The cross of Jesus removes the hindrances of pleasing ourselves and pleasing the world. Then, when we are no longer affected by what happens to ourselves, we cease to be significantly affected by our moods, problems, or apparent adversity. What goes on in the world around us no longer affects us.
We may sit and listen to the news, and, afterwards, get up thinking that the situation in the world is pretty bad—there are crises, disasters, crime, immorality. But we need to see that the world does not dominate us, that it does not dominate our thinking. We are in the world but not of the world. When we are released from slavery to the world—when the world no longer controls our thinking and we have been liberated by the cross in our inner attitude toward the world—then there is nothing left to hinder our praise.
We do not praise God just when things are going right in the world or with ourselves. We praise God because He is worthy to be praised. Our liberated spirits are not entangled with self-love and the love of the world.
You can find out a lot about a person when you study how much praising he does. Is he a slave to the old man, or has he entered into the resurrected life of the new man? The old man is a grumbler. When we hear a person grumbling, we know that is the old man speaking. But the new man is a praiser. Which are you? The old man says, “I can’t take this any longer,” “Things are getting too bad,” “Nobody treats me right,” “What’s wrong with the world?” The new man says, “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! I’m free. I’m a child of God. Heaven is my home. God loves me.”
Which of these attitudes is yours?