St. Irenaeus was a Bishop near Lyon, France and he was known for being an early church father and apologist. His writings were critical in the development of Christian theology. He is most famous for writing the book Adversus Haereses which translated means Against Heresies. This book was a detailed attack on Gnosticism which was a serious threat to the beliefs of the church during that time. One of the most quoted lines from St. Irenaeus’ book goes as follows: “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” When you read that line what does it mean to you? Though St. Irenaeus was primarily associated with the Roman Catholic faith, the point he brings up with that line has a lot of truth behind it. In other words he is saying that we bring glory to God by living life to the fullest. We are going to take a deeper look into what it truly means to live life to the fullest, it may or may not be very different from what you perceive it to be.
Some people may consider the phrase, “living life to fullest,” synonymous to the term carpe diem which is Latin for “seize the day.” However, in God’s perspective, fullness of life means something much deeper than that. When God created mankind, His goal and purpose was for His creation to bring glory to him. We as believers achieve and fulfill that purpose through five main avenues of our Christian walk.
- We bring glory to God by worshiping him.
When we think of worship, the first things that pop into our head is usually songs, prayer, and exhortation, but worship is much broader than just those three methods. Worship is something that involves our whole being. Worship is not just limited to what goes on in our churches but rather ALL avenues of our life. Through each moment of each day we are called to live lives of worship to God in everything that we do. Romans 6:13 says it the most clearly:
and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
In this verse, it describes our body as instruments. When we think of an instrument, how does it produce music? It is based on the talents and skills of the musician! Our lives are compared in the same context. God has given us earthly bodies that can be used in either one of two ways. Either as a skilled musician that uses their instrument to produce beautiful music or that of an unskilled musician that produces meaningless sounds without any tune, flow, or rhythm. The instruments design stays the same in both uses but the output has a very different impact in the eyes of the concertmaster. God has designed us as instruments for the specific purpose of glorifying him, but how we live our lives will determine whether we produce a soothing sound in his presence or an indistinct mix of noises without any pattern or purpose.
- We bring glory to God by loving other believers.
The way we treat our fellow believers is also another means of bringing glory to God. I can be the first to tell you that the church is not exactly the ideal picture of unity though in the Bible it is called to be. Many churches have their own set of internal disagreements, problems, egos, and various other misunderstandings between members that prevent it from functioning as intended. God’s word asks us to set those differences aside and PERSONALLY treat others with the love of Christ:
Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
It is easy to remember and bring up past mistakes and hold grudges against people for what they may have done against us because that is the natural characteristic of our sin nature. We are more inclined to pursue instances where we have the “upper hand” and hold a debt against someone rather than forgiving them of past wrong doings and loving them as Christ did toward us. We see another clear description from Christ himself of what we are instructed to do in John 13:
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Think about it, how would our families, friendships, relationships, assemblies, and even communities be if we loved others as Christ loved us! It would be much more different from what we see today. There wouldn’t be as much enmity between believers. There would be much more unity and understanding if Christ love was consistently shown. Looking carefully at the verse, it is not just limited to our fellow believers but the impact also reaches to non believers. When we treat others in the body of Christ with love, even those outside of the faith will both see and understand that there is something positively different about us!
- We bring glory to God by becoming like Christ.
When we become believers, we start getting into the stages of our spiritual walk. We start off as infants who are immature in our faith. The extent of our knowledge may only be limited to salvation at this time. Through the nurturing of the word and our fellow believers we are able to grow out of this infancy and start maturing more and more in our faith. The ultimate end goal and purpose of it all is to transform into the likeness of Christ. That is another way we bring glory to God, by forming more into the image of Christ every day through our words, thoughts, and actions. One verse that describes this pursuit well is:
2 Corinthians 3:18
But 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 from the Lord, the Spirit.
One aspect that really reaches out and grabs my attention from this verse is the word mirror. That is the ultimate goal we are trying to achieve! If you looked into a mirror, you would see an exact replica of yourself on the other side. That is what God wants us to accomplish in our spiritual walk. He wants us to strive to be the exact replica of Christ. Though we may not be able to achieve it perfectly in our time here on earth, we can improve on a daily basis. The growth is as important as the end result! What allows for consistent growth? We see the answer to that in the book of Philippians:
having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Just like we require a balanced diet of three meals a day added nutrition and exercise, our spiritual lives require the same. In order to grow into Christ’s likeness on a daily basis we have to produce fruit on a daily basis. This fruit isn’t the one you can grow in your backyard or buy from the grocery store either, it is the fruit of spirit that comes from practicing our faith.
- We bring glory to God by serving others with our gifts.
The next way that we bring glory to God is through the use of our spiritual gifts. Fruits of the spirit are much different from the spiritual gifts given to a believer. Each believer has the ability to produce the fruits of the spirit BUT each believer does not have to ability to possess all spiritual gifts. There is a reason behind that too! God orchestrated the structure of the church to work as one body with multiple members which is the congregation of any local gathering. Each member of this congregation has at least one spiritual gift that he/she possesses to aid in the growth of the body. Not all the members have all the gifts and no members have no gifts either. This is a collective association of ALL the members with their spiritual gifts to accomplish the purpose that God has given the church. One verse that describes this well is:
1 Peter 4:10-11
10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Each of us has our own spiritual gifts that we excel in. If you are currently not using the gifts that God has given you, you are not fulfilling his will for your life. In order to truly glorify God, we must use the spiritual gifts that we have been given or as it is promised in God’s word, it will be taken away from us. Our church NEEDS us to use the gifts that we have been given in order for it to function properly. If we see a gap within our churches, the first thing we need to ask is what WE can do to fill that gap.
- We bring glory to God by telling others about him.
Last but definitely not least, we bring glory to God through evangelizing to others about the good news of the gospel message. One sign of a true believer is their passion to save lost souls. When we have received the free gift of salvation that has completely turned and transformed our lives, how can we keep that too ourselves? We should have internal desire to share the gospel with those who are close to us and haven’t accepted Christ. Think about your closest family members, friends, or loved ones. Would you be okay with the thought that they would spend their eternity in a state of eternal separation from God with endless suffering? No! That’s not something that we would desire for anyone! We read from 2 Corinthians that God receives so much glory when we as believers take the time to spread the good news of the gospel to others.
2 Corinthians 4:15
For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
Think about the people you are the closest to, are there any among them that don’t know Christ? If so it is OUR responsibility to reach out to them. God has placed us in specific locations among certain people so that he can use us to reach out to them. Don’t think that just because you don’t know the Bible as well as you should or that you lack communication skills that you won’t be effective. Remember we are just vessels that God uses to reach out to lost souls. He will do all the work and he will receive all the glory! We are just the instruments designed with purpose to be used by him!
We were able to cover a handful of ways that we should bring glory to God. We may be strong in some and weak in others but the important thing to remember is the constant striving. When we build our entire focus of our life around glorifying God, we will be blessed for it. God created us for the sole purpose to live our life to the fullest through the means of service to him! Let’s do what we were created for!