Year of Praise

Today is the last day of 2015. We will be welcoming 2016 tomorrow, and many of us will be making New Year’s resolutions: goals that we hope to achieve by the end of 2016, such as losing weight, exercising more, or saving money.

But there is something that many of us overlook. It’s something that will raise the bar of your life, and that is praising the Lord in everything that you do.

There is a story in Genesis 29 about a woman named Leah. Her husband had wanted to marry her younger sister, but because in their culture it was customary to have the oldest daughter be married first, he was tricked into marrying Leah instead. Because of this, Leah felt unwanted and like a second-rate person for much of her life. Read some of her story:

Genesis 29:32-34—So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”

She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”

Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”

Leah was trying so hard to gain her husband’s affection by having children. She knew that these blessings came from the Lord, but she still was looking for her husband’s approval and love. But look at how her attitude changes by the time she has her fourth son:

Genesis 29:35—Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord!” And then she stopped having children.

By that time, something had caused Leah to switch her focus from her situation to the Lord. Instead of allowing herself to dwell on her circumstances, she chose praise God.

Praising God and putting Him first in our lives doesn’t mean everything will be easy for us—Leah still had the same challenges she had before. We’ll still face the same battles, but God will begin to prepare our hearts to face them. Instead of focusing on whatever our problem is, we can change our focus to the solution.

Praise to God is reverent, cheerful, and boastful adoration in response to His revelation. God’s revelation is what He has revealed to us about who Jesus is and who we are in Him. Any battle we face can be overcome with God. Nothing can hold us back; we are brand-new creatures with a purpose to give praise to our God. And there is no better way to begin a new year than to commit to making 2016 a year of praise.

Watch my teaching on praise.

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