The power to praise is a supernatural and eternal gift of God. It is of the spirit and not affected by circumstance. He sustains and empowers us to praise.
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God. (Psalm 43:3-4)
I realised something this morning, as I struggled through the heaviness of a spiritual battle currently raging against me and those I love. It’s a simple truth, but one I’d overlooked. God’s limitless provision encompasses our every need, including the power to praise. It’s easy to focus on what we consider visible or tangible things. We’ve also been immersed in spiritual things like salvation and faith, so they have become obvious to us. But today’s verse presents an encouraging truth for those times when we’re all out of everything. When we feel too weary to continue the fight, the simple act of praise can even feel out of reach. The good news is that its already been taken care of.
The power to praise is a gift of God.
This is the beautiful truth to take hold of today. Praise isn’t of self, it’s of God. It’s not the flesh – body, emotions, and intellect – that praise God. It’s our spirit alone that is able to lift praise to our God. This gift enables us to rise above the things of the flesh. We can meet with God on a spiritual level. The reason for this is our spirits are what God has breathed into us. Our spirits are the breath of God, that spark of life that defines us. The body and all that goes with it are temporal. Our spirits are eternal. Even when we are at our lowest point, we contain a portion of God’s life. This is now strengthened and quickened by Christ in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. It’s eternal and cannot be extinguished except by God Himself, which He will never do.
As a creature created by God, we are made for the purpose of God – to bring Him praise and glory. Praise, therefore, is an instinctual, spiritual activity that defines us. It’s wired into us at a deep spiritual level. The Bible tells us that all creation praises God, and we’re not excluded. The difference, for mankind, is the supernatural spirit within us – the supernatural ability to praise. This really has little to do with emotion, intellect, or any other human activity or ability. The power to praise is God’s gift to us. It’s His very life within us that transcends time, space, and circumstance and works on an entirely spiritual level. This incredible gift is one of the things that sets us apart for God and enables us to live our divine purpose to His glory.
God sustains the power to praise in us.
The crux of today’s verse lies in this truth. Not only has God given us the power to praise, but He stirs up, nurtures, and leads us to praise. It’s so very practical when we really think about it. If God desires that we live lives of praise, He will also provide what we need to fulfil our purpose. After all, this is the heart message of the cross. Jesus came to fulfil the law, i.e. to meet all its conditions and restore us to relationship with God. If praise is commanded, this is included in the salvation ‘package’ which covers our every need. If we are empowered to do all things in Christ, He also empowers us to praise. The provision is already in place.
Yet praise is often the most difficult command to obey, especially in difficult times. Often, we seem to need all our energy to simply get through moment by moment. It feels as if the praise we do manage is by rote – vain repetition, as the Bible calls it, and empty words. This may well be true if we’re trying to praise in our own strength. When we praise from the perspective from self, it’s from a distance. Self can never enter the presence of God because in essence, it’s the enemy of God. Outside the presence of God, praise is empty and ineffectual. That is why today’s verse focuses on the truth that God can and will lead us into His presence. He sustains the power to praise in us by guiding us through His light and truth into His presence. There, our praise is empowered supernaturally.
The power to praise transcends circumstance.
Because it’s entirely supernatural, the power to praise cannot be hindered by circumstance. This is our common mistake. Spiritual battles and emotional or worldly struggles chip away at the spirit and flesh tries to regain control. It tries to convince us to simply give up, that we’re unable to obey God and praise Him. The result of this deception is that we lose the will to try. It seems easier to just roll over. Resentment also often creeps in, because we begin to feel that God requires the impossible from us. We know we must praise, but He has done nothing to ease our circumstances so that we can. The power to praise, however, is transcending. It’s supernatural and spiritual. It’s entirely separate from our circumstance. We don’t ‘need space’ in the temporal to praise God because we don’t praise Him in the flesh.
Confusion may come in due to the fact that praise involves speaking. But words are simply the visible, outward expression of what’s happening in the spirit. God’s purpose is that we live by the spirit, not by the flesh. Praise is one of the ways in which we do this. We are given the power to praise at our creation. We are empowered to exercise it through intimacy with God. Circumstance is of the flesh. It’s entirely possible to be chained in the deepest dungeon and yet live in the presence of God. God’s light brings us through the darkness of circumstance. His truth reminds us that, through Christ, we have access to the holy throne of God. No matter where we are or what we face, these two things are the will and purpose of God to draw us to Him and empower us to praise.
The outworking of the power to praise.
The Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Today’s verse expounds on this. God Himself is our joy – a joy we can only find in His presence. When God draws us in and releases the power to praise, this joy follows. And where there is the joy of the Lord, there is strength to endure and overcome. This joy is expressed in praise, which releases more joy. The secret lies in looking beyond our inability or inadequacy to the provision of God to empower us to praise. Instead of focusing our weakness, we must simply confess it. Like the psalmist, we should simply pray that He lead us with His light and truth to the place where praise is as natural as breathing. Of course, like Job, we have to choose to praise Him. When we do, He takes care of the rest.
Thank You for Your gracious provision, Lord, and forgive us for dwelling on our circumstance rather than looking to You. Help us to remember that, in Christ, You provided for our every need. Remind us in our moments of weakness and struggle that the power to praise is already within us. Guide us and teach us by Your light and truth. Draw us into Your glorious presence, where praise and joy empower us to live in You, above the circumstances and struggles that rage against us.