Great You Are

Great You Are

Life definitely has its seasons where we are more driven and focused than others, but when you think about the life you are living right now, how intentionally would you say that you are living it? What are your driving purposes, and what are you doing to achieve those purposes?

This anthem is one that just screams of a life lived with intention and purpose. The lyrics speak of one who is determined to take every opportunity and circumstance to glorify the Lord. When we listen to it we may find ourselves resonating with it as the cry of our hearts, or find ourselves feeling a bit deficient in the attainment of so lofty a goal. Yet, as we read the Scriptures, we see they declare that such a heart, such a life is, indeed, what God desires from His children.

The lyricist captures that desire to let no opportunity go by in our lives that might be used to glorify God. Whether it be heartbreak or blessing, dark night or morning, any circumstance can be used for us to give our praise to the Lord. We most often think of praise as something we do for those blessings, but are we quick to see our heartbreaks as also an occasion to praise God? We see Job faced with the worst tragedy that we could imagine, literally losing it all, and yet he immediately stopped to worship God, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Are we quick to see our losses as sources of praise? When we bless God in our losses instead of cursing our circumstances, not only does this give great glory to the Lord, it helps us to endure our losses with less pain. One of the ways we can cope with grief is, when sorrow arises in our heart, we can begin to give God thanks for the person or circumstance concerning that loss. It can effectively change grief to worship, and draw us closer to the God of all comfort and consolation. It is important to remember that it is not so much our situation which affects our feelings as what we tell ourselves about our situation. Therefore, reminding ourselves and declaring out loud how great God is in the midst of our times of suffering creates a perspective which both elevates God and our hearts simultaneously.

One lyric that stands out is where it says that our worship can be a weapon. We know that it has been used as such in the past—when Jehoshaphat sent his choir out ahead of his army (2 Chron. 20). He had declared a fast, and had set his people to seek the Lord, then let the praises to the Lord lead them out to fight the enemy. Such dependence on God, and trust in His character should be the hallmark of believers today, as well. There is no circumstance in our lives where praise is inappropriate. In fact, praise is the most appropriate thing we do no matter what is happening to us. This is because our circumstances don’t change God’s character. He is still good, when our life seems anything but good. He is still loving, merciful, gracious, kind, gentle, holy, mighty, compassionate, sovereign, and able. Acknowledging those things when the wheels seem to be coming off our lives is a sacrifice of praise which is a fragrant offering to Him which He receives with honor. It is a great way to lead into the battle of life!

We generally don’t wander into an attitude like that by accident. People who praise the Lord in the face of their dark times are those who have generally spent time in the Word, and in the presence of God leading up to their trial. They have praised Him in the bright mornings, and have “learned to acclaim Him” before the difficult days have landed with a thud. So, we would do well to intentionally cultivate a life of praising how great He is when times are more mundane, especially if we want to have that perspective when things get difficult.

We have to be intentional because praise is not our native tongue. Just like we generally have to work to learn a foreign language, we have to put effort into letting praise flow freely from our lips. Complaining doesn’t seem to take much effort, but that is because our lives are largely about us, and whatever doesn’t please us we are quick to call out. But praise is the very opposite of “about us.” Praise is about God and how above us He is. Praise is “due” Him because He alone is worthy. When we speak praise fluently we have learned the language of the angels, the lyrics of heaven, and have tuned in to the heart of all the true, deep saints who have gone before us.

The Westminster Catechism tells us that the chief purpose of mankind is to glorify to God and enjoy Him forever. When we are praising the greatness of God, we are the closest we can come to fulfilling the purpose for which we are created. When we don’t give the Lord the praise He deserves then something is very lacking in the balance of how things were created to be, and that is when Jesus says “the rocks must cry out” in order to fulfill what is right.

According to C.S. Lewis, in order to do the second part of our purpose (enjoy Him forever) we must praise the Lord, because we must praise something in order to fulfill its enjoyment. God is not some glory-hound; He knows that when we praise Him from our hearts we are enjoying Him the most. So, let’s allow this anthem to further our intention to live our lives to glorify Him, both with our lips and with our attitudes. Let’s make it the mission statement of our lives to proclaim how great He is!