Last month, one of the worship pastors at my church introduced our band to a new song, “Sing My Love,” by Jesus Culture. Everyone in the band, including myself, fell in love with the song at rehearsal on Thursday night. But come Sunday morning, while singing back-up vocals on stage, I noticed several people in the sanctuary were not as enthused. Many arms were crossed and lips cemented shut. For whatever reason, they seemed unwilling to praise.
Some of the common excuses I hear whenever these situations arise are: I don’t like to sing. Or, I don’t feel like singing. As if not liking or not being in the mood for something gives us a free pass not to participate. We are called to make a joyful noise to our God, but too often we remain silent.
But God deserves our utmost respect and praise, regardless of what’s going on in our heads, or our lives.
I remember in high school, when I was going through a rough time, I took my concerns to my youth pastor, Tommy. I wanted to trust God — to give Him all my praise — but at the time, it seemed there was nothing in my life that gave me a reason to. I didn’t feel like singing in church. I didn’t feel like praying at night. I was so frustrated and jaded by a hardened heart. I’ll never forget what my youth pastor said to me:
“Sure, there are times in our lives when we don’t want to praise, but believing in God is trusting and praising Him, even when things aren’t OK.”
Those words were burned into my brain that day, and my relationship with God was forever changed.
I write a lot about the love God has for us, but there is something I think is equally, if not more important: our response in expressing the love we have for Him.
Now, I’m not saying we all must love to sing, but in light of who God is, at the very least we should make an effort to lift our voices to Him, even when we don’t feel like it. And if not through singing, then there are other ways to lead a life of praise. We can praise God in our daily activities: cooking, cleaning, walking or driving to work, talking to a friend, playing a sport — these are all means by which we can express love. It’s just a matter of shifting our mindset toward a God-oriented way of thinking.
Instead of folding our arms in defiance, we should constantly be asking ourselves: How can God be glorified in this situation? Whom should receive the credit to for all that I do, and why?
These questions will remind us who we are living for: someone greater and bigger than the very air we breathe. And they can help us begin to wrap our minds around how much our gracious God has done for us.
Our God pursues us. He loves us. He never forsakes us.
The very least we can do is offer our lives as an act of worship, even when it isn’t most convenient for us. It wasn’t convenient for Christ to die on the cross, but He did it anyway because He loved us. And just as he expressed His love, we are called to do the same.
How do you try to lead a life of praise? What does believing in God look like for you?