Life can be tough, right? As followers of Christ we are not immune to hardships and difficulties which can affect our outlook on life and cause us to have an ongoing negative attitude. How do you combat the problem of pessimism and negative thinking? Read a self-help book? Change your environment? Binge watch The Three Stooges? I believe none of the above suggestions will provide the remedy (although watching The Stooges certainly has merit). Instead, the answer is to be God-centered in our thinking. To be God-centered doesn’t mean we deny problems or difficult circumstances; it does mean we view problems from God’s perspective. The more we focus on God in every situation a transformation will take place, which can be characterized by praise. That’s right: praise to God is the antidote to pessimism.
Can you say that your life is God-centered? Do you focus on Him more than anything else? The more we are God-centered in all areas of our lives, the more we will be a person of praise. To help us with praise, God gave us the book of Psalms. Psalms is the praise book of the Bible. It gives us hundreds of reasons why praise is important, as well as giving examples of how to give praise to God. Why should we praise God? First, His attributes deserve praise. God is full of glory (Psalm 138:5), great (Psalm 145:3), good (Psalm 107:8), merciful and faithful (Psalm 89:1), and so many more. Second, God deserves praise for His many wonderful works. He is the One who saves us (Psalm 18:46), pardons sin (Psalm 103:1-3), and gives us our daily food (Psalm 136:25). Finally, Psalm 148:1-10 states that all of creation is commanded to give praise to God. Praise is a vital part of a surrendered life to God, and it gives credit where credit is due.
Praise can be expressed through singing and music, lifting our hands, lying prostrate, standing or sitting, through testimony and thanksgiving, prayer, sacrificial service, and giving. Psalm 150 gives us the where, why, how and who of praise. If we want praise to characterize our lives, the psalmist would have us understand that we praise Him everywhere ¬– both on earth and in heaven. We praise every act and every attribute of God. Verses 3-5 can be summarized that we are to praise God “with everything we have.” Finally, verse 6 says if you can breathe, you should praise the Lord! Psalm 150 is impactful in that in six short verses we are commanded to praise God no less than 13 times.
Finally, God commands us to praise Him, which means that praise is not just a feeling based on your mood or circumstances. Praise is partly a heart feeling, but it is more importantly a matter of obedience to God. It is the result of being God-centered in your thinking. May God be at the forefront of all areas of your life. May you praise Him again and again and again.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”