By Alex Bauman
To glorify God means to declare with one’s lips and show with one’s life the greatness and goodness of God. God’s glory is seen most vividly through the testimonies of and demonstrations of God’s power in believers’ lives. God cares deeply about His glory (1 Cor. 1:31; 10:31). He longs for believers, including children, to bring Him glory. Glorifying God is His highest goal for our lives—even for children. Nothing else matters more to Him.
You might argue that there are more important needs in children’s lives than bringing glory to God. What about their needs to be protected and accepted? What about their needs for care and proper nutrition? What about their need for love? And above all else, what about their need for salvation? Certainly these are more important for children than glorifying God.
All of these needs are important to God. No one cares more about meeting them than God, for He loves every single child with an everlasting love. God’s love motivates Him to want the best for every child, and the best, He says in His Word, is living for His glory.
God’s Goal and Eternity
What makes living for God’s glory—denying self and living for Him—better than pursuing self-interests? Eternity does. God is watching believers and is making note of all they do for His glory. When life is over and He calls believers to give an account of their lives, He will reward them with crowns according to their works (2 Cor. 5:10). Whatever they did for God will last forever. Those crowns will be their permanent means of bringing glory to God forever; they will be hard evidence that God is gloriously good and great. Every believer will be overjoyed to glorify God forever. Nothing will be more important, and the desire to glorify God will never fade.
John’s revelation of future events includes a heavenly scene of God’s throne room. Around His throne are 24 elders, who represent the church. The elders cast their crowns before God’s throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11). To be in Heaven and have crowns to cast at God’s feet is the best a person can achieve. God has our best interests at heart.
For every believer, eternity will be all about glorifying God. So the best children can do on earth is to learn to glorify God with their lives right now. The more their lives glorify God on earth, the more capacity they will have to glorify God in Heaven. So what steps do children need to take to realize God’s highest goal for lives?
Step 1: Salvation
The first step is salvation. Only believers can truly glorify God. Ephesians 1 makes clear the connection between salvation and God’s glory. Verse 12 says “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Verses 6 and 14 repeat the ultimate purpose of salvation and its accompanying benefits: “to the praise of the glory of His grace” and “to the praise of His glory.” God saves people so they might ultimately glorify Him.
Step 2: Instruction
The second step children must take to glorify God is to receive instruction. Children must learn God’s truth in His Word to know why God deserves to be glorified. Children are born selfish. Even after salvation, the desire to glorify self is still strong. God’s truth confronts children with their sinfulness and their need to change to be like Christ. It humbles them by teaching them that God is infinitely great and perfectly good. They learn that by God’s grace, they can glorify God as they ought.
The apostle Peter wrote about the need to learn about God. He told believers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). Peter’s epistles warn believers that they must know God’s Word so they can recognize and avoid false doctrines. Peter ends his second epistle with the ultimate goal for such learning: “To Him [Christ] be the glory both now and forever” (3:18). Learning about God and His ways is an essential part of learning to glorify Him.
Step 3: Application
The third step is for children to live for God. Knowledge about God is worthless unless that knowledge is applied to life. If a Bible scholar never learns to live in light of what he knows, he is no more pleasing to God than the person with the basest understanding of Scripture.
The apostle Paul prayed that the church members in Philippi would take their knowledge of God and live by it. He said, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9–11).
Why did Paul pray that the Philippians would be “filled with the fruits of righteousness”? So that God might be glorified. God’s Spirit takes the Word and changes children of God so they live pleasing to Him and thereby glorify Him. God deserves the glory and praise when that happens. No one lives for God on his or her own. God’s power and grace are always involved. Children who live for God demonstrate His power and grace and bring glory to Him as a result.
Later in his epistle, Paul wrote, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12, 13). God gets the glory for the life lived for Him. It is God Who works to accomplish His will in the person’s life.
The Church’s Part in God’s Goal
The work of the church is not done when a child is saved. God designed the church to be the training ground to bring children along to the point of bringing glory to Him. That means the church needs to have a plan in place to teach God’s Word and encourage the practical application of it.
Kids4Truth Clubs is the answer for churches who want to teach their children a systematic understanding of the Bible. It emphasizes salvation, recognizing that only believers can bring glory to God, while also emphasizing the importance of knowing and responding to the truth of God’s Word. In the end, children who complete the program’s four levels of TruthBooks will cycle through 12 doctrinal themes, equipping them to glorify God with their lives.
God’s Word works. Kids4Truth Clubs is based on the truth that God’s Word impacts lives for eternity. It changes children so they desire to glorify God above all else. It prepares them for an eternity of glorifying Him.
Consider making Kids4Truth Clubs an essential part of your ministry to the children God has brought under your care. You can never go wrong with God’s Word. It is powerful and life-changing. It works to accomplish God’s goal of bringing glory to Himself.
Alex Bauman is director of educational resources for Regular Baptist Press.