What does it truly mean to praise God? What is happening in that act?

Does God want our praise because God is lacking in affirmation or needs a confidence boost?

Could it be that it was our spiritual needs that God had in mind when commanding us to practice praise and to “give thanks in all circumstances”?


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Open the gates of righteousness for me so I can come in and give thanks to the Lord! This is the Lord’s gate; those who are righteous enter through it.

Psalm 118:19-20

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“Righteousness” isn't a word I use often. In truth, I probably avoid it for fear that just using it makes me appear to be flashing my spiritual “street cred.”

It might be that the more you use that word, the less likely you are to really be righteous, at least as Jesus described the concept. I’d argue that the most righteous people in the world probably never use that word. Rather than looking holy and religious, they either appear single-mindedly focused on serving the least of these or they don’t appear at all, as they quietly seek to build the kingdom wherever God has placed them.

It wouldn't surprise me if you were that person. Of course, you wouldn't describe yourself as righteous, and yet here you are, reading this devotional, seeking God when you could be spending your valuable time binge-watching some Netflix. But nope, you are here, earnestly and privately seeking God, and there is no righteousness without that.

Maybe in seeking God, you just entered into the presence of the One who makes us righteous. Well done!

Wade Griffith

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God, lead me away from seeking to appear righteous and toward just seeking you. Amen.

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Maybe true praise is less in the singing and more in the doing.

Does God want another song to rise from your lips, or would God prefer an act of costly obedience to come from your hands, feet, or mouth?

Forget the palm branches today and instead commit to giving God the palms of your hands!

Wade Griffith

Wade Griffith is a husband, father and pastor in Birmingham, AL. He attended divinity school at Vanderbilt University and leads an inclusive church that warmly welcomes those who are not accepted in other faith communities. When he has a free moment, he enjoys backpacking, reading, running, gardening, Alabama football, and wrestling with his boys.

Reflections on the Way: Lord, I want to be a Christian - This is My Father's World

Ken Medema

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