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. As we see in the Psalms, praise has a strong emotional dimension—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.
Praise is not driven by emotions; it is driven by our will.
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 take your eyes off your immediate problem and put your focus on God, you redirect yourself toward what God has done, is doing, and 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. Help me to see the spiritual realm around me so that Your presence becomes my reality. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. . . . we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon Empowered by Praise, Part 2: LISTEN NOW