Life rarely goes according to plan. I was a youth pastor for almost a decade and saw many high school graduates begin university with their entire life planned. Four years later, many came back with the remains of a plan run through a shredder. These students saw their life go from being meticulously mapped out to being one big question mark, which haunts them with a fear that they’ve already wasted the best years of their life. 

When painting our life plan, we tend to stress about every detail. Which program to major in, which job to take, how many jobs to juggle, who to marry, when we will have kids, how many kids we should have, and so on. How do we know if we’ve made the best choice? Every brushstroke carries the burden of the whole picture, likely leaving us uncertain that we’ve correctly discerned God’s will for our life.

Recently I was reading Psalm 150, and something clicked. God’s purpose for our lives is clear in the text:


Praise God in his sanctuary.

Praise him in his mighty expanse.

 Praise him for his powerful acts;

praise him for his abundant greatness.

Praise him with the blast of a ram’s horn;

praise him with harp and lyre.

Praise him with tambourine and dance;

praise him with strings and flute.

Praise him with resounding cymbals;

praise him with clashing cymbals.

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.

Hallelujah! (Psalms 150 CSB)

Even when God leaves mystery in the details, he doesn’t leave the question unanswered. The purpose of my life is worship.

Breath is Life 

Psalm 150 is a call to worship. “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). Even though it is the final Psalm in the collection, praise doesn’t finish when we close the book. Through one hundred and fifty Psalms, the book leads God’s people in praise and now commands every breathing being to keep the song going.

Why does the author focus on breath? The Psalms show stones, mountains, sunrises, and musical instruments, all things without breath, praising God. So why not close by saying, “let everything praise the Lord.” Why narrow the focus to everything that breathes? Because breath signifies the gift of life from God.

God’s breath made Adam alive. “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being” (Gen 2:7). Adam was a lifeless body until God breathed into him. 

More than oxygen in our lungs, the Bible shows that breath also signifies spiritual life. Ezekiel saw a vision of a valley of dry bones. The vision has two purposes: to show the spiritual state of God’s people – dead- and what God will do to make them alive. God commands Ezekiel to preach to the bones. While his words leave his mouth, Ezekiel sees bones rattle together, joints linking together, and limbs clicking into sockets as they become whole bodies. Are they alive? Not yet. So, God commands him, “Speak to the breath.” Ezekiel obeys and then sees, “the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army” (Ezk 37:10). Like a paramedic giving CPR, God breathes into them, and they gasp back to life. The breath of God gives us life (John 3:1-10), and what we do with our breath is our response to that gift. 

Breath is for Worship

Psalm 150 calls every living person to praise God because every nook and cranny of creation belongs to him. Every field and valley, every star and planet, every shining marble column, even all the dusty corners of every bookshelf, is a theatre for God’s glory to be seen and praised. The entire expanse of the heavens and what is behind each curtain in the sanctuaries on earth is his. All of creation is holy ground, a place of worship because it is God’s (Psalm 150:1). 

Every living person is called to praise God for his powerful act of salvation (Psalm 150:2). The purpose of the exodus from Egypt, God’s great salvation in the Old Testament, was worship. “Let my people go, so that they may worship me (Exodus 9:1).” The purpose of salvation in Christ is the same. As Peter reminds us, we receive God’s mercy “so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9).”

The prize of salvation is not sizzling steak with lobster tail floating in butter. The prize is God. We are saved to proclaim his praise.

Life is For God’s Praise

The exhortation to praise God with every breath reveals the purpose of life. By grounding our life in God’s Word, we learn what is the best use of our life. We don’t miss the mark when our life plans fall apart. We miss the mark when life is about our plans instead of about God’s praise. School, jobs, and friendships are important choices, but a poor choice doesn’t guarantee a wasted life. A wasted life is a life without biblically grounded worship. 

God gives us life by his breath and saves us by his grace for the praise of his glory. In living for the praise of God, we find our purpose. When the Psalmist invites readers to “proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me,” he assures us that, “Those who look to him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed” (Psalm 34:3-5). Worship is not slavery. Praise is not drudgery. When God is the center of our worship, praise is glorious, beautiful, and what we were made for. 

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