Praise and worship please the Lord.
“I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the Lord better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs” (Ps. 69:30-31). The Lord is not a celestial egotist who thrives on compliments; that’s not the point at all. Believers who sincerely praise the Lord are fulfilling the purpose for which they were created and redeemed; they are declaring to others the goodness of the Lord. Grateful believers are joyful believers; they rise above feelings and circumstances and praise the Lord.
Old Testament believers brought their best animals as offerings to the Lord, and these were indeed expensive gifts. We, too, can bring to the Lord the best that we have in terms of material gifts, but He also wants to receive a “sacrifice of praise…the fruit of our lips” (Heb. 13:16). True worship and praise must come from the heart (Eph. 5:19) and must cost something. The pains of life as well as the pleasures ought to lead us to praise the Lord. Think of what King David had to experience in order to give us the psalms! David learned, as we must, that one of the best ways to defeat the devil and turn trials into triumphs is to praise the Lord.
Believing prayer pleases the Lord.
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Prov. 15:8). “First of all, then, I urge entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Tim. 2:1-3).
Praise and prayer go together; otherwise, our prayer is nothing but the “gimmies.” All we say is, “Gimme this, gimme that.” In the Lord’s Prayer, the very first petition is “Hallowed be Your name” (Matt 6:9), because everything we ask must be in the will of God and for the glory of God, not for our own selfish consumption. “The purpose of prayer,” wrote Robert Law, “is not to get man’s will done in heaven but God’s will don on earth.” Andrew Murray said that one reason why we must pray is that we might be happy with the will of God.
If an earthly father is delighted with the conversation of a child, as infantile as it might be, why wouldn’t our heavenly Father be pleased with conversation from His children? After a damaging hurricane visited a Florida town, one neighbor said to another, “I admit that I prayed during that storm.” His friend replied, “Yes, the Lord probably heard a lot of strange voices last night.” Don’t wait for the storms of life to push you into prayer. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17). Keep the receiver off the hook!
Meditating on the Word pleases the Lord.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14). “Let my meditation be pleasing to Him” (Ps. 104:34).
The beautiful thing about prayer, praise and meditation is that we can exercise these spiritual disciplines in any place and at any time. I have done so even in an ambulance while being rushed to the hospital! The peace of mind that comes when we turn to the Lord can be brought about no other way. Our English word “mediate” comes from the Latin and is related to “medicine” and “medicate.” Meditation is to the soul what medicine is to the body; it kills the germs (sin) and repairs the “tissues and organs” of the inner person so they function better.
At this point we are confronted with the importance of memorizing Scripture so that we can draw upon it when it’s needed. While in the intensive care ward of the hospital for a week, I was unable to read anything and was grateful for the Scriptures I had hidden in my heart, starting with the verses I learned in Sunday School as a child. I spoke to the Father in prayer and He spoke to me from His Word. I was grateful for the ministry of the Holy Spirit who reminded me of what He had taught me (John 14:26); and when I left the hospital, the Lord didn’t send me a bill!
Bearing fruit pleases the Lord.
Colossians 1:10 says “…so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
When we walk with the Lord in spiritual fellowship and work for the Lord in spiritual service, the Spirit helps us produce fruit to the glory of God. Paul defined this fruit as “good works.” Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). If our work is done in the power of the Spirit, all the glory will go to God.
When the Bible speaks about spiritual work and ministry, it says nothing about “results,” a word too often used by Christian workers. A machine or a chemical formula can produce “results,” but the Holy Spirit produces fruit that has life in it as well as the seeds to produce more fruit. Statistical results can easily vanish in a file drawer or a computer program, but true spiritual fruit will remain and multiply. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). The church’s task is to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20) and not to boast about numbers. We want crowds, not so that we may count people but because people count and we want to win them.
“If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us” (Num. 14:8). Paul may have had this statement in mind when he wrote to the believers in Thessalonica, “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instructions as to how you ought to walk and please God…that you excel still more” (1 Thes. 4:1). No matter what we may excel in, pleasing the Lord must be at the top of the list. The most important part of our lives is the part only God sees, and He wants it to be the best.
Don’t forfeit your inheritance and your reward. Live only to please the Lord.
(Copright 2010 by Warren W. Wiersbe. All rights reserved.)
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).