True praise of God can only be done with a humble heart and spirit. Humility is having a right understanding of who we are before God.
We belong to God
We were created by God and belong to Him, we are His servants, His children, His subjects – He is our Master, our Father, our King. All of these positions are positions of inferiority to someone over them. This does not mean that the servant, child or subject has no value, is useless or unimportant, but that they know their position, and obey and serve as is expected of them.
If we are to praise and worship God in a way that is pleasing to Him, it will always be from a position of inferiority to the only one who is supreme over all. This is what having a humble heart means. Philippians 2:3-4 says “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” Romans 12:3 says “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement.”
These verses highlight the meaning of humility. A humble heart and spirit are the same thing in spiritual terms. Our spirits are the part of us that can know and seek after God. Praising God with a humble heart and spirit, is coming to God, knowing our place of inferiority, but knowing that God has raised us up into positions much higher than we deserve, of friends and co-heirs with Him – thanking Him, admiring Him, extolling Him, paying tribute to Him, honouring Him, giving Him the place of highest importance in our lives.
The hindrances to praising God
The hindrances to praising God are sin – (anything we do which we know God is displeased with), pride and arrogance, seeking to manipulate God by a show of obedience and praise, but expecting God to answer our prayers and requests according to our demands.
Worship in spirit and in truth
Jesus said in John 4:23 true worshippers will worship God in spirit and in truth. There is no point coming to God to prayer and praise if we only want to get things from Him. True praise is coming to God to give ourselves and our worship to Him. The rewards for praising God with a humble heart and spirit are many: peace of God which passes all understanding, a knowledge of His presence, being transformed more and more to be like Him, confidence that He will provide all that we need, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, etc.
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