“But as for me, I will hope continually and will praise You yet more and more.” Psalm 71:14 NASB
My sister Jeni LOVES to exercise. Rarely a day goes by without a workout, it is intrinsic to who she is.
Not me. Although I enjoy exercise, I have to work at working out. I need to plan it into my day or it won’t happen. Exercise is an exercise in planning and diligence.
As a child, Jeni hated exercise (we both did). I remember tears on hikes, sudden illnesses before the “100 Yard Dash” at school, and creative excuses made to get out of many torturous exercise events.
Because of continuous workouts over the course of decades, my sister is now a pro! She went from a little girl crying on hikes, to become a distance runner and has enjoyed a career in the exercise industry. As a result of habits ingrained over time, Fitness is now a part of her person.
Many of us are this way when it comes to praising God. It’s not inherent to immediately think and speak words of hope and praise when the storms of life come. Instead, we go to our default mechanisms. Some of my defaults come in the form of discouragement or questions like, “me again” or “why God?”
The Psalmist says in chapter seventy-one verse fourteen that he will hope continually and praise the Lord yet more and more. Hmmm… to continually hope and praise the Lord more and more. This doesn’t come naturally to my sometimes melancholy personality.
I enjoy reading about Christian Saints in history and in the Bible. It brings me comfort to know many of them weren’t natural “praisers”. It was something that they trained themselves to do through the power of the Holy Spirit and habit. Eventually, it became their default response, and they became people overflowing with hope and praise.
Like my sister, they did not begin as they finished.
Hope and praise can become deep-seated in us by exercising our faith muscles, as the Saints did.
Let’s begin with diligence and intention. Here’s a few practical steps:
~ Scripture memorization- chose verses that focus on Praise
~ Daily praise and thanksgiving- I use a journal to record mine
~Become intimate with those who walk in hope and praise- they will rub off on you
~ Dedicate yourself to God daily
~ Evaluate in prayer at night
~ Do it again, the next day and the next and the next… until…
It is you who are rubbing off on those around you in Praise and Hope.
So here’s to our first laps, knowing we will not end where we started.