Lately a line from a song on the radio keeps going through my mind. I hear that one line during the day playing over and over inside my head, and I wake up at night with that musical phrase echoing in my mind.
“Your praise will ever be on my lips.”
I want that statement to be true in my life. But as I listen to those words from a song invading my mind again and again, I realize that more often than I care to admit there are words on my lips that take away from me praising the Lord.
Two categories of words that are too often on my lips are criticisms and complaints.
Criticisms proclaim, “You are not good enough” to those around me or even to myself. Complaints proclaim, “The circumstances in my life aren’t good enough.”
When I first heard this line from the song “Ever Be,” I knew I had heard it before—in Scripture.
“…I will praise the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1 (HCSB)
Whenever I read that verse, I long to be able to have a life where more time is spent praising the Lord.
Complaining and criticism come naturally. Praising does not—especially since I have at times been surrounded by people who are caught up in both of these.
Recently someone was complaining to me over and over about a trial and how difficult it was. I had prayed about what I could say to this person. What came to mind is this: “Have you praised the Lord for the progress you’ve made?” re in facing the trial. Suddenly this person raised his hands toward heaven and shouted, “Praise the Lord!”
After that, I saw an attitude change.
The same has happened to me when I’m caught in complaining about my life or criticizing others. The Holy Spirit has whispered: “Have you praised the Lord for the progress that you or they have made?” This progress is all due to God and His healing, encouragement, strength, and other blessings that flow into our lives on a regular basis, which we become blind to or take for granted.
What I know is that praise can bring me out of a spiraling downward situation in my soul. It helps me to win battles. Praise pulverizes pride because true praise springs from humility and knowing that God is God Most High and knows so much more than I do, so who am I to criticize or complain?
What would happen if every time a criticism or a complaint came out of my mouth or was about to, I would catch myself and substitute for these negative words proclamations of praise to my God who has blessed me in more ways than I could ever name?
In the days ahead, I want to try this. I’m determined to become more aware of the kind of words that come out of my mouth and replace them with words of praise.
I want it to be true of me that praise of Him is continually on my lips.
Lord, help me to make progress in praising You. Deliver me from words that bring me and others down. Open my eyes to all the ways You are blessing me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
“Ever Be” by Aaron Shust