PSALM 119:64 NET
O Lord , your loyal love fills the earth. Teach me your statutes! ט ( Tet )
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Praise opens our eyes and ears to God. When we focus on the Lord in praise, we are much more likely to hear what He has to say to us. Praise opens us up spiritually to hear God’s commands.
In fact, that truth helps explain why praise is often so difficult for us: Praise demands that we make changes in our lives, and most of us do not welcome the prospect of change. It takes courage to reexamine what we believe to be true about ourselves and about God and to realize what we need to change about our lives.
Sometimes the change God commands will require us to confess and repent of a sin and to make adjustments in how we live, especially in how we think of others and relate to others. We cannot harbor anger, resentment, or hatred toward others and at the same time genuinely praise God. A negative spirit toward others and positive praise to God simply cannot coexist.
Oh, you may begin your praise out of a sense of duty. You may come to God only out of obedience and begin praising Him without having a completely thankful heart. But once you start praising God, you cannot continue for long without that negative spirit being broken. I have seen this happen over and over again in my own life. No matter how bleak or sad my circumstances, I am uplifted as I praise the Lord. As I honor God for who He is and for the glorious things He has done, my eyes are opened to God’s abundant provision and blessing.
Sometimes God’s command compels us to move to a deeper level of commitment or to move out in a closer walk of faith. Whatever He wants to tell us, it will be easier to hear Him clearly when we are praising Him.
Prayer: Father, I set my circumstances aside and embrace the truth of who You are. I fix my eyes on You, that my heart may be fully open to Your voice and Your will. You are faithful, Lord! Have Your way in me so that worship flows not only from my lips but also from my heart. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees” (Psalm 119:64).
This devotional is excerpted from I Praise You, O God. In this devotional book, Dr. Michael Youssef uses examples from his own life to demonstrate how praise restores our hope, keeps our hearts open to God’s voice, and anchors us in the storm. For more information and resources from Leading The Way, please visit http://www.leadingtheway.org.