“Praise the Lord” is a declaration that we hear a lot in church. I actually find that I hear it less and less. When do we usually say it? We say it to celebrate the Lord. It’s like saying kudos to Jesus because something good happened or just because we want to show Him we love Him. However, it sometimes loses its meaning when we use it left and right and deprive it of its depth. It has become a catch phrase that some people feel they need to say to either appear to be holy or as reassurance that they are on the right spiritual track. I am not saying this is always the case but it happens. I love it when people say “Praise the Lord” instead of giving credit to a person. I have a good friend who jumps to the “Praise the Lord” phrase all the time before praising people and it is so invigorating to hear it every time. Why do we hear fewer “Praise the Lord” in church? My observation is that it is easier to “Praise the world” than to “Praise the Lord”. We live in a world where the world takes precedence over the Lord and that also happens in church. I have seen people glorifying the creation over the creator. How often do we praise the speaker in church over the Lord? Think about how we tend to follow certain preachers and speakers not just because of their message but because of their charisma. Superstar speakers and celebrity preachers have emerged in the church and we end up praising the world. People will not attend a certain service if their favorite pastor or preacher is not speaking. It does happen. I have seen it firsthand. I also used to share the same feelings. I would try to find out who was speaking and then decide what service I would attend. That was before I started focusing on Jesus and relying on Him. The truth is God can speak to us at any time and He can use anyone to convey His messages to us. Praising the Lord is mostly done through singing and Psalm 150 give us a great definition of what that looks like. We can also praise Him by the way we live our lives and through our actions. By the same token, “praising the world” is seen through our actions, our words and our thinking. I am committed to recalibrating myself and giving God all the credit He deserves. I will be mindful to not praise the world over the Lord. We are lights in this world and by exalting the world we are dimming the light that so many people need. 1 John 2:15 warns us against that. It says “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” We are in the world. We are part of the world and we are not called to live in isolation. We should enjoy what God created for sure but I think it can be dangerous if we love the world more than we love Him. It can be detrimental to our spiritual growth. It’s like giving diesel to a car that only takes gasoline. You can damage the engine and cause the car to stop working. Let’s praise the Lord with our words, our actions and our thoughts. Let’s appreciate the world without putting it on a pedestal. Jesus is the King of kings and His title should remain the same in our lives. Praise the Lord!
Suggested reading: Psalm 150; James 4:4; Romans 12:2