Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. — Psalm 63:3
The topic this quarter deals with the subject of praise. While it is a command, giving God praise is a privilege and an honor. God has done so much for us, how can we not return and exalt Him with the fruit of our mouth? Our hearts should be full of praise even in times of difficulty, and our lips should praise the Lord.
There are many more scriptures on this subject than there was room to mention in this issue. It is interesting with so much taught on praise, that many holiness people still view it as a preference, although they cling doggedly to doctrines that are taught in just two or three places. No truth should be minimized, but we should pay special attention to a doctrine that is so fundamentally taught in the Bible.
Some of the richest times of praise I have experienced have been between just the Lord and me in the privacy of my office or driving down the road. However, I have been tempted to stifle that praise in collective worship. Let us stand against the design of the enemy who is trying to put a muffler on our praise to the Lord. The saints have a wonderful heritage of praise and thanksgiving. Many of the songs of God’s people are songs of praise and adoration to the Lord. It is right and it is fitting for God to be praised with a heartfelt, Spirit-led exclamation.
There are congregations which were once vibrant and full of vitality with a spirit of praise that are now quiet and dull. God wants His people to be on fire in pursuit of His will. The verbal expression is far less important than the life lived, but we are commanded to have an outward expression of an inward experience. There will be times of quiet reverence but there should also be times of much rejoicing. Too many are beginning to fall short of the Bible standard in living a life of praise. Praising God does not start in a church service but in the personal life of communion with the Lord.
True praise is not a coerced or constrained demonstration but a freewill act of the heart. The Lord wants us to create by His Spirit an environment and atmosphere that is conducive to praise.
May we seek God to be faithful in praise, for as God is exalted, we are blessed in our own spirits.
Michael W. Smith