Living a life of praise is not only the most enjoyable way to live, but it’s also one of the most powerful ways to change your life. Praise isn’t like the caboose that just follows what happens, but it’s more like the engine of a train that makes things happen. Your faith isn’t complete without praise. Colossians 2:7 says that you abound in faith with thanksgiving. No thanksgiving equals not abounding in faith.
Praise affects you, it affects the devil, and it affects God. It touches everything and every part of your life. Likewise, a lack of praise affects you in a negative way, turns the devil loose in your life, and doesn’t bless God. You have to get this area of your life right.
Nearly everyone agrees that praise is good, but very few feel any responsibility to praise God when they don’t feel like it. I don’t know anyone who wakes up in the morning and plans on being depressed. They would like to be happy and praise God, but they don’t feel they have any control over this. They think that praise is just a response to what happens and that if everything goes right, they will automatically do it. That is definitely not the case.
The Lord told His disciples the night before His crucifixion not to let their hearts be troubled (John 14:1). This wasn’t a suggestion. It was a command. Yet most Christians today would think this was insensitive and unreasonable. They would say that Jesus wasn’t being understanding and compassionate.
These disciples were about to see Jesus arrested and then flee in fear for their lives. They would see Jesus unjustly condemned and then crucified and buried. And He was telling them not to let their hearts be troubled! To the average person, that’s unreasonable.
Jesus ended His discourse to His disciples that evening with a promise that they would have trouble (John 16:33). Wow! What an understatement! Yet He said to be of good cheer. How was this possible? He said it was possible because He had overcome the world.
At the time Jesus said that, He hadn’t been crucified, much less resurrected and seated at the Father’s right hand. It was because of faith that the disciples were supposed to rejoice. He had promised that He would be resurrected and then reign, and if they were in faith, they would rejoice—and so would we.
We live in a negative world, a fallen world where it seems that the ungodly are getting more and more prominent. So much of what we hear is just negative, and we have to make a deliberate effort to be positive and counter the culture we live in. Praise is a great tool to help us achieve that.
If someone were to pass out, the first thing we’d do is check their pulse to see if their heart is still beating. In the same sense, checking our praise lives is how we check our spiritual pulse. If we don’t live lives that are constantly giving thanksgiving and praise unto God, we are not spiritually healthy. Some people may take offense at that, thinking I just don’t know their situations. But Paul said in Philippians 4:4—
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Praise is not the inevitable byproduct that comes when everything is going right in our lives; it is the driving force. Praise will get our focus where it needs to be—on God. If we start praising God in the middle of our problems, our problems will shrink so much that we’ll hardly remember to bring them to God! We’ll be so busy praising Him and thanking Him for His blessings that our problems will be an afterthought.