For much of history, man believed earth to be the center of the universe. Then Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and others came along and told us that we weren’t. “Fine,” we said, “If we can’t be the center of the universe, then at least we’re the center of our galaxy.” (If we can’t be the biggest kid in the neighborhood, we’ll at least be the biggest kid on the block).
Then in the early part of the last century, Harlow Shapley and others began to tell us that we’re not the center of the galaxy. In fact, we’re not even close—we’re about 30,000 light years from the center!
What’s true in the scientific realm is also true in the spiritual realm. We are not the center. The humanists are as wrong now as the scientists and religious scholars used to be when they taught that we were the center of everything. We’re not. We’re not the answer, we’re not the ultimate, and we’re not the highest. We’re certainly not transcendent.
Most important, without acknowledging God, there’s no way for us to move out of our eccentricity.
That’s where praise comes in. In the act of praise, we center ourselves by putting our out-of-line lives in line with God. It’s only by anchoring our identity in Him that we can possess an accurate understanding of who we are. As the Psalmists said:
Know that the Lord Himself is God.
It is He who has made us and not ourselves;
We are His people,
And the sheep of His pasture. (Psalm 100:3).
In the act of praise then, we see ourselves more clearly than at any other time. Our delusions of self-sufficiency are shattered and out of that shattering, truth, honesty, and integrity emerge.
As the glove can ultimately be defined only in terms of the hand, so we must identify ourselves as we relate to God. The act of praise becomes much like the hand filling the glove; we gain definition, intimacy, and power.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise;
Give thanks to Him
And praise His name. (Psalm 100:4)