By Dan Qurollo
As a believer and as one who loves our country, it is difficult to watch the attacks upon the foundations of our society. By instilling fear, individuals are forcing an anti-God and anti-Christian agenda upon our nation. Believers must not be surprised at this, for such tactics have been widely used throughout history as various nations turned their backs in defiance of God and His Word. As this agenda continues to advance, believers must determine to take a biblical stand but must do so in the proper demeanor.
In addition to the national scenes of unrest and turmoil, I know many families who are personally battling their own struggles. Just like you, I personally know individuals who are facing trials of epic proportions. Yet I have been challenged and encouraged by their own testimonies of God’s sufficient grace and His abundant provision.
When we face hardships – whether they be on a national or a personal level, it is easy for us to become sidetracked by taking our focus off God and placing it on our circumstances. Such an outlook inevitably distorts our perspective, produces tremendous fear, and hinders our testimony. Rather than focusing on our circumstances, we must instead focus on God, maintain an attitude of genuine praise, and seek to advance the kingdom of God. How can we maintain an attitude of praise even in hardship? Understanding the nature of God is foundational to developing and maintaining a heart of praise.
For many, praise is based on circumstances that are perceived to be favorable (they may not actually be). Generally speaking, favorable circumstances are those which make things easier or produce greater prosperity. When these things occur, we are often filled with praise. Though this is the focus of many, this is not the biblical understanding of praise. To establish a right view of God, we must consider two premises from which we will conclude.
The first premise is this: God is unchanging. Malachi 2:6 states clearly, “I am the LORD, I change not.” James asserted, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). What God is, He always has been and will continue to be. His nature cannot change, or He would cease to be God.
The second premise is also important: God is worthy of praise. Throughout the Word of God, we discover the reality that God is worthy of praise. This is particularly emphasized throughout the book of Psalms. Psalm 96:4 teaches that “the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised.” Psalm 106:1 urges, “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good.” Many more passages could be cited to establish that God is worthy of our praise.
From these two statements, we make a logical conclusion: God is always worthy of praise. It is a fundamental error in thinking to reduce praise to only those times when circumstances are perceived to be favorable. Because God is unchanging, He is always worthy of my praise, regardless of my circumstances. At no time can a believer ever biblically justify a spirit of complaining. In fact, Philippians 2:14-15 teaches that a grumbling and complaining spirit is detrimental to our testimony and therefore hinders the spread of the gospel.
Far too often, we listen to ourselves. Throughout the book of Psalms, we repeatedly discover the psalmist talking to himself, rather than listening to himself. The result was that he was determined to praise God, regardless of his circumstances. Let’s determine to praise God as a believer, for He is always worthy of our praise.