But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Psalm 68:3 (NLT)
Consider with me the relationship between faith and praise. With rare exceptions, we all know people who have “left the faith.” Have you ever heard of someone who has “left the praise?” Although I do not have any empirical evidence, I would contend that those who “lose” their faith probably “lost their praise” or joy first.
We have heard about building or increasing our faith (Jude 20, Luke 17:5), but how can we grow in praise? A “sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15) speaks of praise that costs us something. We might debate if faith is more important than praise, but can we consider the possibility that praise might be a protector of our faith?
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (NIV)
We know that trials and tribulations can shake us to the very core of our being. (James 1:2). However, when we maintain joy in the face of great trials, proper perspective and understanding will follow. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:3–4 (NLT)
Increase Your Praise, Increase Your Faith
Depending upon the translation, the words “rejoice” and the phrase “be glad” appear in the same verse about 30 times in the Bible. We should be reminded from time to time, especially when we are in trouble or see problems all around us, that we are to be people of rejoicing and gladness. Remember who is the source of our rejoicing and gladness. This world cannot provide lasting joy. Through Nehemiah, we learn that “the joy of the LORD is our strength.” The Hebrew language has more words for joy and rejoicing than any other. For example, there are thirteen Hebrew roots, found in twenty-seven different words used for some aspect of joy or joyful participation in worship. The believer finds joy and delight in God and His Word.
We rejoice, and we are glad because of the great things that God has done. Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. Psalm 103:1–2 (NLT) David praises God without reservation. It is with his whole heart. If we are to praise God acceptably, we must praise him in sincerity, with our hearts and not only with our lips. The Hebrew word for glad means to have joy or merriment, but the Hebrew word for rejoicing means exultation. The believer sees the wonders that He has done and gives the glory to God.
We rejoice, and we are glad because God has brought us his salvation. ‘In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”’ Isaiah 25:9 (NIV) No one who puts their trust in God for salvation will ever be disappointed. If we had no other reason than our salvation, we should never stop rejoicing and being glad.
Praise Him in Everything
Although it may initially appear counterintuitive, we are commanded to rejoice and be glad in times of testing and trouble. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11–12 (NIV) It is not enough to be patient and content under these sufferings as under common afflictions, but we rejoice because the honor and privilege of suffering for Christ are much greater than the pain or shame of it.
You now rejoice in this hope, even if it’s necessary for you to be distressed for a short time by various trials. This is necessary so that your faith may be found genuine. (Your faith is more valuable than gold, which will be destroyed even though it is itself tested by fire.) Your genuine faith will result in praise, glory, and honor for you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6–7 (CEB)
Praise and faith work together, keeping us in balance and looking forward to what is ahead.
Praise Him for What Is to Come
We rejoice, and we are glad because one day, we will see him face to face. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself.” Revelation 19:7 (NLT)
Faith is essential, but so is praise. There will be times when we praise, even though we are empty, because of our faith. But at other times, our praise will invigorate and strengthen our faith. It is not a question of one above the other but of working together to finish the race and accomplish the goals that we are striving to reach.
You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures. Psalm 16:11 (CSB)
Never lose your praise!