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Read |John 4: 23 - 24|
I've traveled quite a bit in my short life: making my home wherever the next open door presented itself. And in my traveling I have had the opportunity to experience the diversity of the Body of Christ--joining in praise of the one true God in ways both strange and familiar to me. In most of my experiences, praise was not drawn out, it simply flowed. No one exhorted you to do it. You either did or you didn't. That changed when I joined my home church in New York, where praise and worship leaders would guide you through a reflection of the goodness of God and then challenge you not to respond.
To be honest, at first, I wasn't quite sure how to respond to the prodding: intrusion or stretching? I struggled. But then the simplest statement, broken open by the Holy Spirit, relieved me of the unnecessary turmoil: "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised." (Psalm 48, KJV). We praise God greatly because He is great, and this without any changing, so at all times it is appropriate and right to offer praise. And then this, "They that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24, KJV). My spirit knows God. My spirit is convinced of His sweetness and so even in the absence of feeling it is within me to offer up praise, because I know the truth of His greatness.
Praise is the audible and visible witness of a life that knows the Lord is good. It is the inner-man roused by the truth of the goodness of God. It is the inner-man full of truth. And what the inner-man knows well swells into words uttered, hands lifted, limbs swaying, songs raised and instruments of all kinds subject to the spirit-filled vibrations of our beings.
God is worthy of the praise at all times, because He is great and unchangeable in His greatness. (Psalm 145:3 & James 1:17). He alone should be the subject of our praise. (Psalm 96:4). But, if we want to truly praise Him with our bodies, we must position ourselves to embrace the truth of His goodness through daily meditation on His Word, which points to His fullness revealed in Jesus Christ and sharpens our minds to perceive His goodness in our lives and in the world in which we live. (John 5:39 & Romans 12: 1 - 2). We must feast on Him in our inner parts, in the place of the spirit--this is where true praise and worship has its start. (John 4:23 - 24).
ii) Lift your hands. (Psalm 134: 2)
iii) Speak His praises. (Hebrews 13:15)
iv) Dance and play on instruments to praise Him. (Psalm 149:3).
v) Praise Him in the company of other believers. (Hebrews 2:12).
4. Create a praise and worship playlist full of songs that declare what is true of our God. Listen to them as you go about your day. Soon the truth they declare will make a home in your spirit and you will have a song rising from your own mouth. You can start with the one below:
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is an educator, Christian education youth coordinator, author, singer, workshop and retreat leader, speaker and. founder and president of EarthBasic. However, she is first and foremost a daughter of God, with a passion for encouraging women to embrace the fullness of God's love for them in Jesus Christ. You can connect with Carolyn on facebook, Instagram and here.