But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. ~ 1 Peter 2:9-10. ESV
Yesterday morning, our pastor preached on this Scripture passage. I was reminded of my purpose – the reason God gave me the mercy I do not deserve. I am made to “proclaim the excellencies of Him.” I am made to praise Him!
Our pastor went on to explain that there are two specific groups of people among whom we are to proclaim God’s praises. The first is our family of believers – our brothers and sisters in Christ. As we join together in corporate praise, we are drawn closer to Christ and to one another in love and purpose. As we worship the Lord in unity, we are able to serve Him with joy, each according to his or her God-given talents and abilities.
The second group is made up of those who have yet to receive the gift of God’s mercy and salvation through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. When Christians live a life of praise and thanksgiving to God, even in difficult circumstances, the lost get a glimpse of God’s power in our lives. His grace is apparent in our lives, and the Holy Spirit uses this to draw unbelievers to Himself. They are intrigued by the peace and joy they see in us; these result from the process of sanctification – growing more like Christ as we mature in our relationship with Him.
I was thinking on this last night, and I asked myself, “How did I learn to proclaim the excellencies of God? How did I learn to praise Him?”
Immediately I thought of my Nana. She lived a life of prayer and praise. As she went about her housework, she was constantly praying under her breath and praising Him in song. She went to God with the little things as well as the big things. I remember going to the grocery store with her. She would pray for a good parking space, and almost immediately God would open one for us. We would sit right there in the car and thank the Lord for that parking spot, praising Him for His faithfulness, goodness, and love. Nana also played the piano by ear, and I learned many praise choruses during the hours I spent by her side at that keyboard. My Nana is in heaven now, but I have that same piano in my living room, and it reminds me of her heart full of praise.
Then the Lord let me to a more pointed question: How are my children learning to praise Him?
Whoa. Um, I hadn’t really thought about that. I mean, I tell them about God and His goodness. We go to church where they hear hymns and praise songs. We listen to Veggie Tales CDs in the car. But do they really see and hear me praising God daily? Am I living my praise out loud?
Obviously I need to put some conscious effort into this area. I used to listen to praise music as I worked in the kitchen. That’s one habit I need to revive. And I must watch my words and attitudes, because how I react to situations will mold my children’s patterns of behavior. If I model a genuine life of worship, chances are they will absorb that into their own lives. When I live my life according to my purpose – proclaiming the excellencies of God – my children will learn how to fulfill their purpose as well.
How did you learn to praise God?
Who was influential in your spiritual formation?
What do you need to change in order to live according to your calling – to be a God-proclaimer?
My Nana taught me this psalm as a praise chorus. I love to sing it!
King James Version (KJV)
Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord!
I’m linking up with Misty over at CEO of Me. Click the button to check out her blog and see who else is linking up today!
Update: Today (Thursday) I’m also pleased to be linking up with Shari over at Leaving a Legacy. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to join with her and her wonderful readers, as well as our fellow bloggers, as we seek to encourage each other. Please take a minute to click over to her blog and say Hello!