Eternal Perspectives: Praising God is a Great Discipline
Our lives require many disciplines: physical, mental, emotional, and especially spiritual. One of the best is the discipline of praise because the rewards are guaranteed, life-changing, and heart-felt. And the Bible says even the trees praise God!
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
The discipline of praise
The word discipline isn’t one of our favorite words, is it? Yet without it, we’d ignore cleanliness, education, social rules, physical health, and much more. Many of us, in fact, struggle with the discipline of eating the most healthful foods in the right amounts. I admit to that struggle.
Then there’s the issue of our thoughts. Mine tend to wander. I believe we all struggle with wandering thoughts, some of which lead to anger, fear, or despair. Most of us probably consider with distaste the discipline of exercising thought-control. We may wonder if it’s even possible to control our thoughts.
According to the Bible, it is possible. The apostle Paul writes about the necessity of disciplining ourselves as athletes do, those out to win a prize. He also urges that we not “be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
Other spiritual disciplines include daily Bible reading and meditation, prayer, confession, sacrifice—and the discipline of praise. Praising God in all things, good and bad, is one of the most rewarding habits to pursue. In fact, during Old Testament days when the Israelites encountered enemies, they sent a troop of singers, praising God for victory, ahead of their army. “Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people [enemies] … and they were defeated.” (2 Chronicles 20:21-22)
The discipline of praise requires daily practice, as all other disciplines require. It isn’t always easy. We tend to complain or fret about the weather or the tail-gating driver before we think to praise God for and in the situation. But once we develop the habit, it will alter our thinking patterns, helping us pay attention to His perfect directions. Praising God also helps build our faith, knowing He will walk with us through good and bad, including the unfamiliar or dangerous.
By ourselves, we tend to allow our thoughts to stray toward the negatives. With the Lord’s innumerable promises to guide us, however, we can find victory—just as the Israelites did. King David is a great example. He faced enemies for years, including threats on his life from King Saul, his own brother, and family members. Most of his psalms ended in praise to God, a reminder about its benefit.
Lord, thank You for the gift of praise. Give us the desire to develop the habit of praising You in every single encounter we face. Keep us from burdening our thoughts with negativity that chases away the peace and victory You want for us. In Jesus’ name, amen.