Today, let us explore the theme of praise, the act of giving glory to God. Or, in a more literal sense of the word, to illuminate those around us about God’s character. We often think of praise as openly thanking God for what He has done for us. However, praise is not meant to be simply a response to pleasant or desirable circumstances; it is an acknowledgment of the inherent goodness and sovereignty of God, despite our circumstances.
The Bible poetically articulates this in Psalm 34:1, "I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Here, David does not merely suggest a conditional acknowledgment of God’s goodness but rather a constant, unwavering lifestyle of praise. It implies an attitude that transcends our immediate situations, good or bad, and recognizes God’s omnipotence and love as the ultimate constant of our lives.
In practice, embracing a lifestyle of praise means cultivating a heart that finds a reason to be grateful and glorifies God in every situation. When we are successful, it is easy to praise the Lord, but the true depth of our faith is often revealed in how we react during trials. As James 1:2 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations." This is not a call to enjoy suffering, but a call to understand that in any of our challenges, there is an opportunity to deepen our trust in God and to praise Him for His presence and guidance.
A heart filled with praise will influence our interactions with others. Ephesians 4:29 tells us, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Our words can be a powerful tool for not only expressing praise to God but also for helping us build up those around us. When we speak words of encouragement, hope, and positivity, we are effectively praising God by recognizing and affirming His image and attributes in others.
Additionally, praise extends beyond our words; it is also reflected in our actions. As we read in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which art in heaven." Our acts of kindness, compassion, and integrity are forms of praise that shine a light on the goodness of God and draw others towards Him.
So, how do we make praise a practical, everyday reality? We can start by setting aside time each day for reflection and gratitude, acknowledging God’s hand in our lives. We can use our words to uplift others and let our actions testify to the goodness of God’s grace. Remember, praise is not contingent on our circumstances but is a constant celebration of who God is, regardless of our circumstances.
Praise, then, is not just an act but a state of being, a life lived in constant awareness and acknowledgment of God’s goodness, mercy, and sovereignty. So may we strive to embody this spirit of praise, transforming not only our own lives but also the lives of those around us.