“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5
Proverbs 3:7 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Sometimes we find ourselves frustrated in all our plans with none of the things we’d like to see happen getting accomplished.
In this I have to remind myself that my main purpose as a Christian is not productivity, but knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be ever drawing closer to Him. We may be successful in the eyes of the world because of our accomplishments, but if we aren’t close to Him, it’s all a mirage.
The Lord has been stressing to us again and again the importance of getting closer to Him by praising, and recently gave me a new insight about this. When we praise God for each thing that comes to us, whether it seems good or bad from our perspective, we are surrendering to God at that particular moment, reaffirming our trust in Him. In such praise we are declaring His goodness and His power to all those around us. We are getting up the shield of faith and quenching the fiery darts of the devil (worry, fear, anger or resentment). We are proclaiming God’s intent to bring to us only what is for our good and His glory.
Conversely, failure to praise (complaining) is resisting God’s working in our lives. It is a form of rebellion. This is declared in Psalm 106:24-26, which tells of the Israelites’ response to the report of the spies after they had seen the promised land.
“Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. [They failed to praise, to trust, to submit to God’s leadership] They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. [Instead of praising, they complained, rebelling against what the Lord was giving them.] So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the desert.” [So the Lord did not give them the good things He had offered and waited till all those grumblers had died before bringing the Israelites into the land].
In contrast, we should follow David’s example in Psalm 34:1-2. “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be on my lips.” [We can always say, “Thank you, Lord God, that in every happening there is potential growth in my focus on you and a platform upon which I can demonstrate your grace to the world.”]
“My soul will boast in the Lord.” [Thank you, Lord, for the continual reminder that in myself I can do nothing and that the thrust of my life is to give glory to you, not to me!]
“The afflicted hear and rejoice.” [How good that we can encourage others by praise, helping them also to praise, as we lead the way in extolling God.]
It is so good to look at all things through the purifying lens of God’s Word and to keep up the shield of faith with words of praise. We thank God that He is patiently teaching us to praise, even though we are slow learners!
Prayer: “Lord, help me to remember in each disappointment, difficulty and discomfort, as well as in the positive and pleasant, to respond with praise, surrendering to the Truth of your being God, the final Authority, the all wise One. Help me to affirm my trust in you by praising when I feel like complaining, by giving thanks when I feel like rebelling. May you be exalted in my life today through praise and thanksgiving. Amen.”