We praise what we value
What we praise is a litmus test of what we value. It happens without us even thinking about it. In our natural self we do not want to praise the Lord, but at salvation the Lord begins to change us. He gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) that desires to praise Him as our Creator and Redeemer. C. S. Lewis calls it the good infection in his book Mere Christianity.
New patterns of thinking thanks for all that He is and does begin to take shape in our minds. God initiates a process of out-shaping us from the world’s mindset and in-shaping us to become like His Son (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). After a time, we actually begin to direct our praise naturally toward God. Why? He has reshaped our thinking to know how intricately He is involved with every detail of our lives, and He has reconfigured our hearts to value how precious and trustworthy He is.
Connection of Expressing and Completing
“I had noticed…that men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it…I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.” C.S. Lewis
It is not enough to just think the thanks or praise, it must be expressed to be completed. Like a joy that must be shared. Like a secret that wants to be told. There are various methods of expressing thanks:
- writing it down
- singing it to the Lord
- orally saying the words to God Himself
- sharing His works with someone else
Somehow it needs to be expressed for the completion of the thanks. Maybe that’s why we call it “giving” thanks – the thought has to come out into the open. The gratitude is unfinished if it finds its end only in your thoughts.
There is a contagious element here as well. When we express our thanks, we encourage others to also praise. Talk about good peer pressure! 🙂
Aiding the Sanctification Process
Just like human growth when a new baby grows into a young child and eventually into a full grown adult, so it is with spiritual growth. What do you “look like” spiritually? How would you appear if we could change your spiritual life into physical human form? Would you be an infant? Would you be emaciated? Would you be obese from high spiritual intake and no exercise? Or would you be mature in stature and strong in your spiritual walk, looking more and more like Jesus?
In Ephesians 5:19-20 we get a glimpse of what a mature Spirit-filled person is like.
Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why not start now expressing your gratitude to God for who He is? Not only are you fulfilling what God created you to do, but your obedience actually enhances His recreation of you. As you discover things to think thanks about, express those things to God and to others. You can write them down or say them out loud.
The brain responds to what you choose to think about. You will forge and establish a neuro-brain thought pattern that not only pleases the Creator, but will be beneficial for you physically and spiritually.
So, go ahead! Take a little advice from C. S. Lewis. Complete your enjoyment! Think thanks, and then give thanks!
The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” — Henry Ward Beecher
Th(i)nkful (adj) describing people who choose to download grace/strength from the Lord to think thanks about every circumstance in their life and to express that thanks orally or in written form.