Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Psalm 43:4

Many psalms, like this one, teach us to praise God in difficult times. But this act of worship is not simply going through the motions.  Jesus called out the religious leaders of His day for honoring God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him (Matthew 15:8-9). Instead, praising God comes out of an “exceeding joy” in Him. It’s out of a delight for Jesus, that we worship Him with song. 

But perhaps in this present time, your hearts feel far from God. The challenges of this current pandemic and the struggle with sin have left you feeling discouraged. You would feel like a hypocrite if you were to praise God because you don’t feel joy for Him. It’s not hypocritical to feel distant from God. It’s hypocritical if you pretend as if you are not far from Him, when in fact you are. So what should you do? Bring your heart to your gracious God, and acknowledge your need for Him who alone can change you. Ask Him to be your exceeding joy and delight once again. Then praise Him.