Have you ever wanted to complain or rail against some injustice in your life? Have you ever said, ‘I can’t take this anymore’ as you faced hardship? Maybe you rebelliously said, ‘I won’t’ when asked to do something? Before the words come out of your mouth, discipline your thoughts. Bring them captive to the obedience of Christ as instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Hebrews 13:15 is our mandate. It says, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” The discipline of praise aligns us with God’s will as stated in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Verbally saying, ‘I will’ is decisive action to align our will with God’s. Verse 2-3 says, “My soul shall makes its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”
The Hebrew word for continually means: constantly, always, evermore, and perpetually. Therein lies our challenge. Our flesh would much rather complain, rail, or rebel at commands. Psalm 119:7 says, “I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments.”
Righteousness, according to Hebrews 12:11 Amplified is, “…in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action…” How is wet clay conformed in wheel pottery? The blob of wet clay has to have steady pressure applied in order to center it. What an illustration of our will! The Lord uses hard circumstances to center us on Him.
When we praise Him through His centering process, our will easily conforms. All we think of is Him and how He is worthy of our praise. Psalm 119:16 says, “I will delight myself in Your statutes, I will not forget Your word.” In the Psalm that Asaph wrote, he was languishing. Psalm 77:10 says, “…This is my anguish; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
In his time of trouble he began to complain and question God. Everything turned around for him when he was determined to praise the Lord. Verse 11-12 says, “I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.” Jeremiah did the same thing.
In Lamentations 3:1-20 he was complaining and languishing in his bitter dialogue. Yet he turned it all around through praise. Verse 21 says, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.” Where was his hope? In God alone. Verses 22-24 are his declaration. We have often eaten from the fruit of his lips praising the Lord.
They say, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!” We can turn our thoughts from despair to triumph, from negativity to affirmation in a moment. Let us echo Psalm 146:2 which says, “While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”