word you are missing the mark of glorifying God. Premarital sex, marrying an unbeliever, and sinning in other ways forbidden is Scripture is a lack of reflecting God’s character, thus when we disobey the word of God in our relationships we are not glorifying God.
How to Glorify God in Your Relationship
If you want to glorify God in your Christian relationship, you have to reveal the character of God in that relationship. The more you imitate Christ the more you will bear the image of God. We can never act like Christ without the Holy Spirit living in us. Learning to glorify God is a lifelong pursuit, but none of us can do it without the grace of God.
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