Is it selfish for God to ask for praise?

A high schooler once asked me: “Why is God always saying to glorify him? Isn’t that sort of selfish?”  

Good question. If any of us did that it would certainly be a selfish thing to do!

Here’s the difference. God wants the best for us, and he himself is actually the best. So when we glorify him, not only is it because he deserves it, but because we are richer for centring our lives on the very best thing there is in the entire universe—himself! 

If we were to give someone else (or something else) the glory that only God deserves, we would be depriving ourselves of what is actually best!

I believe that all people have a deep longing to know and serve God—even if they are currently in denial of that fact. God has wired us to be in relationship with him. When we fail to glorify and acknowledge God, there will always be something missing. Over 1600 years ago Augustine captured this idea in a prayer: “you made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.”*

No peace. Until they rest in you.

In an anxious age, rest securely in the fact that he has already accomplished everything that matters most. And for that be eternally grateful. 

Glorify God. Love him. Learn about him. Seek to serve him. He wants the best for us, is the best for us, and invites us to place what is best at the centre of our lives. Just as any parent wants the best for their children, so does our Heavenly Father want the best for us.

Psalm 16:11 is another prayer, inspired by God himself: “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”


–*Augustine, Confessions, trans. R.S. Pine-Coffin (London: Penguin, 1961), 21.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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