Thursday, February 10, 2011

Praise-telling the truth about God; Confession-telling the truth about ourselves

We’ve all heard it said that it’s important to tell the truth. Jesus reminds us that this applies to our worship as well, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” In worship, we tell the truth in a couple of different ways. The first is easy. In praise, we tell the truth about God, who is and what he has done for us. We call this praise. For the most part, praise comes naturally. It’s similar to what we do after watching an exceptional movie or witnessing a memorable football game. We simply tell the truth about what we’ve experienced. The Bible, especially the Psalms, is full of this kind of truth telling.

  • “The LORD watches over the way of the righteous” (1:6)
  • “Oh LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth” (8:1)
  • “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it” (24:1)
  • “The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?” (27:1)
  • “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18)

But praise is not the only opportunity for truth telling in worship. Not only must we tell the truth about God in praise, we must also tell the truth about ourselves. We call this confession. For fairly obvious reasons, that type of truth telling is much more difficult to do, but it is no less important for our souls. We are so good at deceiving, not only others but ourselves as well. But it is only in coming clean that we can be made clean. Ultimately, it’s not our sins that undo us, Christ has made a way for them to be forgiven, but our failure to tell the truth about who we are and what we need: A God who can make us clean.

Be encouraged today by the words of C.S. Lewis: I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptation. It is not serious, provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience, etc., don’t get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence.

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