Saturday, November 5, 2011

Who Are You Lookin' At?

I went shopping the other day to buy an anniversary card for my husband, and nearly went home empty-handed. I expected to find a card that would tell him what a wonderful husband he's been, but these were the messages I found:

"When I met you, I never knew how much my life would change."
"I want to wish you all the happiness you've given me."
"All I want is to love you for the rest of my life."

Good grief--the cards were supposed to honor him, but most of the sentiments they expressed started and ended with "I". They showed much more concern for his effect on me than gratitude for all his years of love and the security and fun he'd brought to our life together. In other words, these messages tell him that he is important only to the extent that he makes me feel good. That does not sound like honor.

And neither does the same kind of language when we use it in worship or praise directed toward God. When a prayer uses "I" or "we" more than "You", who is most on our minds? When we sing more about how God makes us feel than who He is, who are we honoring?

The best way to praise God is not to describe how we are happy or singing or lifting our hands or bowing down, but simply to praise Him--to say He is holy and mighty. To acknowledge that He is all beauty and power. Israel's King David understood this when he prayed:

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the majesty, and the splendor, for everything in heaven and on earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you. You are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.--1 Chronicles 29:11-12

Not an "I" in it. Real praise destroys self-awareness and replaces it with God-awareness. When it does, we praise not our own position and character, but His.

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