We were made by God and for God. We were made to look away from ourselves in praise and adoration of the one true Triune God. But we were born into this world acting as if we made ourselves and are to live for ourselves. We were born into this world by nature and then by action looking away from God to ourselves in praise and adoration. This sin sick self-focus comes in a variety of forms. Some express this through overt arrogance and others through the subtle arrogance of self-pity, but all of us came into this world self worshipers rather than God worshipers. We all came into this world by nature desiring to give praise to ourselves rather than to God. But when God’s grace arrested us through faith in Jesus Christ we were given a new nature. We were all given a nature that wanted to worship God rather than ourselves and give Him praise rather than praise ourselves.
If you are a child of God this is your testimony. And yet, if you are a child of God you still battle with the remnants of who you once were. You still battle with remaining sin (the flesh). Do you want to praise God more having victory in this battle? Do you want to grow in your God-centeredness rather than in self-centeredness? How could we become individually and as a congregation people who are centered upon our Triune God in praise?
There are various ways to answer that question. We ought to give ourselves to God’s Word more. We ought to repent of our self-centeredness. We ought to pray more. But what ought we to pray for? There are various passages in Scripture that actually explain to us where true praise comes from. Yes we are to praise God, and yes God saved us enabling us to praise Him. But once we are saved where does that praise of God continue to come from?
When Paul describes who true believers are he says this: They are those who “worship in the Spirit of God” (Philippians 3:3). In other words, believers are worshipers. But how can they worship? How can they praise God? It is worship in the Spirit of God. It is worship produced and enabled by the Spirit of God.
When David spoke of giving praise to God among His people for divine deliverance he said this: “From You comes by praise in the great assembly” (Psalm 22:25a). If you asked David why he was praising God in the assembly he could say “because God delivered me”. On the other hand he could say and he also did say “because God gave me the ability to praise Him.”
Speaking in the context of repentance Isaiah says that God creates “the praise of the lips” (Isaiah 57:19). What a wonderful image. Do you desire to praise God genuinely and authentically in secret, with your family, and with the church? Humbly ask God to create praise on your lips. That is one of those prayer requests that you know God will answer yes. Jesus said “Whatever you ask in My name (i.e. that which is in keeping with His name), that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 15:13). Asking the Father for Him to create praise on your lips is certainly in keeping with the mission of Jesus Christ. May we depend upon God to produce in us the praise that we must have before Him and that only He can produce in us.