“If you find yourself with a desire that no experience in this world can satisfy, then the most probable explanation is that you were made for another world.” – C. S. Lewis
Soli deo Gloria is a Latin term for Glory to God alone.
What does glory to God alone mean? Simply put, it means that whatever we do in our lives should ultimately be for the glory of God. Now, that sounds simple and is not too difficult to understand, isn’t it?
Do you however, know that it is not only what humans do which glorify God, but all that God does is also for His own glory? Yes, it is true, you could see it for yourself in Ephesians 1:4-6, 11-13. From these verses, we can see that our salvation is not the ultimate purpose of God’s doing. It is penultimate, meaning the second to the ultimate. The ultimate purpose is for His glory. This indeed is not a very common thought that people have and many often find this concept strange and stumble upon it.
Why is that so? The reason is obvious – we don’t like people who draw attention to themselves and who are constantly seeking compliments or praises. The bible itself refrains us from being proud, and doing things with the goal of glorifying our own names. We are in fact taught to be humble. So why did God say that everything we do is for His glory alone and why is it that all God does is also for His own glory? Even C. S. Lewis, before converting into a Christian, stumbled upon this concept and wrote that, “It seems to me that God is a woman who lives on others’ compliments, insecure, and deems self worthy only when praised.” Erik Reece, the writer of An American Gospel, also had trouble accepting and understanding this concept. He said, “Who is this man? He is a stranger and we don’t know him, and yet he said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. Who is this egomaniac, how could he say that we should love him more than the people closest to us?”
God says that He is the God of love. But how is it possible that He loves us when everything He does is ultimately for His own glory? One way to comprehend this concept is by looking at the words of Augustine:
“You (God) have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”
This implies that we have been created for Him. Hence, when God tells us to glorify Him, it is good news for us. Why? Just imagine witnessing something beautiful or enjoying something great (taking in a beautiful scenery, eating delicious food, reading a great book), and yet not being allowed to express how you feel? Isn’t shouting out praises and expressing our awe, admiration, and joy the natural thing to do? And doesn’t doing these complete our joy? God has made us for Himself and put inside us a longing to reach out to Him. Thus, when we enjoy God – His presence, His love, His being, His blessings – and thus glorify, worship, and praise Him, we are actually doing it not only for God’s glory, but also for the fulfilment of our own joy and longings and for our own good.
“God is more glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” – John Piper