“So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through Him ten let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.”- Hebrews 13:12-15
I want my default to be praise.
I wrote this earlier in the week, and I have been pondering it ever since.
You see, there are so many situations where my default- my “go-to”, if you will- is anything but praise.
Eventually, I get there.
But, my default? What I automatically revert to?
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage.”- Psalm 27:13-14 (emphasis mine)
Let your heart take courage.
This past week, we had a couple of firsts in our family.
Here was one.
Look really closely and you will see the tubes coming off of the stroller. Now, this was actually the second time we fed the girls in public; and this one felt slightly less “out there”. The first time was at an outdoor family concert with friends. There were kids running around, eating snacks as they danced to the music; but we- we were hooking our girls up to nutrition tanks.
“I would have despaired unless…”
Unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord.
Friends, there was ample opportunity for this scene to make me sad. There were people and things all around me that I could have compared our life to and passed go and gone directly to despair.
Yet, what do I believe?
I believe that this is God’s best for our family. I trust that He knows exactly what we need- what my children need- to love and serve Him best in all things. I know that His ways are perfect and His plans are always good. And so, in these moments, there is always a choice:
I can live out what I say I believe by praising Him; or I can feed my flesh and lean on despair- the very thing Christ nailed to the cross.
We were assigned two “LIFE-LONG, SEVERELY DISABLED” handicap passes last week.
Praise Him, or doubt?
The choice is always there.
“We refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ.”- 2 Corinthians 10:5, Amplified version
The verse above this one reminds us that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces that go against God and His beautiful, “we can’t even imagine how good” plans for our lives. I believe God’s Word, in several places, gives us the keys to fighting the temptation to default to complaining, to distrust, to discouragement.
Simply put-we default to something else: We take every thought captive to praise.
For me, it is so easy to eventually get to the praise part, but to give my flesh even a few seconds of lee-way. I call a friend to complain; but then I go to Him in prayer. I panic in the middle of a hard moment, and afterwards I thank Him for His purposes. I get some ice cream, escape to social media, think about how hard our life is; and once those things have stopped giving me some temporary relief, I reach to Him for permanent satisfaction in the story He is writing.
This is not the way He intended us to live.
The Lord desires us to find constant comfort, complete wholeness, in His Word and His praise.
He longs for us to immediately reach for His truth when the world around us is pressing in.
He doesn’t want us to have a “Jesus plus” mentality. He wants us to know in the depths of who we are that Christ and Christ alone is enough.
The Well of unlimited resources: grace, peace, hope, comfort, truth, joy, love, sustenance, gratitude.
His provision for our souls was permanently given at the cross of Jesus Christ.
The only thing stopping us from receiving this perfect sacrifice in any given moment is ourselves.
I have been so struck by this truth; and I have seen my own tendency to reach for praise much later in the game than I would like.
May we pray-
For the grace to seek Him first.
For the faith to trust Him alone.
For the wisdom to take thoughts captive that feed anything but the truth within.
For the ability to recognize our own emotions versus His Word.
For more of Him and less of ourselves.
I so want to be a woman who doesn’t give the enemy a millisecond.
The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy.
The Lord gives life, and life abundantly. (John 10:10).
May we be a people who praises Him at all times, in all things, in all of our moments.
May we default to trust instead of despair; and may we choose joy no matter what the day holds.
Praise Him in the morning, noon, and night.
Praise Him when things are going seemingly well and when they are going seemingly ‘not well’.
Praise Him when He answers your prayers the way you desire; and when the answers are differently than you would have chosen.
Praise Him when His presence is obvious; praise Him when He seems to be far-off.
Praise Him on the easy days; and praise Him on the hard ones.
Praise Him when you feel like it; and praise Him all the more when you don’t.
Not always easy; but eternally worth it.
Let’s default to Him and Him alone.
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.”- Psalm 145:3