“Praise therefore, and praise worthily, so that to the utmost of your power there be in you no charge, no drought, no contemplation, no carefulness of mind that is void of the praise of God.”
— Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
There is no self-assessed holiness that comes from the heart of praise; only sincere, heartrending thankfulness for a most incomprehensible gift; a prize of intellectual means and an affectation beyond all measure.
And what is the likeness of the mood we discuss? How might it be declared?
No thought for self-righteousness; none for worth without from God; precious little, it is hoped, for what we might bring to the altar of sacrifice prior to due penitence; a pittance for that which our lives are devoid of; and, certainly none for pride, greed, anger, lust, sloth, gluttony, or envy—the seven deadly sins.
Connecting Praise With Thankfulness
The shape of praise is formed by thankfulness; it might be considered the product of gratitude. Being thankful forms the ever-mouldable attitude of heart as it conjures thought for what might be praised. Praise and thankfulness, therefore, are a chicken-or-the-egg scenario; which comes first, and why, are irrelevant. They must just be entered into for the best of life to be achieved.
Importantly, though, we necessarily understand praise and thankfulness complement and work with each other such that all of life could be a gift offering of worship back the Lord.
At any deceptive or indifferent mood we thrust praise and/or thankfulness; holy combatants worthy for replete spiritual warfare.
Praise In All Seasons
Because battles come insidiously, vigorously, or by stealth, and often with hidden worth as to their actual threat value, we are frequently tricked—found without praise or thankfulness. Such a state of heart and mind attacks us when we are at either ease or peril—and any state between, really.
We come, therefore, at the ready, at all times, to hear the reminder of the Spirit, calling aloud within us, to convert attitudes of annoyance, complaint, and unhelpful comparison—to the ends of any spiritual compromise—into annotations of God-conformed delight, no matter the circumstances (with quick exception, only, for genuine grief).
And such annotations will not digress into dilutions of pride manifest in words, but they will stand alone in the God-anointed strength of silent action. Words betray the blessings of God that afford praise. Actions, on the other hand, keep faith with the power within, present always for disposal via the adroit sacrifice of love.
True praise is rarely, if ever, vocal—by our illicit shouts of “Praise the Lord.” A God-converted praise is first and foremost silent by sound and raucous by action.
Praise is the demeanour of solemn mindfulness that disciplines the body toward action that loves others and pleases God.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.