“Be All You Can Be” was the recruiting slogan of the United States Army for over twenty years. The slogan meant that because of your training and experiences in the United States Army you can become a successful, self-actualized individual. It meant that the Army could start you on the path of realizing everything that you have wanted or were meant to be in your life and your career.
But the Psalmist had a different take on success and self-actualization. The Psalmist declared that you should devote your whole self to praising God!
Psalms 103 and 104 each open and close with the imperative in this verse to give oneself completely over to praising God. Psalm 146 opens with this imperative.
So, what exactly does the psalmist mean by praising the Lord with all that I am?
You might think of this declaration of devotion and dedication to God as the Psalmist’s equivalent of Jesus’ admonition to His followers to turn from their selfish ways and take up their respective crosses and follow Him (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23).
Here’s what I mean.
The Psalmist declared that he wants to praise the Lord with “all that I am,” which pertains to his own being, self, or will. In biblical terms, what I am is my life’s response to what I will. And, after all, the only thing your really possess in this life is your right to your own self or self-will.
So, when Jesus said to “turn from your selfish ways” He meant that I am to reject my own will in favor of His Will.
Turning from my selfish ways means I change my allegiance from my own will to God’s will. Taking up my cross and following Jesus means I am putting my own will to death so that I am enabled to do God’s will.
Both Jesus and the Psalmist are challenging us to be all that we can be by changing our allegiance from our own self-will to God’s will. Then, our will is to do what is God’s will.
So, when I dedicate or devote my will to God, I am praising Him with all that I am.
And, when you let all that you are praise the Lord, then you will be all you can be as a human being!
“Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Mark 14:36, NLT)