(Image courtesy of http://i.imgur.com/EqNVAum.jpg.)
The first answer to the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, a historical document that is theologically timeless, states: "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."  But what does that mean?  How does one attain to this commonly repeated Christian summation of life, "glorify God"?

First, we would do well to look at the second answer to the second question in the Catechism to find the answer: "The Scriptures contained in the Old and New Testaments is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him."  This helps us get closer to answering the question.  We know that we must find the answer to how we may glorify God in God Himself.

This shouldn't be surprising.  When a manufacturer builds a product and ships it to consumers, they leave directions on how the product ought to be used; that is, how the consumer may receive the greatest joy in the product.  A light bulb would be no good in a game of whiffle ball; a box fan would serve as a lousy piece of exercise equipment.  The Creator directs us how we are to enjoy what He has made, to His glory and to our enjoyment.

One could conclude, then, that God receives the most glory when we are the most joyful in Him.

When one is joyful about something, what happens?  Let's consider a small example: a child receives a birthday present from his parents.  He is thrilled!  It is just what he has always wanted.  If he has good training, he will express his joy with thankfulness and praise.  He will talk often to his friends about the great gift he has received and how kind and generous his parents are to afford him such a gift.  In a word that we would most likely never attribute to the situation, yet fits by definition, the child worships his parents for the gift they gave him and gives them continual worship when he enjoys the present he received.

Let's think about this in terms of glorifying God.  Everything that we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste in this life is owned by God.  Out of nothing He created everything.  We learn this from His Word, but also from His creation.  One has to only consider the complexity of the world around us to discover that God, not man or chance, created everything that has been made.  This is cause for worship in itself; who else can create something out of nothing?  It is impossible.  Science can never explain how the universe exploded into being from nothing.

Not only is everything owned by God, but everything is given as a gift by God to us.  This means that the sunrise this morning was given by God, and it reveals His glory.  "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).  But is enjoying the sunrise enough to glorify God?  He made it, but if we never mentally assent to the knowledge that He made it, are we glorifying God?  We might just think, "Wow, what a beautiful sunrise" and never once consider the Creator.  Is that glorifying God?  Or must we think, "Wow, a beautiful sunrise.  God, thank you for giving us this gift to enjoy..." in order to glorify God?

The truth is, God receives glory in what He has made.  Did you catch what Psalm 19:1 said?  It attributes the heavens as giving glory to God and the sky proclaiming His work without any reference to man.  The very heavens glorify God all by themselves! "He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out" (Luke 19:40).  God always receives glory, regardless of man's ability to recognize it.  All glory is owned by Him.

So then, we come to the end of this thought - and we haven't made it very far in many regards.  What are we left to do?  We certainly ought not to do as the pagans do, who worship the created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1).  On the contrary, the people of God ought to worship God always, in all things, at all times.  This is, after all, the purpose of the Church: to worship God, for great is His Name!  The prophet Ezekiel received the knowledge of what God was going to do for His own glory by creating a Church through His Son that would worship Him:
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came.  And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.  I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God" (Ezekiel 36:22-28).
God gives man the ability to glorify Him; namely, at regeneration, He takes away the sinner's heart of stone and gives him a heart of flesh.  He sets the repentant rebel free, giving him the freedom to choose what is good and to deny what is evil.  In so doing, He makes sure His Name will be holy and certain He will receive glory.  He has accomplished this through His Son, Jesus.  Amen!

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him" (John Piper).