They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power.
Psalms 145:11 (NLT)
I tried to go the entire day yesterday without saying anything negative about anyone. I lasted through my first cup of coffee and then I turned on the news. I watched cable news talking heads and “experts” bypass intelligent debate and spew immature, Twitter-sized sound bytes. I yelled at the people on TV while my wife poured my second cup of coffee. This is one reason I usually don’t watch cable news.
We find very little to praise. Maybe you can find yourself acting the same way: picking a side, trash talking opponents, and draping yourself in false righteousness because you’ve picked the “right” side. I found out a friend of mine was quitting his job and I had to know why and before long, the two of us were bad mouthing bosses everywhere. Workers hate management. Management runs labor down. Republicans revile Democrats. Liberals rant about conservatives. It’s easy to pick a side. It’s even easier to join the mob that possesses your brand of correctness.
Praise is hard for someone that always has to be right. Praise doesn’t come naturally. Praise takes intentionality.
All God’s works praise Him. I am God’s work. You are God’s work. My opponent is God’s good work. If I badmouth him, I’m badmouthing the work of God. That brings conviction as I type these words onto the computer screen.
The verse above is a Psalm included in a group of Psalms that describe a person who has come to the end of himself and is ready to embrace the goodness of God. This can feel like the worst place to be, emotionally speaking, but, spiritually, it’s the best place to be found. It’s the place where you are most accessible to God. And it is where you are most available to people.
No matter how much missionary tenure you have – whether you’re new and in training or you have decades on the mission field under your belt – praise is the way back to newness and freshness in your walk with Jesus. Every area of your life, especially accessibility to nourishing relationships, will be impacted by praise of God.
In the book of Job, everything goes wrong for our hero. Job loses everything; his children, his wealth, his health. Every relationship Job has suffers disastrously. His wife, overflowing with negativity, tells Job to “curse God and die.” It’s at this point Job realizes that no matter the circumstances, all that matters in life is a man’s accessibility to God. We are meant to believe in and trust God. When we do, every other relationship is impacted. Praise is our way back.
photo credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash