“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” Harry Ironside
Last week I shared some things that caused discontent and dissatisfaction in my life. So what’s the best way to fight the Monster of Misery? We can discover so much from the apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:4, 6-8 (NASB)
Have you ever tried to be discontent while singing praises to Christ? How about wallowing in misery while thinking about things that are lovely, pure and worthy of praise? I have. After all, I had to test my hypothesis for this blog series! I couldn’t do it. I don’t believe it can be done. I challenge you to try it!
A couple of weeks ago, John and I were hiking a trail in a state park. We ignored the sign that said “Strenuous Trail” – after all, we walk occasionally on rough terrain at home (our flat streets have potholes). We were hiking to see the pristine 95 foot waterfall that was pictured on their website, which labeled it a photographer’s paradise. We slipped and tripped over mossy, damp boulders one mile down to the falls. It was…nice. But I seriously considered suing the state for false advertising.
We turned around and began the one mile hike back UP the mountain. My quadriceps burned out of control with each lunge I took over huge rocks and up the path. I was less than content.
And then…the most beautiful sound! Around the next bend in the trail, a group of students were headed toward the falls. And they were singing, joyfully! Their harmonizing was as clear as the spring water. The notes they sang trickled and danced across the rocks of the creek. In an instant, I was smiling and happy. The path seemed less strenuous, and much shorter after the mini concert.
[tweetthis]Praise changes Perspective![/tweetthis]
My attitude adjustment caused me to be thankful. Even though my legs were sore, I was thankful for them. I was able to hike the trail, and see natural beauty all around me. The falls were not what I expected, but they were a peaceful and calming place to rest before the trek back.
It all sounds pretty simple, right? Sing worship songs, rejoice, think about lovely things, pray with thanksgiving. But what happens when the music ends?
To be honest, many times (most times) in the heat of the moment, in the fire of discontent, I forget to rejoice. I forget to pray with thanksgiving, I forget to dwell on things worthy of praise. A hard but honest admission. Why do I forget?
Next week, we’ll learn from the apostle Paul how we can remember!
Lord, I want Your peace to guard my heart and mind. I want to remember to think on things that are lovely and pure and worthy of praise. I don’t want to feel the stirrings of discontent in my life. Help me, Lord! In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen
Linking up today with Holly Gerth, and Kate Megill .
Yay, Ellen! I love your new blog home. It’s beautiful. I pray that the Lord will bless your ministry through this blog, and that you’ll find great joy in it as well.
And YES! Praise changes our perspective. Love that tweet! 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by Betsy! This new home is definitely a leap of faith…perhaps Faith Spilling Over? Hee hee!
Julie Lefebure says
Ellen, your blog is beautiful and inviting. Such a lovely space! Wonderful job. Praise makes all the difference, but yes, I forget. I’m looking forward to next week’s post as well. Hope you’re having a blessed weekend!
Thank you Julie! Thanks for visiting! I learned so much writing this series. So glad you enjoyed it!
A Sunday will always start off in good fashion with a post like yours, a reminder of how strong praise is. Thank you for posting this, Ellen. It was heart medicine this morning.
And, I LOVE Harry Ironside’s quote. Can I read it one thousand times?!
Thank you Kristi, and thanks so much for stopping by! And YES, you can read it over and over, it’s a great reminder!
Sabra Penley says
How many times have I done the same thing. I get disappointed–not getting what I was hoping for, and I miss the blessings right in front of me. (In fact, my post this week is on this very thing.) Perspective is truly the difference. In putting on the full armor of God, Paul tells us to also be alert. I’ve always seen this as alert of the enemy around us. But maybe it also means to be aware of the amazing blessings and provision of God. Our eyes must be fixed in the right place in order to have grateful hearts. Thanks so much for sharing, Ellen. Great illustration of a much-needed message!
I love that Sabra! Being aware of the blessings right in front of our eyes! Thanks so much for stopping by!
Kelly Balarie says
Love this line: Have you ever tried to be discontent while singing praises to Christ?
It is so true. Love to think that we can root out discontentment with praise. Thanks Ellen!
Hey, Kelly! Thanks so much for stopping by! You encourage me with your tweets! 🙂
Philippians 4:8 is one of my favorite verses. And you are right, there is literally no way to be discontent when singing praise to God. When we praise God, he inhabits our praise and there is no room for anything else!!!
Amen Dawn! Thanks so much for stopping by!
Carmen Horne says
Sometimes my heart will be heavy and I just feel disconnected. I don’t want to praise. But… then I remember how much praise changes me – my heart. Beautifully written friend.
Thank you! Yes, praise changes us. And even when we feel disconnected, by praising, we know that we do have that ever important connection to Him! Thanks for stopping by sweet Carmen!
Sarah Donegan says
Your words made me smile-love that you tested your hypothesis! 🙂 you are so right, we can’t do both, so I will focus on praise!
I’m so glad I made you smile, Sarah! Thank you for stopping by! A secret: I’m STILL practicing my hypothesis! It is ongoing!