God’s glory is the result of His nature and acts. He is glorious in His character, for there is such a store of everything that is holy and good and lovely in God that He must be glorious. The actions that flow from His character are also glorious; but while He intends that they should display to His creatures His goodness and mercy and justice, He is equally concerned that the glory associated with them should be given only to Himself. Not that there is anything in ourselves in which we may glory; for who makes us different from another? And what do we have that we did not receive from the God of all grace? Then how careful we ought to be to walk humbly before the Lord!
The moment we glorify ourselves, since there is room for one glory only in the universe, we set ourselves up as rivals to the Most High. Shall an insect that’s been around for only an hour glorify itself against the sun that warmed it into life? Shall the clay pot exalt itself above the man who fashioned it upon the wheel? Shall the dust of the desert strive with the whirlwind? Or the drops of the ocean struggle with the storm? Give to the Lord, all you righteous, give to the Lord glory and strength; give to Him the honor that is due His name.
It is, perhaps, one of the hardest struggles of the Christian life to learn this sentence—“Not to us, O LORD, not unto us, but to your name give glory.”1 It is a lesson that God is always teaching us, and teaching us sometimes by the most painful discipline. Let a Christian begin to boast, “I can do all things,” without adding “through Christ who strengthens me,” and before long he will have to groan, “I can do nothing” and bemoan himself in the dust. When we do anything for the Lord, and He is pleased to accept our doings, let us lay our crown at His feet and exclaim, “Not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”2