By Michael Youssef
"A praise-filled life reminds us who God is—not who we want Him to be, but who He really is."
If you were to ask Isaiah, What is your life's purpose?, he would answer, "That I might proclaim God's praise" (see Isaiah 43:21). Or if you were to ask the same of Peter after his repentance and restoration following his denial of Christ, he would profess, "That I might bring praise, glory, and honor to Christ Jesus my Lord" (see 1 Peter 1:6-7). And Paul would undoubtedly respond, "My life is for the praise of His glory" (see Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).
We were made to praise our Creator—but not because He needs or craves our flattery. Rather, it is because He knows that praise creates joy and thankfulness. A praise-filled life places us in a position to daily receive the blessings of God. It is through praise that we draw near to the throne room of the Almighty and develop a deeper love for Jesus. A praise-filled life reminds us who God is—not who we want Him to be, but who He really is. And that kind of focus will utterly transform our lives.
Let's look at the four ways that the praise-filled life renews our minds, hearts, and wills so that we can press on and stand firm whatever trials we face in this life.
1. PRAISE REVEALS OUR TRUE SPIRITUAL CONDITION.
In Matthew 12:34, Jesus said, "[T]he mouth speaks what the heart is full of," meaning we cannot separate what we think from what we say. Our words express what we believe at our core. If you are in a fighting mood all the time, it's a sign of pride and arrogance. If you have a dissatisfied attitude and are discontent with everyone and everything, you have a critical spirit. Your lips will reveal what is truly in your heart; therefore, your praising lips are in direct proportion to your believing and trusting heart.
2. PRAISE REINFORCES OUR PERSONAL DESTINY.
The struggles and trials of this world can be overwhelming; they can make us lose sight of our true destiny in Christ. When we focus on the problems and sufferings of this life, the eternal life becomes foggy and unreal, leading us into fear, pessimism, and depression. But praise renews our hope by lifting our eyes from our current position to our heavenly position—from the temporary to the permanent. Our eyes will immediately recognize the smallness of our problems in relation to the bigness of our God. In praise, God's presence will fill you to overflowing so that, as God's praise dominates your thoughts, His perspective on your situation will become your perspective. And you'll be lifted up.
3. PRAISE REESTABLISHES GOD'S REIGN IN OUR HEART.
4. PRAISE REINFORCES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
It is so important that we begin our day—every day—in unhurried praise of our Lord. As we dwell on His names and attributes, we'll be reminded of our deep sinfulness and our failures. We'll be properly humbled before Him. But then immediately, He will lift us up with the awesomeness of His grace and mercy. Praise reminds us of how little we comprehend God's love and wisdom. It makes us say with Job, "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. . . . My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:1, 5-6). But note that we do not recognize our inadequacy so that we go through life sulking and despondent. While praise leads us to be realistic about our sins and shortcomings, it ultimately brings us to repentance and therefore victory to minister as God's hands and feet in this world. Praise gives us a deep appreciation for the grace of God that will motivate us to serve His Kingdom all our days.
MAKING PRAISE A PRIORITY
Developing a praise-filled life demands that we change. Most people don't want to change; they prefer their comfort zone and their routine. But we must make praise a priority as a daily discipline. Praise is the one thing we can do to align ourselves with the courts of heaven. You see, when we take time to praise God throughout the day, it is nearly impossible to harbor anger, bitterness, resentment, or hatred. It is impossible for a negative spirit toward others and a positive spirit toward the Lord to coexist. One will give way, and I know which one is going to disappear as we set our eyes on the God who is love.
My friend, make a permanent change today. Make it a habit for one week and then the next and the next to bless the Lord first thing in the morning and throughout the day. As you daily lift up the name of Jesus, praising His character, His work of redemption, His forgiveness, grace, and mercy, you will be carried all day long in the peace and joy that surpass understanding.