As an author and film producer, Bill Myers’s work has won over 70 national and international awards including the C.S. Lewis Honor Award. His books and videos, which include Eli and McGee and Me, have sold 8 million copies. His most recent book, The Jesus Experience - Journey Deeper into the Heart of God, explores how he went from a burned-out evangelical to someone head-over-heels in love with his Creator. www.billmyers.com
THE DISCIPLINE OF PRAISE
As a closet Eeyore, praise does not come naturally for me. But over the years I’ve developed it as a habit . . . singing, humming, quietly thanking God throughout the day. Why? Because it focuses me on the real Truth of who He is, and not the transient truth of situations. But what if I don’t feel like praising Him, doesn’t that make me a hypocrite? Not at all. It doesn’t matter what my uninformed mind thinks or my fickle emotions feel, God’s sovereignty and love are the real truth.
I enjoyed reading in the Psalms where David tells his troubled soul to sit down, be quiet and worship. But in James, when Christians were tortured and murdered, the head of the church in Jerusalem had the gall to write: “Consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials.” I used to think, “What? Are you kidding me? As my children
are being dipped in tar and set on fire for not worshipping Caesar, I’m supposed to consider it ‘pure joy?’”
Then, there was Paul, the “All things work together for the good if you love the Lord” guy of Romans 8:28. Not only did he write that, but he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:13-16: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I’m sorry? The will of Christ Jesus for me is to “give thanks in all circumstances?” Seriously? What type of live-in-an-ivory-tower person would write that? But it only takes a stroll through 2 Corinthians 11:24-33 to realize Paul’s ivory tower consisted of being imprisoned, flogged with 39 lashes four times, beaten with rods three times, shipwrecked three times, lost at sea, stoned and left for dead, robbed and on and on, and on some more.
The point is, these guys knew a secret. It took me a while to learn it, but it really is true: God’s will for me is to give thanks in all circumstances (regardless whether I understand them or feel them). It may take several minutes, but when I live in that obedience, my spirit opens up to experience God’s greater love for me. And when I experience that greater love, I can’t help but overflow with His peace and love Him back.