O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Psalm 47:1
On Friday and Saturday nights, the stadium lights blaze across the night sky. Fans pour into the stands, decked out in their team colors. The home team burst through the banner and the crowd stands to their feet as they clap and cheer for their team. The band starts playing the fight song. Cheerleaders and mascots run up down in front of the stands. Across the nation, football is alive and well.
Sunday morning the church-goers stands in the hall to discuss the game. At eleven they'll file into the auditorium, and mumble the words of the old gospel hymns. A few will put the price of a hot dog and coke, or maybe the cost of the cute teddy bear dressed in team colors in the offering plate. They will yawn through the sermon, and hurry home to watch their favorite pro team on TV. If you didn't know better, you would think that God is on life support. Caught up in the moment, we fail to realize that in the grand scheme of things God deserves more allegiance than our favorite team. Unfair to compare a football game to a church service? Not really when you consider the Hebrew word for shout, is the same word used for a war cry.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 22:3, But You art holy, O thou that inhabits the praises of Israel. This verse reminds us that God wants our praise. While church services shouldn't be rowdy, neither should they be lifeless and dull. There is nothing wrong with getting excited about God. Praise and worship are an important part of the church service; too many people go through the routine when it comes to praising God. In doing so, they miss out on much of what God has to offer.
Praise has the power to transform lives. When we offer praise to God, we take the focus off of ourselves, and begin to focus on God. We start to see what God has done, and realize what He can do. By praising God, we tap into His power. We can praise ourselves, and become self-centered, or we can praise material possessions and become greedy, but if we praise God, we can become more Christ-like.
It should be only natural to praise God in church, however some people look like it would kill them to offer praise to God in church. Why go to church if God is not going to be our focus? The more we focus on God, the less we will be concerned what others think of our offering of praise. If Paul and Silas could sing praises to God in a jail in Philippi, we should be able to sing to God on Sundays.
Instead we struggle in our Christian walk because we over look the power of praise. We try to get along by on our own power. We pray more, read more, and give more, but not in the right spirit. We are trying to earn brownie points with God, when we should be praising Him. Praise is what brings passion into our Christian walk. We are not following a dead dogma; we are serving the all powerful living God. The gift of grace is reason enough to praise God. Next Sunday morning lift up your voice during the song service, give with your heart during the offering, and open up your mind as you listen to the sermon. During the week, let your life make a difference because of the power of praise.
Copyright Danny Woodall