Monday, March 10, 2008

Why do you praise God?

These are some thoughts I've been having. If you can, give me your thoughts on this....

I was recently talking with one of the other pastors at my church and he told me about an encounter he had with another individual regarding a certain song. The song is entitled "That's Why We Praise Him." Some of the lyrics are below:

He came to live, live a perfect life
He came to be the living Word, our light
He came to die, so we'd be reconciled
He came to rise to show His power and might

And that's why we praise Him, that's why we sing
That's why we offer Him our everything
That's why we bow down and worship this King
'Cause He gave His everything
'Cause He gave His everything

The person's comments were interesting and thought-provoking. This individual had said that the song does not give a good enough reason for why we praise God. This individual said that the greatest reason we praise God is because He's God. Basically this man was saying that we don't praise God because of what He does. We praise God because of his ultimate right to be praised.

While I agree that God has the right to be praised because he alone is God, I don't fully agree with the person's statement. My first response is to run to the Scriptures where John says that we love God because He first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19).

The fact is that I don't believe a religion simply because it claims that it leads me towards deity. I believe the true religion that teaches about an infinitely great and infinitely good God. I do agree that God uses creation to point us to the fact that there is a Creator. However, to say that I worship God because of his position is not enough. That statement doesn't define who or what God is like. And, you cannot separate him from his character and his actions.

For example, my wife could say that she enjoys the fact that I'm her husband, but what does that mean? Would she say that she enjoys me if I was a tyrannical husband who beat her? I would imagine not. In the same way, would you praise God if he were a mean, devil-like being? Probably not. The reason my wife enjoys and loves me is because I exemplify character traits and do things that bring joy to her heart. In the same way, the reason I enjoy the fact that God is my God is not simply because he's the Creator. I enjoy the fact that God is my God because he is the source of all things and I can take ultimate pleasure in him!

So, let me ask you something. Why do you praise God? Do you only praise him because he's the Creator and he deserves it (is that really praise)? Or do you know him at a more personal level? Has God changed you from the inside out and given you a deeper and more profound appreciation not only for his greatness, but also for God's goodness?

In closing, here's a quote from John Calvin (from Institutes of Christian Religion, 1.2.1) will not suffice simply to hold that there is One whom all ought to honor and adore, unless we are also persuaded that he is the fountain of every good, and that we must seek nothing elsewhere than in him.... Thus we may learn to await and seek all these things from him, and thankfully to ascribe them, once received, to him. For this sense of the powers of God is for us a fit teacher of piety, from which religion is born. I call 'piety' that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces. For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him - they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him (emphasis mine).


AgapeTheologian said...

That's very thought provoking! At first, I thought I was going to agree with the your pastor's friend, but after reading what you wrote I have to agree with you.

So, we praise God for what He does and His character.

Thanks for the post!


Gage Browning said...

I'm w/ Agape. At first, I was going to agree. But, you know, who God is, is enough, and so is what he has done. That's enough to. And a song that has one attribute, or one holy work on our behalf is a good enough song.

Gage Browning
Post Tenebras Lux

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AgapeTheologian said...


This may be of interest to you. You are more wiser than I and you may be able to use your discernment on this.