The Sacrifice of Praise
July 21, 2020
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How did Job survive hell on earth? “He fell to the ground in worship.”
If you want to make it through the tough times, you have to give God the sacrifice of praise. I know that’s easier said than done, but there’s no other way. And the hardest praise is often the highest praise.
That’s how Job survived his dark night of the soul.
That’s how David survived the wilderness years.
That’s what got Paul and Silas out of prison.
I have a mantra that is repeated at our church all the time: don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God. Don’t let the voice of condemnation keep you from worshipping God; sing over it. If your worship is based on your performance, you’re not really worshipping God anyway. That kind of worship is a form of self-worship because it’s based on what you do rather than who God is.
The only way to drown out the pain is to sing over it. Remember the Tomatis effect (if not you can read about here)? In order to sing over it, you have to hear God’s whisper.
During the long recuperation after my intestines ruptured, I learned to worship God by putting a song on repeat and singing it until I believed it. There is a Darrell Evans song that I played hundreds of times. It was my soundtrack, and it eventually became my reality:
I’m trading my sickness.
I’m trading my pain.
Let me make a few observations about worship.
First, the hardest praise is the highest praise. God loves us when we least expect it and least deserve it, but we have a hard time returning the favor. If you worship Him only when you feel like worshipping, you’ll worship less and less. If you learn to praise Him in the toughest of times, the best is yet to come. And don’t forget, you are His joy. Is He yours?
Second, whatever you don’t turn into praise turns into pain. If you internalize pain, it only gets worse. A little offense can turn into a ton of bitterness over time, and before you know it, you’re in a world of hurt. And if you complain about it, it turns into a compound fracture. The Enemy of your soul wants to keep you so bottled up that you alienate yourself from God and others. The best way to deal with pain is to verbalize it to the Lord. How? Sing over it. Sing through it.
Let me double all the way back to where we started. If your life is off-key, maybe it’s because you’ve been deafened by the negative self-talk that doesn’t let God get a word in edgewise. Maybe you’ve listened to the voice of shame so long that you can’t believe anything else about yourself. Or maybe it’s the Enemy’s voice of condemnation that speaks lies about who you really are.
It’s hard to hear God’s voice when pain is screaming in your ear. The way you silence those voices is by singing over them.
Finally, sing it like you believe it. Do we really believe what we’re singing? Then perhaps we should notify our faces. While we’re at it, let’s notify our hands and our feet too. When you’re excited about something, it’s not easy to stand still. I don’t think you have to dance in a grove of trees like my friend Dick Eastman. But if you believe it, don’t just sing it. Declare it.
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.