JOSHUA 24:15 NKJV
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord , choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord .”
Choosing to Praise
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
The world hassles us every day; I don’t have to tell you that. Our fears, anxieties, and hurts are very real. But if we focus only on these earthly problems, then very soon the spiritual realm becomes foggy and unreal. We lose sight of God and slide into pessimism and even depression. Life loses its joy and excitement. If we limit our thinking to this world alone, it will grind us down into the dust from which we were created.
No matter how difficult or unjust our circumstances become, we can exercise our free will and choose to praise God rather than ignore Him. Praise has a strong emotional dimension—as we see in the Psalms—but it is not driven by emotions. Praise is driven by our will. That is why we must never say, “I prefer to wait and praise God when I really feel like it.” We are to praise God in all situations, in both victory and defeat, when we are in need and when we are experiencing plenty.
In fact, the times when you do not feel like praising God are precisely the moments when it is most essential to do so. The next time you are discouraged, start praising God. When you feel defeated or unable to break loose from bad habits, start praising God. When your most treasured relationships seem to be falling apart, start praising God.
Why do I say this? Because praise is about what God desires us to do—it is not about the power of your circumstances. When you get your eyes off your immediate problem and put your focus on God, you redirect yourself toward what God will do for you, not what man has done to you. At that point, God can work in your life to produce real growth.
The truth for the believer is that this tangible, physical world is not the “real” world. The real world is our ultimate home—the heavenly, spiritual realm where God’s presence permeates the atmosphere. When we start to view our present life in light of this ultimate reality, things begin to change. Faith and hope take root and flourish; joy and peace grow in our hearts.
Prayer: I choose to praise and serve You for the rest of my life on earth and for eternity, Lord. You are greater than my circumstances. Keep my eyes open to the spiritual realm so that Your presence becomes my reality. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).