When I was in grade school, my religion teacher told me that everything I do should be done for the glory of God. That sounded strange. Why would God need me to glorify him?
Is the Creator of the universe insecure? Is he incomplete if I don’t honor him? Does he sulk when I forget to praise him?
I pondered. Is God an egomaniac?
Is he a cranky old man with a white beard ready to lash out at me when I fail to give him the glory for helping me find my lost Tonka truck? Is he a superhero with an inferiority complex likely to throw lightning bolts at me if I fail to worship him? Worse yet, is he an angry God who’s going to throw me into hell because I stole that piece of bubblegum?
These childhood images of God shook me with fear. I wasn’t sure I could trust him because he seemed as moody as my religion teacher.
God is Already Complete
As I grew older, however, I learned I had God all wrong. God is love. He doesn’t need me to give him glory, because he’s already complete regardless of whether I praise him.
Rather, giving God glory helps me remember God and I are in this thing called life together. I’m the human and he’s the divine. We’re a team. And when God and I work together, when I listen and follow his guidance, we co-create and multiply love in the world. But when I try and do things on my own without divine input, I usually make mistakes, sometimes big ones that hurt myself and others.
When I Googled the word “glory” the other day, I came across this definition in the Urban Dictionary:
“He is the most beautiful structure you could ever lay your eyes on. He is someone that wants to love and protect anything that really means a lot to him. He loves you at your best and also at your worst. He loves you enough to love you more than he loves himself. He is your king and you should try your hardest to keep this unique figure. He is not an everyday human being.”
I’m not sure if the writer at Urban Dictionary intended to describe God and why it’s important to keep God in our lives, but it seemed to me that this definition of glory is a great description of the Creator. The Creator is the source of our being. He loves us at our best and our worst. He wants to love and protect us because we’re a big deal to him. And when we give glory to God, God doesn’t change—we do. We remember we’re on the same team.
God Doesn’t Need Glory
So, do I still believe God is an egomaniac? No. I think my childhood image of God was all wrong.
And now that I’m learning that God is the source of unconditional love and wisdom, I’m hoping to hang out with him more, because the more I do, the more things seem to go right in my world.
So, I’m giving God the thanks and the glory not because he needs it, but rather because I do, so I can connect more deeply with my inner self and the God who’s passionately in love with us.
—brian j plachta
originally published in Converge Magazine