The Violence of Praise

Been reflecting on the necessity of giving thanks lately.
I know it’s not Thanksgiving time or anything, but in any case,
I stumbled upon this blog I wrote a couple years ago.
Thought it worth mentioning.

The Violence of Praise

There is, without a doubt, a serious weapon of the Spirit
that has long laid dormant in our hearts.
One that we may, at any time or place, pick up and wield;
one that every creature of the dark forces fears.
Sadly though, too many of us have never experienced,
or have long forgotten the power of this weapon.
We sit sad and grim, tormented by the demons that wage war against us.
Many of us, unaware of what could be ours if we’d only
stand up and fight, have given in to bitterness and fear,
simply because we have not understood what is being offered us.
“the kingdom of God suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
(Matthew 11:12)
This weapon is our praise.
An offering of thanks is a hammer that does much violence
to the tyranny of self and greatly cripples the
fierce reign of our own discontent.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says simply,
“Be joyful always, pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances for this is
God’s will for your life in Christ Jesus.”
Read that again. That’s right, you didn’t make it up.
The text says flatly,
“Give thanks in ALL circumstances.”
All circumstances!
How?
If you’re like me, that verse seems to conflict
with a great many instances in your life.
What about when I fall? What about the times
I’m bound in sin? When I doubt?
When I mourn? When I’m hurting?
What if I’ve done what I know to be wrong,
and it feels treacherous to thank God after
I just got done breaking His heart?

Don’t worry, I know the feeling.
I know the objections that inevitably rise in your heart.
Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s flat near impossible.
Sometimes it feels so fake, so hypocritical.
Remember, truth must bear sway over emotion,
never the other way around. Give thanks. Rejoice.
Praise through the cynicism and the doubt
Praise through the pain.
I know it seems offensive, but isn’t that the way the gospel should be?
Our thanksgiving breaks the bonds of death and slits the wrists of our pride.
There is no quicker way to healing than praising the One who has promised to do it.

“If you oh Lord kept a record of sins, oh Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.”
Our sins have been paid for. All of them. Past, present, future,
covered in blood. Do not wallow in regret, stand and lift your hands to Christ.
We give thanks “in Christ Jesus.” From the depths of our depravity to the heights
of His holiness, he steps down and dwells in our praise.
He comes to us through the torn veil,
through the sin and narrows of our nature,
through the cross. He has suffered for our sin.
Let us thank Him all of our days, starting with this one.

Arrows of Affection:
I thank you that I am forgiven. (I John 1:9)
I thank you for demonstrating your love for me (Romans 5:8)
I thank you that I am no longer condemned (Romans 8:1)
I thank you that nothing will ever separate me from your love (Romans 8:38,39)
I thank you that you work even my mistakes into good (Romans 8:28)
I thank you that I am pardoned, healed, redeemed from the pit,
crowned with compassion, and satisfied (Psalm 103:1-5)
I thank you for showing me what love is (I John 3:16)
I thank you for offering me rest from works (Hebrews 4:10)
I thank you for being better than anything you’ve made (Philippians 3:8)
I thank you for peace (Isaiah 26:3)
I thank you for calling me precious (Isaiah 43:4)
I thank you for tasting good (Psalm 34:8)
I thank you for the hope of heaven
I thank you for giving me what I need, not necessarily what I want

Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for finding me
Thank you for hearing me
Thank you for healing me
Thank you for saving me
On and on and on…