Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.
We can parrot these phrases, but can we practice them?
Why practice praise?
God knows He’s good, loving, omniscient, etc. He doesn’t need us to boost His ego. He is the one who wrote a book that describes Himself. He’s the great I Am. God isn’t going to forget who He is.
But we will.
Every time we sin, we forget who He is. When trials come, our memory of His character goes.
The process of praise moves our hearts to repeat the truths of God to God. He longs for us to praise Him so we can live in freedom and victory. We can’t simultaneously declare our worth in Him and feel worthless. We cannot proclaim His goodness and believe that He is causing all of the terrible things in our lives. We can’t have a heart bursting with gratitude for the sunset while cursing the colors of the sky.
Praise puts our hearts in the proper perspective. When we declare the amazing character of God, guilt must get lost. Self-esteem must surge. Loneliness must become lonely. Worry must worry about its lifespan. Humility must be exalted. Love must loosen our grip on fear and control.
Yet we are prone to seeking the perks of praise by assigning praise to ourselves. Or by playing pretty music so we can coax praise to slither out of the mouths of others. And, oh, we are expert musicians. We work long hours for admiration. We do the yes dance; every time we accept a request we are requesting to be accepted. We find subtle ways to make our accomplishments known. There are thousands of songs we have memorized by heart.
Whenever we obtain applause from our audience, our pride takes a bow. Then pride stands taller after straightening its spine. But its spine is fragile, ready to collapse when the audience fails to notice our actions. A broken backbone of pride puts our self-worth in critical condition and causes catastrophic damage. It mocks, flogs, tortures, gossips, discourages, criticizes, and crucifies.
It is much healthier to allow our humility to take a low bow, a bow that earnestly and sincerely seeks to lift up others with encouragement. True humility has a spine that is strong enough to lift up One. It is absent of ulterior motives; it is incapable of being infected with flattery. It does not have enough hands to lift up itself while lifting up others. True humility simply delights in shining light on others.
God possess true humility. He desperately desires for us to know how much He loves us and how valuable we are to Him. We have no need to crave the praise of others; He is begging us to listen to His praise for us. We are His servants, with whom He is well pleased.