The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 7)

I am reminded of a phrase in the English language: “damn with faint praise.” If we commend something with little enthusiasm, we are showing that our praise is not heartfelt. It is fake, superficial—even hypocritical. Words of praise only ring true when flowing from a heart full of praise.

The true state of our heart is revealed when we praise something. For example, my coworkers don’t doubt my love of the Copper Cellar hamburger. Why? Because I continually praise it as a great lunch—the best, in fact—and because I partake of that meal every single Wednesday (except in cases of conflicting business appointments, inhibiting sicknesses, or when the restaurant closes and locks its doors). It is obvious that I enjoy the food because I so heartily commend it.

Similarly, our praise of God reveals how much we prize God. Do I see my need for God? Do I recognize that I am desperate for His aid? Do I value God’s presence in my life so much that I would rather stop living than have Him leave me? My heart’s true posture before God is revealed in how I praise Him.

“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You…. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:3, 5). When we see God as better than life itself, we will praise Him with our lips and our life. When our soul is satisfied with God as our treasure, we will praise Him with much joy.

In Matthew 15:8 Jesus said, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” May that never be said of us! May we not damn our Lord with faint praise.

Comments

Jennifer Barley said…
Cap, thank you for this encouragement, I have but one question for you. Can you explain your statement "May we not damn our Lord with faint praise?" The idea that we have any ability to damn God in any respect troubles me.
Cap Stewart said…
Sorry for the confusion. I didn’t mean to imply that we could damn God in any literal sense. I was just trying to apply the phrase to the topic at hand. In other words, let us avoid heartless praise. A man who says, “Honey, that meal was delicious” in a monotone voice with a deadpan expression does not praise his wife well. His praise, in fact, is more like a curse. Instead of effectively praising his wife’s work, he is actually condemning (or damning) his wife’s work. Does that make sense?
Jennifer said…
Yes, I agree with you. I hadn't thought that you meant that, but I did want to double check :) Thanks Cap.