Written by Paul J. Bucknell on December, 21, 2019
Our Daily Pursuit of God: Renewing Our Affection for God from Psalm 145:2
A Christian’s faith sometimes resembles a deadish battery. It works a little, but it is sluggish, difficult, and at best tedious—often not getting the job done. These believers end up being confused and anxious about life, often exhibiting a critical spirit rather than brandishing love. Jesus sums it up in a few words, “Apart from me, you cannot do nothing” (John 15:5).
These brothers and sisters know they are not where they should be and quite uncertain about what they could do to improve things. They took certain steps, but they didn’t lead anywhere. The challenges of spiritual inertia, bitterness, resentment, and the lack of vision like different cords all seem to pull together like a powerful rope holding them back from seeking the Lord’s ways afresh.
Psalm 145:2 leads us down one pathway to awaken our lackluster faith. Believers know they should reunite their hearts to the Lord, but face high resistance every time they attempt to do so. And so, they become hesitant to get back together with God. Despite our minimal free time and an inability to refocus our lives on the Lord, Psalm 145:2 can help. The secret power of this verse is its embedded exercise. Try it out and see how it works.
Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. (Psalm 145:2)
A Daily Praise
David, the Psalmist, captures special lessons for us in poetry. God wants to use these to help us in our spiritual growth. David points out his desire to daily bless God, not just as a mere fact but as a spiritual lesson. The daily aspect sets a model for us to follow that will edge us out of the pit of indifference.
One common complaint, from the young to old, is the inability to find time to meet God. This exercise breaks the time consumption problem. As much as one might belabor the lack of time to meet God, there is always time to praise His Name. It takes hardly any time at all! The verse also seems to overcome the difficulty that crops up for others— the place. How? Simply by the fact that one can say a prayer of blessing anywhere, he or she travels.
The exercise, of course, is to bless the Lord daily. David is calling us all to join him in doing what is most proper and fitting.
The second part of the verse, “I will praise Your name forever and ever” is not our focus here. This part does help us by guiding us to deliberate on one’s longterm commitment—one’s eternal calling. It is important because it digs deeper into what we believe about God. But for now, we will settle on meditating on the first part of the verse, highlighting our affection to God by praising the Lord.
Our affections for the Lord derive from our belief in the Lord’s majestic person and ways. I am not speaking of mere knowledge of what we believe but what we deep down believe. We must move beyond the mere reading of doctrinal statements, no matter how excellently composed they are. They are fine, but we do not bring praise to God simply by reading what other people believe—no matter how well-written they are. God cares about our own thoughts.
Indifference to God or ambivalence about Him reflects that our faith, at least for a period, has regressed. Backsliding is primarily characterized by no longer being convinced that God’s grace is amazing or our desperate need for Him. This coldness of heart can dull our souls even though we intellectually confess God’s omnipresence and mercy. Observe the tension between what one ought to be like and what one is like. This lack of passion for the Lord indicates a rebellious heart.
Part 1: Foster self-examination
The exercise to praise God helps first by demanding that we analyze our attitudes before we sincerely praise the Lord. It forces us to self-examine ourselves and point out how slow our hearts are to praise Him. Fortunately, most believers know God’s goodness. They used to praise the Lord, but now, somehow, they see their hearts distant from God. This step alerts us to our sinful hearts.
This readying process is step one. After observing our reluctant hearts, we confess our slowness to praise the God who deserves all honor. If you need to remind yourself of the glory of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, read aloud Revelation 5.
Part 2: Praising God
The second part of this important exercise is to praise God each day. We are not going to accept every other day as being good enough. We insist on daily praises. Nor will we tolerate a verbal statement of praise, no matter how elaborate, if our hearts are not agreeing in the praise.
God, through His Word, calls us to consider His abounding grace, love, and goodness personally. God does not lack these things; our problem stems from forgetting the significance of the Lord in our lives. By stating one great thing of the Lord each day, we begin to affirm who the Lord is in relationship to ourselves. Frankly, I would not just praise God once a day, but more frequently.
The result of praising the Lord from our hearts enables the darkness about our soul to break apart and the light to flicker in. I agree, getting started praising God can be hard. Allow me to illustrate.
What if I just don’t feel like praising Him?
Start by honestly stating that you don’t feel like praising Him! I’m serious here. State the truth. Often, the moment we acknowledge our hesitation to praise Him, we can take one step further forward. This step leads us to praise Him. We suddenly see that the problem is not the Lord or our schedule but us! And so, we follow up immediately by agreeing that our souls are wrongly reluctant in praising Him (confession).
Make sure, after the confession and asking for cleansing through Jesus’ blood, take the final step and praise God. “Even though I feel this way, I know you are a good God. You have answered so many of my prayers. etc.” Go on praising Him as long as you can. This brings us through the whole cycle of repentance and faith.
Each truth statement is another burst of light that breaks apart the darkness, which, in turn, allows us to take one further step.
Moving forward in our spiritual pursuit
Once we start praising Him from our hearts, we are again speaking with Him. When we do this, it is much easier to add on reading His Word. “Lord, You are so great! So are your words! Teach me. I need you.”
Try not to read a long passage. It might be good to go through a list of the promises of God or read a Psalm until the Spirit speaks to you. To more deeply integrate this exercise in your life, do the questions below.
Discussion Questions and Exercises
- Memorize Psalm 145:2.
- What are the key words in Psalm 145:2?
- What does it mean to “bless” the Lord?
- Considering David’s life, what things do you think he would bless the Lord for?
- What are five things you can bless the Lord for?
- How have your times with God been lately?
- Try this exercise: Bless the Lord every day for at least one thing He has done.
- Examine whether you are just saying these things or that you believe they are true.