Is it easy to praise God?
Many people would say, “Well, that depends on your circumstances. Are you succeeding or are you suffering?”
Mulenga Chella’s story always reminds me that when we meditate on God’s love for us and what He’s done for us, it becomes easier to praise. Chella is a Zambian-born pastor who was wrongfully imprisoned for two years in Tanzania. While in prison, he felt called by God to care for the criminal who lied to him and got him imprisoned. This man had dysentery and would have died without care.
In his testimony, Chella shares how his care for the man became a way for him to show His love for Jesus. “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I do this for you. Jesus, I trust you.” Chella would repeat these words as he cleaned this man when he was unable to clean himself.
Ultimately, the man recovered and testified before a parole board that Chella was innocent. Chella was freed shortly after and he went to graduate from a university in Zambia and seminary in America. He’s now married with children and pastoring a church in Zambia.
When I’m with my friend, Mulenga Chella, praising God feels so easy. Perhaps that’s because my friend has seen God move in ways he will never forget.
@Patrick Mayberry wrote about this idea in his song, “Easy to Praise.” He talked about the origin of the song in a recent interview.
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“As Christ-followers, we’ve got a joy that’s anchored deep down in our souls. And while happiness is a fleeting emotion that comes and goes, this joy doesn’t waver…When I think about it, I can’t help but shout Hallelujah! God truly has made it easy to praise.”
You may feel like you’re in a prison-like season as my friend Mulenga was. In that type of season, praise may seem like anything but easy. But, Mayberry’s song reminds us we don’t praise God based upon our emotions, but based upon God’s character and His actions towards us.
“It's not hard to give the glory
To the One who changed my life…
Jesus Christ my savior
I'd be lost without Your grace.”
Mayberry described his “easy to praise” viewpoint. “Worshipful response to all that Jesus has done – how he called us out of the grave, set our feet on solid rock, and gave us a brand new start and his spirit that lives inside each of us.”
This viewpoint is the same one John shared in Revelation 12, when he described the saints who defeated Satan. “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.”
The Apostle Paul described this same attitude in 1 Corinthians 6, when he described the path of sin which separates humans from eternal life with God. “Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Let’s be honest - it’s not easy to praise when we’re exhausted, discouraged, and battling doubts about God’s goodness in a particular season of life. It’s not easy to praise when we see others experiencing the outcomes we’re pleading with God for ourselves.
However, when we turn our attention to the movement of God in our lives - how He saved us, how He redeemed us and how He is at work transforming us - we begin to see the reasons why it’s easy to praise God.
Mayberry’s bridge rehearses our testimonies.
“When I was in the grave, You called my name
My heart woke up and out I came
Into life with a fresh new faith
A whole new start, my past erased.”
Many pastors have reminded us that “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive.” We were dead in our sins when Jesus made us alive - new creations in Christ.
Before I finish, I have a confession to make. The first time I saw the title of this song, I rolled my eyes. “Easy to Praise? That’s easy for you to say!” I was not in a great place when I first found this song. But, I listened to the song and reflected on the lyrics. “Well, I can at least give it a shot.” As I did what Mayberry sang - as I recalled what God had done for me and in me, what Jesus did on the cross, and how the Holy Spirit has been at work in my life - yeah, it did become easy to praise.
Today, you may be facing opposition, accusation, and adversity. It may not be easy to find reasons to praise in your current circumstances. But, don’t lose sight of all God has done. Don’t forget the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Give “Easy to Praise” a listen (or a re-listen) and allow your mind to return to the character and the commitment of God in your life.
Perhaps, like me, you’ll be surprised to find the reminders of why it’s easy to praise the One who has not abandoned us - the One who loves us with an unending love!
Scott Savage is a pastor and a writer with the best last name in the world. Scott’s writing helps you laugh, challenges you to think, and invites you to grow. He leads Cornerstone Church in Prescott, Arizona. Scott is married to Dani, an award-winning attorney, and they are the parents of three growing savages. You can read more of Scott’s writing at scottsavagelive.com.