Claire L. Eva, Assistant Director, General Conference Stewardship Ministries
Summary: In this article, the author explores the benefits of praising our Lord.
Seven-to-one. They say it takes seven affirmations to cancel out one negative remark. Now that’s a point to truly ponder! Parents, think about this in terms of our day-to-day relationships with our children. Spouses, what about how we relate to our loved one?
Recently I received affirmation from a friend about a task I’d worked hard at. What was it about his praise that made me feel valued?
First, the praise was specific. It was related to objective work I had done. We often reject praise that is unspecific, because we know that it is not altogether true. It does not fit the image we have of ourselves—and we are our own worst critics! So, when someone says, “That was wonderful!? Or even less specific, “You are wonderful”; we don’t “buy” it. We cannot accept it as true.
Second, the praise was genuine. How do I know? I could see it in his expression; I could hear it in his words. He did not flatter or overstate. He simply expressed appreciation in a specific way, with warmth and conviction.
There are times when we don’t feel valued. And we shuffle through these silent times. We experience self-doubts. We think we have created meaningful work , but in our surroundings, voices are mute. It is then that the best thing we can do is praise God, accept our success, and move forward with quiet self-assurance.
The “giver’s” point of view. But let’s talk about praise from the perspective of the “giver.” What do you experience when you express genuine praise to another person for a specific work or accomplishment? Or maybe you’ve observed the kindness or Christ-like compassion a friend has demonstrated to someone else in need?
It is curious to try to assess and express the emotion of such an event, isn’t it? Sometimes you experience a rush of warmth, knowing that your spirit has linked with the life of your friend—a positive connection has been made.
Somehow, though, I am confident there is more to express about an encounter like this. It is as if the Spirit Himself has been released, creating an atmosphere charged with energizing, sustaining love.
Praise has a way of doing that! Especially the praise that we direct to the Giver of life and love. How much time do we spend praising God? I know for me, it is a growing mind-set. But praising God for His sake alone places us in a powerful posture. Even in our praise (or should I say especially in our praise!), God cannot help but live up to His nature—He cannot help but give. It flows from Him as irrepressibly as the rushing surge of a great waterfall. And everything His nature asks of us—to love, to obey, to praise—places us in the best possible attitude to receive the gift He so infinitely desires to give us.
And what it this gift? A Spirit-filled life! “I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). These words of Jesus almost express a paradox. For didn’t His hearers, don’t we, naturally have life? Not the kind of life He is talking about! An illustration
If you are a deskbound worker like me, or are engaged in work that keeps you fairly inactive physically, maybe this has happened to you: With lots of immobility, I sometimes experience my legs as heavy weights, noticeable appendages to my anatomy that hold me down. But when I do what I need to do—and for me, that is a brisk walk/run workout in the open air—I am continually amazed at what happens.
These legs no longer drag me down. Actually, I hardly know they are there, for they are transformed to lightness. My mind is clear. I am energized and more alive than I thought possible. I have strength that carries me through the day and am easily able to endure what would have been tiring to brain and body before my exercise.
The contrast between these two states is amazing. I was “dead”—mentally dull and physically weakened, but sadly, I hardly realized it. And then came “life.? I would not believe the difference if I did not experience it for myself!
This is a tiny illustration of what I believe it means to have that “life” Jesus speaks of. And we receive this powerful life from Him as we offer Him our praise and adoration.
Conclusion. Praise Him for His goodness. Praise Him in plenty. Praise Him in scarcity. “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord”.? (Ps 150:6, KJV).
As we praise the Giver of life, we receive Him—“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me” (Jn 17:22, 23). And thus, we are equipped to share His life with those we meet.
Praise, who needs it? I do. You do. We need to affirm one another. And most of all, we need to live in an attitude of praise to our Father. He is our Life. And He is “worthy to be praised” (2S 22:4).