Did you grow up in church, singing songs and hearing words like “When the praises go up, the blessings come down?” Have you heard that the more praises you give to God, the more power He gives to you and vice versa? Well, I have, and for many years I strongly believed in this mutual exchange of praises for blessings. Yet, I have started to examine my motives for praising God and must admit that they were sometimes self-centered, rather than God-centered. Has that been the case with you as well? Let’s be honest. Have you ever withheld your praise because God did not give you what you wanted, when you wanted it? Have you ever stopped praying, reading your Bible, giving your tithes, or even stopped going to church because you were angry with God? If not all, at least one of the above? Me, me, me…Raise your hand, if you know what I’m talking about. Tell the truth and shame the devil!
Truth is, we have been conditioned to think that God owes us something for praising Him; but, it’s the other way around. We owe God praise for all He has done for us. And if He never does anything else, He’s already done enough. I’m sure you can think of several reasons to praise God. Let’s see. He sacrificed His only begotten Son to die so that we might be saved; He gives us life and everything we need to sustain it; He has prepared a place for us to live in peace with Him forever. The list goes on, but it is easy to forget God’s goodness and become consumed with our own needs and wants. When we approach the Throne of Grace, we already know want we want and need God to do for us or bless us with, and our main motivation for praising Him could be to get those needs fulfilled and those wants satisfied.
The Psalms and the Lord’s Prayer teach us the need to honor, praise, and glorify God above our needs and wants. The scriptures also say to seek God’s kingdom and glory first, and that all that we need will be added to us. (See Matthew 6:33) This scripture is often used to support the need for God’s people to support the church through their tithes, their talents, and their gifts. We should, and nothing is wrong with relying on these scriptures. They are promises God made, and He is faithful to keep His Word. However, God has feelings too; He looks at the heart and is searching for those who truly love Him for who He is and not just for what He can give them. He is looking for true worshipers, those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. (See John 4:23-24)
We cannot buy God with our tithes and offerings, with our religious performances, nor our acts of service. Therefore, we should praise and worship God, not based on a formula for success, nor for what we can get in exchange for our devotion, but for the mere fact that God is worthy to be praised. He is worthy to be praised from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same. Praise is His due, and we were created to worship Him. Yes, God is faithful and will pour out His blessings upon His people; but God is not mocked. He knows our hearts, and we will reap what we sow. He knows if we are faking it to make it or if we are sincere. So, let us examine ourselves and make sure that our praise to God is authentic, our worship is genuine, and our love is real.
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