Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150: 6

 

This is the final note of the last chorus of the great choral piece that is the Psalms. Praise is the point of it all. The word praise is defined as, “An expression of approval or admiration.” That is very mild in comparison to what the writer of this psalm had in mind, and it is equally weak in comparison to my own understanding of this idea. When we think about praising God, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is the words that we say and sing. God tells us that He delights in those verbal expressions of our understanding of who He is and of what He does. Speaking about God in public and in private is an important part of our practice of worship. Yet, these spoken utterances are not all that praising the Lord entails.

 

God desires our words and more. He wants us to be people who live our lives as a constant testimony of praise to Him. When we are at our jobs or in school, as we talk with our neighbors and care for our homes, and in our political decision making and joining in causes or crusades we are to engage with life in a manner that speaks the heart of God into our world. There is no time of day or situation that does not already belong to God and that is not a part of His economy. This idea is very sobering to me. Its application to my day causes me to look at my thoughts and responses to many people and discussions with a new sense of their importance and with a different, a Christ-centric, frame of reference for that engagement.

 

In light of the idea that praising the Lord is God’s desired definition for my life and for those of every one of His people, I am not so much a follower of Christ; rather, Christ is who and what I am. This is a wonderful and a lofty concept that I fall terribly short of actually following. So, God says to me that He knows my weakness and He understands my sin. His grace flows over it all in the blood of Christ as God calls me to repentance for that sin and to surrender to His will. Repentance and submission are also praise. The Lord is praised as I do today what sin had prevented yesterday and as I enter into the hard work of restoration of that which has been damaged by my thoughts, words and actions. God is truly delighted by the praise of His people, and He is most pleased when that praise is expressed by every aspect of our beings.