Jesus Christ is Love: Orient Your Heart Toward His

Fragment of textured painted blue wall

My prayer for you is that the Lord Jesus is shining his light into every part of your life today. The reason he can is because he chose to “face” God every moment of his life, always looking to Him and entrusting himself to His Father. That was Jesus’ “attitude.” Now he longs to give us every good thing, but in order to receive what he has for us, we must be facing him (2 Cor. 3:17–18), that is, orienting our hearts toward his.

Here are two dictionary definitions for attitude: “One’s manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; The inclination of the three principal axes of an aircraft relative to the wind, to the ground, etc.” You can see that we have a choice as to how we relate to something or someone. We can choose dis position or dat position. The aeronautical definition shows that the attitude of the wing determines whether the plane flies or crashes. As humans, our attitude determines the same thing. Yikes, we’d best get it right.

How we relate to God Almighty and to the Lord Jesus Christ are obviously critical (Heb. 11:6), which is why the Devil relentlessly distorts them, usually through well meaning Christians who promote the prevalent errors we all know and don’t love. In His written Word, and in His Son, God has painted a clear picture of His infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, and He shows us how to properly relate to Him and the Lord. For example:

Psalm 103:1-5 (NKJ)
1 Bless YAHWEH [see Exod. 34:6 for God’s definition of the Name He gave Himself because He had no parents], O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless YAHWEH, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, 4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Basically, to “bless” means “to speak well of.” Praise and worship are in that same verbal category. Perhaps you have realized that YOU are the first person to hear what comes out of your mouth. Uh-oh. You can’t control what those around you are saying, but at least you can think and then say godly things that will edify both yourself and others. Given the incredibly negative condition of this fallen world and its hurting denizens, keeping healthy thoughts in your mind is a constant battle. Maybe this will help:

Psalm 34:1–3
1 I will bless YAHWEH at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make its boast in YAHWEH; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify YAHWEH with me, And let us exalt His name together.

What does it mean to “magnify” something? It means to make it look BIGGER. The bigger GOD looks to you, the more you trust Him. The Israelites looked at Goliath, compared him to themselves, and ran away from him. David looked at Goliath, compared him to GOD, and ran toward him, confident that he could smoke the pipsqueak.

Our FATHER is the MEGA-GOD, and the more we see Him as such, the greater our faith to receive all He desires to give us. OK, here’s the world’s shortest word study: two uses of the Greek word megaleios. The first is in Luke 1:49, where an expectant Mary is speaking to Elizabeth.

Luke 1:46-49
46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies [megaluno] the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed [the text reads, “Mother of God”—just kidding]. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things [megaleios] for me, And holy is His name.

The only other use is in Acts 2:11, where those who heard the first Christians speaking in many different tongues said they were “speaking the wonderful works [megaleios] of God.”

Omigosh! It looks like God has given each Christian a double-barreled way to praise, worship, and eulogize Him! As you will see, I use the adjective “double-barreled” purposefully, because there is a biblical connection between praise and spiritual warfare. Speaking of magnifying God, here’s a verse you may know:

Acts 10:46
For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify [megaluno] God.

How does speaking in tongues MAGNIFY GOD to you? Because it re-assures you that God is real, Jesus beat death, the Word is true, you have within you his resurrected power, you are guaranteed everlasting life no matter what, and you can now do the works that Jesus did. What else does the Word say speaking in tongues is? 1 Corinthians 14:18 says it is “giving thanks well,” and Philippians 3:3 says it is “worshiping God in the spirit.”

So besides the privilege we have to praise, worship, and glorify our Father and our Lord with our understanding, we also have a supernatural way to extol their limitless virtues. And whenever we do so in either way builds us up in our faith. In that vein, I think the following verses are relevant:

Hebrews 13:15-16
15 Therefore by Him [Jesus] let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

How much do you speak in tongues? In light of Paul saying that he did it more than all the Corinthians, I must ask myself that same question. And when was the last time you interpreted your tongue to edify some members of the Royal Family. “Well, I can’t afford to go to London.” Not that family. Are you up to speed about the biblical truth that interpretation of tongues is NOT a message from God, but rather exactly what tongues is, as we have seen above? If not, click these links to get on track: Interpretation of Tongues video and article. If you are not a vital part of a lively local fellowship, why not attend one of our Online Fellowships and “seek to excel to the edifying of the Body of Christ” by bringing forth tongues with interpretation or prophecy.

In closing (audience sigh of relief), let’s look at two records that connect our praising God with His doing battle on our behalf. The first is in 2 Chronicles 20, from which I have space only for some excerpts, so please read the whole chapter.

2 Chronicles 20
1 It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ 12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” 14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel… 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.

It is not normal military strategy to put a band at the front of an advancing army. So we see that when we praise God, He fights for us. And finally, this short and sweet psalm shows us that same truth.

Psalm 149
1 Sing to the Lord a new song, And His praise in the assembly of saints. Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand,To execute vengeance on the nations, And punishments on the peoples;To bind their kings with chains, And their nobles with fetters of iron;To execute on them the written judgment—This honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord!

This specifically relates to those who fight for God in the Battle of Armageddon, but the spiritual principle is applicable to us today: one of our main weapons, if you will, is praising God and the Lord Jesus. Our doing so is a win-win proposition, for it increases our faith and it allows our Father to do battle in the spiritual realm for us. For a more thorough exposition of this topic, you can listen to Let Us Praise.

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