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It is easy to praise God for what He has done. Our prayers are often full of praise to Him for many things. We praise Him that our family member is recovering well, we praise Him for a change in government or for safety in dangerous situations. We praise Him for bringing us through difficult times and for granting us strength or courage. All of these things that God has a hand in are things we should praise Him for, of course, but I wonder how often do we praise God for who He is?
When the world “praises” humans they often praise them for their deeds, the things they have done. They don’t praise the world record makers for the person they are, they praise them for the record they broke. They don’t praise Olympic athletes for their character or personality, they praise them for their skill and ability. They don’t praise musicians for who they are as a unique individual, they praise the music that the musicians create or perform.
We do the same thing as the world and we do it in so many situations. We may “praise” somebody who volunteers to help those in need or a great Christian speaker whose words seem powerful and effective. But how do we praise the ones that we love, the ones we have a relationship with? We may praise them for their accomplishments or their talents but often our praise for them doesn’t have anything to do with what they have done. The reason behind this: we love them for who they are, not what they do.
Our love for our family and friends allows us to see who they are as a person. We can see their strengths and flaws, not just their actions and what they are able to do. With this knowledge, we are able to praise our loved ones for compassion, emotional strength, integrity, or character. We are able to see them as a unique individual and praise them for more than what they can do.
Praise for the Lord stems out of love for Him. Real love for Him is more than loving Him for what He can do for us. Just as we should not have a relationship with someone solely to benefit from them, we should not claim to have a relationship with the Lord if the only reason we love Him is to get something from Him. If we only praise Him for what He can or has done, are we not saying that? If we never praise God for His character, for the core of who He is, how are we showing our love for Him?
If we really love God, praise for who He is should follow. Praise for His power (Psalm 147:5), truth (John 17:17), forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32), creativity (Genesis 1:27), and capability (Ephesians 3:20a). Praise for the fact that He is sovereign (Colossians 1:17), gracious (Psalm 116:5), merciful (Luke 6:36), compassionate (Psalm 145:8-9), and loving (Psalm 136:26). Praise that He heals (1 Peter 2:24), saves (Ephesians 2:8), protects (Deuteronomy 31:6), leads (Isaiah 30:21), and strengthens (Isaiah 41:10) His people. These are just some of the things about who God is that we can praise Him for when we love Him.
We should remember that there is a difference between praising God for what He does and who He is. This should reflect in our prayers and our lives and affect the way we see Him and portray Him to those around us and to the world. Our God is indescribable in much more than His deeds.
This is a good time to stop and consider: What am I praising God for? Do I praise Him for more than what He can do for me? How is my love for Him being portrayed by the way I praise Him? Take time to open your Bible today and read about our Amazing, Almighty, All-Powerful God. How can we praise Him for who He, is unless we learn about His character from the book He has provided.