The Depth of Praise

Photo by Chrissy Snyder

by Bill Rudge

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6  

Many of you love to praise the Lord and attend churches that have awesome worship services, and that’s wonderful. But I want to go a little deeper with this concept by asking a few questions.

Do you also have a passion to live your life in such a way so as to praise and glorify the Lord physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? Is your body a living sacrifice – or focused on a pursuit of personal pleasure? Are you a positive witness – or are your words and example a hindrance to non or new believers? Is your mind being renewed by deep, daily Bible study – or programmed through secular movies, music, and media? Are you being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ – or reflecting the values and lifestyle of the world around you? Are you walking in the Spirit and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit – or indulging in the lusts of the flesh?

You may praise and exalt the Lord with your mouth and raise your hands to worship Him, but if your heart is far away and your life dishonors Him, your praise is empty and meaningless.

…These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me… (Isaiah 29:13).

Jesus, quoting the prophet Isaiah, rebuked the religious leaders of His day by exclaiming –

Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me” (Mark 7:6).

What I seek to convey is that we must worship the LORD “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24) – with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We must discontinue any behavior (no matter how much we enjoy it or have an “addiction” to it) which brings dishonor to our Lord, and instead embrace that which reflects His nature. We must cultivate a desire to walk in obedience to His Word and Spirit. We must have a passion to bring honor to His name and daily seek to glorify Him with our words, thoughts and behavior.

Acknowledge Greatness

While we are on the topic, let’s address another component of praise. I used to think God was an ego maniac or very insecure because he commanded His creation to praise Him. I sure didn’t want to spend eternity doing nothing but singing worship songs – there were too many adventures to experience and places to explore.

My thinking could not have been further from the truth. The biblical concept of praise is an acknowledgement of someone or something’s greatness. It is natural to acknowledge and praise one’s wife for her beauty, a delicious meal, a phenomenal feat by an athlete, the talent of an outstanding musician, the skill of an exceptional surgeon and so on. How much more natural it should be to acknowledge and praise the greatness of our God and Creator, the incredible variety and wonder of His limitless creative wisdom, His amazing majesty, love, mercy and goodness!

“The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).

All of creation exists to display His glory. The universe was designed for us to enjoy – one day as a renewed paradise. How can any reasonable person not acknowledge, appreciate and praise the Creator?

The more I come to know the Lord Jesus Christ the more amazing He becomes to me. How can I refrain my heart and lips from that recognition and not acknowledge Him for Who He is? How can I withhold thanksgiving and praise after all He has done, is doing, and has promised to do?

Only a fool, or someone consumed with jealousy, would withhold praise in light of God’s magnificence and overwhelming splendor.

Words are inadequate to communicate God’s reality in my life so I strive to worship Him with all of my being. The depth of my love for the Lord compels me to praise and honor Him in every way possible.