The context of this verse is about evangelism. The next couple verses say: “Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved” (10:32-33). The practical outworking of living for the glory of God is our evangelistic impact. Obviously, we must first be concerned about our vertical relationship with God but the practical impact of that principle on the horizontal is evangelism.
That means we must aim to please God so that our testimony remains intact. If we are self-focused, selfish, angry, grumpy or obnoxious it undercuts our credibility in evangelism. It is incongruous to try to witness to the restaurant server that you just abused. It is not possible to have the ear of your neighbor if you have been un-neighborly. Your witness seems hollow to the police officer who just pulled you over for speeding. You wouldn’t really expect your co-worker to listen when they know you have cheated the company or lied to a customer.
There is a logic to this progression. We must first and foremost honor God… then we can serve people. The credibility of our words must be supported by our actions. “Do all to the glory of God” is doxological but has real life ramifications for evangelism.
So the next time you quote the “give God glory” verse, make sure you also add the reason for it: evangelism.