What Does It Really Mean To Glorify God? My Word of the Year 2019

What does it really mean to glorify God? Why I chose glorify as my word of the year for 2019.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the custom (albeit a fairly recent one) of selecting a “word of the year” for... well... your year. A Word of the Year is becoming a New Years tradition, much like resolutions, but I personally find it much more meaningful. It becomes something you can focus on for the whole year, instead of trying to stick to a lofty goal that loses momentum within a week. And I think the thing that really makes it meaningful is to let God tell you what your word is (which isn’t as hard as it sounds).

Last Year’s Word

My word for 2018 was... word. You can read the whole story behind it here. Looking back, I can definitely see growth in the areas I was working on. I wanted to get back into reading and writing more, and I did (though I feel I can always do more in this area!). Most importantly I wanted to get into God’s Word more. And I did. This is definitely an area I will be growing in forever, but that’s not a bad thing. This past year I’ve grown in my knowledge of the Word and my passion for the Word. When days pass without spending time in the Word, it is keenly felt. Time spent in the Word is more often viewed as a joy than a chore. And while I’ll continue to grow in the Word this year, and for all the years of my life, I know that God did a lot of work in me last year.

Seeing the need to continue to grow in this area does not have me stuck there, though! I think God has so much in store for me this year, and He’s led me to a new word.

My Word of 2019

For the entire month of December, I felt such an anticipation for the coming year. There is so much I can feel God calling me towards – some of which is still a mystery to me, but some I know about. I wasn’t sure if I would be picking a word of the year for 2019, but in church on the last Sunday of the year a particular word kept coming up during worship and I felt that it was for me.

Glorify.

This word was confirmed for me shortly after when I was studying in Luke 14, as well as a similar passage in Matthew.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-16 NIV

Did you catch it? Glorify.

That settled it for me.

My Word of the Year for 2019 is GLORIFY.

But What Does It Mean?

Glorify sounds like a great, Christian-y, super spiritual word. I could leave it at that, and have you all be in awe of how amazingly holy I am. But (aside from the fact that that is so completely not true) that would completely defeat the point now, wouldn’t it?

I think we all get the basic concept of what it means to “glorify” something – to admire something, to lift it up as important and praise-worthy. We can glorify ourselves, our talents, our possessions, other people, ideas. The point is not in the glory. The value lies in what is being glorified.

So to me, glorify means to lift something or someone up to be praised, other than myself. And that someone is God.

Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness. – Psalm 115:1 NIV

In aiming to center my life around “glorify” this year, I am aiming to center my life around God. Of course, that’s what my goal is every year, every day, every moment. But having the word “glorify” is helping me to remember that God really does come first.

When I just try to remember to center my life around God, that can work for a while, but it can become easy to slip into a pattern of just trying to fill my life with “God things”. And then, even though my life is ordered around these “God things”, somehow the focus can still be taken off of God. I’m reading my Bible – but only because it’s the Christian thing to do and I want to appear like a good Christian. I put myself at the center. I want to be the best youth group leader – but only so the kids will love me best and pick me above the other leaders. I put myself at the center. I want to write a good, powerful Instagram post – but only so I’ll get lots of likes and comments. I put myself at the center.

“Glorify” is helping me to be conscious about my intentions behind my actions. It’s helping me to do less of some things, and more of other things.

“Glorify” is about living my whole life to bring honour to God, and not myself.

While I was studying Luke 14:34-35 and how Christians are meant to be salt, I came across this quote in a study guide.

“Salt is only useful when it has the nature of salt. A Christian is only useful when he or she has the nature of Christ.” – David Guzik

Whoa, that got me. Of course I want to be a useful Christian.

But again, being a useful Christian is completely not about me. Being a useful Christian is totally reliant on God. I can’t be a useful Christian without having Christ in me, so how can I glorify myself in anything? Anything I do that is worth anything, only has value because Christ is in it. So it would make no sense to glorify myself or my accomplishments, because they are not mine.

Get Real

So how do I want this to play out in real life? I guess I’m going to be discovering that more and more this year. But my understanding now, at the beginning of my journey, is this.

In everything, I must ask, “Is this glorifying God?”

Is the way that I write blog posts glorifying God?

Is the way that I work glorifying God?

Is the way I’m treating my husband glorifying God?

Is the way I’m cleaning my house glorifying God?

Is the way I spend time with my friends glorifying God?

Is the way I spend my free time glorifying God?

There are some things (read: sin) that obviously do not glorify God, and so will need to be cut out. There are some things I did before that were not bad, but I could differently so that God is glorified more. And perhaps there are things that I will need to start, so that God can be glorified through me.

My goal this year is to do everything with the nature of Christ, and in all I do, from a widespread impact to the smallest gesture towards one person, that God would be lifted up to be praised.

Do you choose a word of the year? What did you pick for 2019? Comment below! And if you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to like and share!