What gives you joy? The answer is a great barometer of spiritual maturity. Whatever your answer, compare it with the writings of Habakkuk. This little book is often overlooked or passed by. It shouldn’t be. Habakkuk preserved for us an essential attitude for loving our Lord supremely and loving others in a God-honoring way. Notice Habakkuk 3:17-18 –
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Is it easier to worship and rejoice if all is well with us? If so, our joy is centered around things or self. The focus is off. The Lord is worthy even if everything around me is failing. And yes, it does challenge us to have joy and worship in those circumstances. But, we must reach that level of maturity. We can never say, “He is worthy if….” Don’t be tempted to think along that line. Our renewed thinking is to be short and to the point: He is worthy. (Notice the period?) In keeping with v. 18, we should say it this way: He is worthy!
There’s another reason this is important. Psalm 22:7 says our Father is enthroned upon the praises of His people. Praising Him “because He is” allows us to be obedient in worship and our worship serves as another weapon of our warfare. And didn’t Job embody this same thought? He said:
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
Joy & Prayer
This actually connects to the previous post about prayer. That post prompted this general question:
How can I ask for (fill-in-the-blank) if I am only supposed to pray for things that give God glory?
The post was short. So it was never meant to be anything other than a general, beginning principle. But praying for God’s glory is consistent with making our requests made known to God (Philippians 4:6). Habakkuk reminds us to keep God’s worthiness in view. Moses’ prayer showed us we should desire God to be glorified in all things. Neither of those ideas rules out my/our personal requests. They just provide a filter and/or a proper perspective. God’s worthiness is the basis of our worship. His glory is to be the passion and goal of our lives. Those two principles then guide what we ask for and why we seek it.
Here’s a helpful line of thinking. What is disappointment? In general, it’s unmet expectations. Is there ever a time God will not be glorified? No. He shares His glory with no one. God is glorified if I am a:
- Better disciple
- More humble
- Better, more Godly spouse
- Generous giver
- Better, more Godly parental example
Get the idea? Ask for the things you need (or those around you need) in order to be faithful in giving God the glory due His name. And when you ask amiss (and we all do), remember again what Job said:
The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Remembering these things will minimize our disappointments and maximize our joy. Happy praising and, have a great day!