Life for the Christian is Not Easy and Praise is Quite Possibly the Best Weapon We Have

November 10, 2013 at 3:06 PM

A new book to remind me of all the times I should have been praising Him (tentative cover).

A new book on the way to remind me of all the times I should have been praising Him (tentative cover).

It seems no matter how many times I go through something difficult, the Lord has to go out of His way to remind to do what should be natural at this point in my life. Unfortunately, it’s not. I became a Christian at the age of 13 by making a conscious decision to become a true follower of Christ. This decision was made after it appeared to me that the Lord opened my eyes to the basic and most important truths concerning salvation leading to eternal life.

Even though my life changed that day, it did not exhibit the type of exuberance that some who have been delivered of their addictions exhibited. For me, it has always been a very gradual change in my life, like a very small spring  flowing into a lake or even the ocean. Sometimes, the change seems to me to have been nearly imperceptible, yet as I look back over my 56 years of living, it is clear that He has changed me, gradually and consistently. Am I done? Of course not. In fact, the more I seem to change, the more I realize how much more work He has to go with me. Of course, the final and eternal change will not occur until after I leave this life. At that point, He will perform one final surgery, where He will remove – finally! – the sin nature that causes me to sin still and ultimately, brings about my own physical death.

In the meantime – between now and then – I live my life and I live it to the best of my ability. That means that it is never lived perfectly. There are things that come into my life that are unpleasant and unpalatable. Yet, we must endure in His strength. The question is how do we do that? Is there a best way of giving up our will in order that we might embrace His will, even when we do not understand the whys and wherefores? I believe there is and I may have discussed this before. It’s always good to emphasize it again.

When I was a very young Christian, I became involved in the Charismatic Movement (during the 1970s). I’m not going to bash that movement even though I’ve left it for one very important reason. It was my involvement in that movement that taught me one of the most important truths I could have learned about accepting what comes our way. Regardless of how bad situations seem. Irrespective of how uninviting life at times might appear, there is a way to address every situation so that we end up not only pleasing God, but allowing Him to bless us in spite of our lack of knowledge regarding His will. It is when we offer up praise to Him for what has befallen us. It doesn’t matter whether we agree with it, whether we chafe underneath it, or whether we feel completely overwhelmed and unable to move to the left or right because of it.

I just ended a campaign in which I ran for an open seat on my local city council. For me, it was rough going because I did not know what to expect and I’m not a politician. Looking back, when I was attacked by individuals who sided with my opponent, instead of turning to Him in praise, I tried to use my own energy, wisdom, and intelligence (such as it is) to deal with the issues. In my estimation, I failed. In fact, when I tried to defend myself against certain allegations, I was then labeled as being “negative” as I shared in a previous post. There was no way to win.

I now realize that I was not supposed to be in the race at all. My opponent had been hand-picked and was supposed to be a shoe-in. I didn’t know that so I entered the race thinking everything was even, when it wasn’t.

But my response to situations emotionally are what concern me the most. I spent plenty of time praying, asking for God to do this or that, but looking back, I realize I spent very little time praising Him for His purposes, His direction, and ultimately, that He might be glorified.

It bothers me a great deal that the thing I should be remembering to do first is the thing I remember to do last. After 43 years as a Christian, you would think I would have it down just a bit better than I do. But no. Instead, I cling to my own devices and even use prayer to my own ends instead of submitting to Him for His will.

Praise allows a Christian to submit to God and welcome what has come to pass. This morning, our pastor spoke on Psalm 150.

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
     praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
     praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
     praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
     praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
     praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

My pastor taught us this morning several things about praise that we need to remember and put into practice, all based on this Psalm

  1. Praise is not limited to a specific location (v. 1)
  2. Praise is not dependent upon a current situation (v. 2)
  3. Praise is not confined to a certain method (vv. 3-5)
  4. Praise is not reserved for a select population (v. 6)

The reality is that praise is an extremely powerful weapon. Is it any wonder that Satan prefers we do not remember to use it when the chips are down? We need to get into the practice of praising Him for all things, whether we feel like it or not; whether we understand things or not. We need to simply praise Him because He is worthy.

We need to be practitioners of praise.

Entry filed under: salvation.

Getting Back to God, Slowly But Surely Praise Him When There is Nothing Else You Can Do

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