Have you heard Amy Grant’s song “Better Than A Hallelujah?” If you haven’t, you should – it’s awesome. (Video below)
For me, when I hear the song, it reminds me that it isn’t always about shouting “Glory, Glory” to honor God. On one hand, it’s easy to Hallelujah the Lord when something good has happened. But how many of us can Hallelujah when something we perceive as bad happens? How many of us say, “Thank you Lord for showing me my sins, for showing me my flaws, and showing where I need to lean on you more?” We need to remember that we should be thanking God not only when something “good” happens, but also when He is loving us so much that He is showing us where we NEED more of HIM. To me, true praise to the Lord is when your heart is so full of love of God – whether it’s from joy or from sorrow, that you can’t HELP but let it out – whether it’s through words or song.
I realize that not everyone is comfortable hearing people praise the Lord. I remember a story where someone was speaking disapprovingly when a woman in the congregation started saying, “Amen, Hallelujah!” in agreement with the pastor. And in some cases, I could see how maybe if it’s causing a disruption, then maybe it’s not appropriate. But in this case, the judgment came because she was vocally praising God. She was feeling the spirit of the Lord move and it just burst out of her – now I ask you, is that wrong?
How many of us are brave enough to burst out with praise when we cry unto the Lord? I’ll admit that I wasn’t always. I was taught that you say “Amen” when the rest of the church says “Amen.” You politely listen when the choir sings, and you stand and sit when the pastor tells you to. And then I went to my first black church. And let me tell you – they GO with the spirit. If they agreed with the pastor, they SHOUTED “Amen”. When they choir sang, if you felt the song, you stood up and sang WITH the choir. The feelings I felt while I was there is something that I can only describe as being overcome with the Holy Spirit.
Praising God isn’t about doing this act or that act just this way or that way. Even the Pharisees did that. Praising God is about letting His spirit touch your heart and allowing it to burst out of you with the unswerving, unedited, unrestrained beauty of His love. Just let it OUT! FEEL the spirit when it is there. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge it and let it flow out of you when you feel it.
The first time may be tough. You might have to break through walls or fears or worries. For me, I thought “what if my singing sucks?” or “What if people think I’m weird?” The answer is to not care. Praising God is between me and God. It isn’t about the people around me. If I want to sing Amazing Grace entirely off key, I can and God would still find it beautiful because it is being sung from a heart filled with love for Him.
So dispel any fears you may have. Cast them out in the name of Jesus and destroy them so they can never hold you back again. Then close your eyes, fill up with the Holy Spirit, and then let Him do the rest. He will fill you with so much of His love, that you will have no choice but to to love Him back.
Now I do realize that what I say next may seem contradictory to everything I just wrote. While I encourage everyone to let their heart sing with the love of the Lord, we must be wise with when we let it out. It is probably not a good idea to let it out while in the middle of the library. We want to show our love of the Lord, but let’s not give people ammunition to falsely judge us as wacky Christians. 😉
But, since we are not currently in a library (or at least I’m not) let me take this moment to say that GOD IS AWESOME and I LOVE JESUS! If you want to shout it out with me, please feel free.
Peace & Blessings,