Why we love to praise what we enjoy

This week I have been thinking a lot about the relationship between praise and joy. Have you noticed that we, as humans, love to praise? We were built for it. Praise is the outcome of what, or who, we enjoy. It is the eruption, and completion, that inevitably results in response to the joy we experience in someone or something. In other words, our joy and our praise are directly related; we praise what we enjoy and enjoy what we praise. God calls for our praise, not as a detached, isolated act, but because he is the most-to-be-enjoyed of all things we enjoy. Do you enjoy him? The best measure is your praise of him. I love how CS Lewis brings this point to life: 

All enjoyment overflows into praise...the world rings with praise - lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game - praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars.

Just as men praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’ ...We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with...

Then Lewis brings it back to how this relates to our praise of God and God's call for us to praise, or glorify, him...

The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But [we now see] that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify [praise]. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.
— CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, p94-95,97

Therefore, the matter of what we praise is of central, not peripheral, importance. What or who we most enjoy is what we hold nearest to the center of our lives. What we keep in the center of our lives will shape and inform our destiny. What or who do you most enjoy? We are created by God, to enjoy God, and to therefore, praise God. He calls us to praise him, not because he is an egotistical megalomaniac, but in so doing our joy is made full, now and forever. He gets the glory, we get the joy, and praise becomes the soundtrack of this life and the one to come.