Blessing God in the “corners”
Last night, I read Psalm 34.1. It says, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” I’ve read those words a million times before, but I was struck by it afresh this time. This verse suggests a couple of things. First, it suggests that God never intended for our faith to be delegated to tiny, dark corners of our lives, only brought into the light at church on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings. Our faith must permeate our lives completely. Second, it suggests that it’s possible to praise the LORD every moment of every day.
All right, but let’s be real: you and I are not good at applying this verse. It sounds awesome, but it’s difficult in practice. I truly want to bless the LORD at all times, but oftentimes I’m not really sure how. Do you feel that?
There are, perhaps, countless reasons why this is the case. However, for me, there is one main reason that I’ve identified; namely, I don’t have a cross-centered view of the phrase “bless the LORD.” Let me put it another way to explain. I tend to think of “blessing the LORD” the way I think of “blessing other people.” As an example, let’s say my friend asks me to loan him $10. If I oblige, he will be blessed by my giving him something that he doesn’t have.
If we apply this idea to “blessing God”, though, it becomes a problem. God is the owner of everything; He doesn’t need anything from us. We cannot add to who He is in any way. When we read Psalm 34.1, we have to understand that it is not about giving God a monetary gift, offering Him some encouragement, or boosting His self-esteem. We cannot help God enjoy Himself more than He already does. We also cannot make God love us more than He already does because of Jesus. Just read Romans 11.34-36!
Blessing God is not “doing stuff” for Him. Blessing God is acknowledging to Him – in a spirit of dependence and gratitude – what He already knows about Himself. It doesn’t mean reading your Bible for a certain length of time, or giving a certain amount of money to the church… as if God needed those things from you. It has nothing to do with “working”, and everything to do with “loving.”
If you love something, you’ll talk about it. So, if you love God, you’ll talk about Him. You’ll say and think things like “Wow, God created a beautiful sunrise today!”, or, “This ice cream reminds me of how good God is to me!”, or “Aren’t you glad that God has given us this beautiful house?” Does that sound crazy? Perhaps. But I think it only sounds crazy because our minds are so man-centered. All of God’s blessings are mere shadows of His greatness, intended to point us to Him. So, in every moment of every day, you have an opportunity to bless the LORD. If God has given you a spirit of gratefulness, it will naturally overflow.
One final thought. How can you bless God while you’re lying in bed? You’re not with anyone, so you can’t share the gospel, and you can’t thank God publicly for His blessings to you. Here are two suggestions. First, I have tried as often as I can, to read a small section of Scripture every night before I fall asleep. My hope is that I can go to bed having been reminded of something about God, so that I can meditate on and thank Him for that while I’m in bed. Second, one of my pastors suggested recently to go through the alphabet and try to think of at least one attribute of God for each letter to praise Him for. Acknowledge to Him that you believe in who He is and trust Him because of it. You will be blessed, and God will be honored.
We will fail often in applying Psalm 34.1, but the LORD is very glorified by our desire to do so. He is our Father, and He is on our side. We must remember also, that all of our flawed attempts to bless Him in every “corner” of our lives are covered in the perfect blood of Christ. For that, too, we can bless the LORD.