We Praise What We Most Value

What we praise, proves what we value. And what we value, determines our moral compass.

If we value all that glitters (gifts that make us feel important, our homes, cars, vacations), all that feeds our egos (popularity, flattery, external beauty) and all that the world values (positive thinking, constant entertainment, Photoshopped versions of our lives a.k.a social media), then that is what we will praise, value, and fight for. But if what we value are the things of God: holiness, righteousness, justice, kindness, sacrificial living/giving, and humility/humiliation; then that is what we will praise, value, and fight for.

Let the saints learn then to be more open mouthed for Christ. Let them commend him to others, and commend him from their own experience; first, to their fellow saints, saying, ‘Come, and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.’ O! should not Christ’s friends be commending their friend one to another. This would be a most seasonable work at this day, in which religion is decaying…

If we esteem one highly, it is natural to take his part, and to do what we can to support his interest and honour; and if Christ have our hearts, he will get our endeavors that way also.
~Thomas Boston,
I Count All Things But Loss: 8 Sermons on Philippians 3:8-9
Sermon 1.I.1

When we abide in Jesus Christ, we no longer deem something to be a gift of love and sacrifice because it makes us look or feel good. Rather, we humbly praise and are immensely grateful for a widow's mite—the things we most often take for granted because we think too little of them (daily biblical-intercessory prayer, a loving phone call, a kind visit, a thoughtful note as the Spirit leads).

When we judge ourselves and the world around us justly, that is, by the Word of God, we clearly see that whatever good we receive, is from the Lord (Jn 7:24, Acts 17:11, 1 Thess 5:21-22). If a person believes the truth of the Gospel—that they've sinned against a holy God, and therefore, have made themselves His enemies and duly deserve His wrath to be poured out onto them,  then they soberly fear the LORD (Ps 111:10). And only then is that person happily humbled and immensely grateful for God's gift of repentance and faith in the righteous work of Jesus, that cleanses us from all unrighteousness, and robes us with the righteousness of the only begotten Son of God.

Therefore, let us learn to daily examine our hearts, by what comes out of our mouths (Mt 15:18-19). Without any external prodding, what do we  most frequently and with the most excitement, praise and thank God for?

If you want to know the truth about yourself, I urge you to do this, every day, for just a week. Keep a journal or make notes on your phone of: what and who you praise, how often you do it, and why you’re praising it/them (in private and/or public).

In performing this simple and practical exercise of self-examination, you will assuredly discover four things:

  1. If you are a grateful person (expressing gratitude for any good), or a complaining person (entitled grumbling and speaking/presuming evil of others);
  2. If you’re more protective of your self-image, or of God’s holy Name and His image;
  3. If you’re more concerned about people offending you, or of you offending God;
  4. If you’re more inclined to entertainment and flattery, or God’s kingdom and His glory.

When we cultivate a daily practice of measuring ourselves with the only straight ruler, the Word of God, we will faithfully produce the good fruit of Christ Jesus our Lord. And when we go Home, we will arrive with a harvest of righteousness that was sown in peace, by the hand of God Almighty.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I perform before those who fear Him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever!
~Psalm 22:25-26, ESV