You shall fear the Lord your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him…He is your praise…
Deuteronomy 10: 20, 21 (ESV)
Praise, by its very nature, is genuine; it flows from the heart, not the mind. We may praise those we desire to become one with or emulate. We adulate those who help to shape and anchor our worldview and who represent and clarify our core beliefs. Praise seeks to identify with a person of great value to us. It is, therefore, much more than endearing communication. Praise is no small matter; it is genuinely packed with affinity and deeply felt esteem.
As we are all aware, flattery that can mimic praise is not totally genuine in its intent. Flattery is essentially self-serving. It is merely surficial fraternization. Praise, on the other hand, is heartfelt and power-packed, radiating our sense of deep kinship with another. In essence, it is a powerfully deep expression of oneness rather than a form of communication. While we elevate those whom we may admire, who alone meets all the requisites for genuine praise?
Only God in all his manifestations meets all the requirements. No one else measures up. If we are praising another person, we are, essentially, elevating them above their rightful standing as no one is without faults and disparaging weaknesses. How then do we praise God? By enthusiastically drawing near and modeling his likeness, by joyously assuming his gracious loving nature, by believing in and acknowledging him from the depths of our heart, grasping and holding fast to him, and gratefully yielding to his soft voice and gentle touch.
For as we spiritually mature and realize that we are incapable of achieving perfection on our own efforts and as such will never be worthy of true adulation, any lingering arrogance or pride we may harbor should rightfully turn to praise for the only one truly worthy. And as we lovingly yield to God’s preeminence, our first fragile hold will tighten into a powerful spiritual grip as our faith and trust in him are solidified. God loves it as we recognize our need to trust and rely on him every day. When he alone becomes our praise that is praise in its sincerest form. For what we so often identify as praise is the outward expression, the tip of the iceberg, for the voice of praise originates and grows from the depths of our heart and soul, where we groan for righteousness, that place in us where God’s senses are readily attuned. While outward praise is, of course, the crowning physical expression of our living sacrifice to God, we should never loosen our heartfelt grasp on Christ Jesus for the strength of our grip becomes our lasting expression of praise.
Dear Lord God, as I hold on to you, never let me go, and through our union allow my life to be a living sacrifice of resounding praise to you. Amen.
A F Fischer