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5 Practices to Help You Glorify God


When I first started trying to make it as a professional musician, I didn’t know what I was doing. Songwriting was a way to process what I was thinking about in my early 20s—mainly questions about relationships and finding meaning and direction in life. And playing music helped me explore the emotion behind my thoughts.

I didn’t have a grand philosophy of what it meant to be a Christian involved in the arts. I was just doing it.

I knew I wanted to write music in conversation with my favorite artists: Passenger, Ben Howard, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, and others. I dreamed of sharing the stage with them at festivals like Glastonbury or busking with Passenger in a park. I spent hours after work playing my guitar in a dim room flooded with ambient blue lights. I’d toss lines around in my head and on paper, experimenting with how to express the emotion of the songs. 

When I shared my dreams and songs with older Christians, their responses occasionally gave me the feeling they thought I might be wasting my talent. As though I should be putting my effort toward glorifying God instead. One encounter with a friend’s parents sticks out in my mind—they were confused and concerned when they heard I didn’t write “Christian music” (songs for Christian Radio). I never wanted to make music that could be on K-Love. I still don’t have any desire to, but their reaction made me wonder if I was doing something wrong…

Am I glorifying God with the music I create? Or am I doing a disservice to my belief in Christ by not writing songs passionately and explicitly proclaiming my faith?

If I’m not glorifying God, then I’m living in active conflict with God’s will for my life…and that’s heavy. I felt burdened. I wanted to glorify God through music—were my only options to be a worship leader or write music for CCM?  

The Expansive Gospel

I grew up in a culture where the gospel was simply that Jesus died for me, saving me from the penalty my sin deserves. And I agree. What a true and wholly biblical statement! We must see the destruction our sin brings to others, our world, and ourselves—and how it dishonors our creator. We need to take sin seriously and change our ways, seeking to walk in the way of Jesus instead.  

The problem with this view of the gospel is not that it is incorrect but that it’s limited. It doesn’t tell the whole story, so it may perpetuate the idea that only that which explicitly testifies to man’s sinfulness and Jesus’s death and resurrection is valuable.  

Over time, my understanding of the gospel has expanded to include God’s original purpose in creation and what he is doing in and through the redemption Jesus brings. The story God is writing in history is not less than my sin and need for a savior… it’s much more. God’s kingdom is here. Jesus fulfills the Old Testament promises.  

And when we acknowledge that Jesus is king of this kingdom, he invites us into the original work God gave humanity in Genesis: spreading his goodness, character, and purposes across the earth, filling and subduing it.

The implication here is that everything is made by God and for God. The very act of writing, singing, and playing music all point to the great creator—it spreads God’s goodness, character, and purpose. And so, it is valuable.   

However, because we live in fallen world, everything I do reveals my rebellious heart as well as the image of God. There’s no pure intention in me that doesn’t get altered by sin’s deceit. So, it is vital for me to live my life in a way that guards against sin’s temptations and pitfalls.

How to Glorify God

How do we glorify God, reflecting who he is to the world? We must bring every area of life into conversation with God. Letting him have final say in our relationships, work, hobbies, rest, and the resources he’s given us to steward.  

Here are 5 practices to help you glorify God by bringing your whole life in line with the way of Jesus.  

1. Get involved in your local church.

Attending worship, giving time and resources (even if you don’t have much) to the church, bearing with other Christians in messy, real community—God uses these habits and sacrifices to transform you into who he intends you to be… especially when these things challenge your comfort and preferences.  

2. Be responsible with your gifts.

Practice. Learn the details of your tools and craft. Challenge yourself to move in the direction of mastery. Work hard and enjoy the process (not just the result). View your work as a good gift from God. 

3. Keep learning.

Learn about God and about the context you live in. Know his word so that you can remember it when you need it. Ask God for wisdom and discernment in the place he has placed you. And seek the advice of those who are also living to glorify God.

4. Look for opportunities.

Pray that God provides opportunities for you to use your gifts for his purposes. Cultivate a heart that seeks to serve. And keep your eyes open for opportunities to help those in need.  

5. Keep in step with repentance.

Repentance is turning away from sin and toward God. And it’s not a one-time event. So, take an audit of your life. How do you spend your time? How do you spend your money? How do you treat the people you interact with daily? Are these in line with the Way of Jesus? Chances are they aren’t—that’s the reality of our condition.

In what ways could God be calling you to change the priorities of your life to align with his? How will you respond to his gracious invitation to spread his beauty, love, just, and mercy in the world?

I strive to live a life that is grounded in a biblical worldview and follows the way of Jesus so that everything I do points to the goodness God intended from the beginning. I certainly have more to learn, more repenting to do, more practice ahead of me, but I’m excited to do this because I know Jesus is working in me and through me.  

I get immense pleasure hearing that my songs play on 102.3 BXR from time to time next to songs that come from a different worldview because I think the difference shows. Maybe someone will notice the contrast and wonder about their own view of the world. Maybe someone will enjoy the music and experience the common grace with which God sustains his world. Either way, God gets the glory.   

This means knowing the bigger story God is writing in history, recognizing what distracts me from that true story, and establishing rhythms to guide me to a life that reflects the goodness of God.

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