If the Shoe Fits…Praise it!

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
 
 
Week Eight = Worthy of Praise
            1) If the shoe fits…praise it!
         2) He saves again and again – Praiseworthy!
         3) The struggle – worthy of praise…
         4) Don’t praise a book by it’s cover
         5) Praises for Endings, along with New Beginnings
Heart verse:
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!
                                    Psalm 67:5
           
 
 
Session 1 – If the shoe fits…
Can you believe it? This is our last week of study, girls! We did it! At the end of a Bible study I always feel a surreal since of completion. Like the Spirit is cheering us along at the end of the race. “On to the Finish line, “He shouts! It’s just a good reminder of the not yet finished race we run in life, but also a reminder that it is in fact finished. Jesus completed that good work, but we get to be a part of the richness of it together, by running the race and sharing the Word together in our time in history.
Worthy of praise is a GREAT wrap up of all things true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent. It’s convenient, because I feel like in the last seven weeks, we have in fact studied all things worthy of praise.
Speaking and hearing Truth – worthy of praise.
Giving and receiving Honor – worthy of praise.
Justice poured out by a Gracious God – worthy of praise.
Purity in Life lived in Christ – worthy of praise.
Lovely creation, lovely sacrifice – worthy of praise.
Commendable people, commendable promises – worthy of praise.
Excellent Savior, excellent discernment – worthy of praise.
The Greek for worthy of praise in Philippians 4:8 is epainos. This means that it is “fitting for praise”, it’s accurate praise, enthusiastic praise, appropriate praise and appropriate fame*. There is a fair amount of emphasis on the idea of praise that fits, or is appropriate.
I think this gives us a good window into praise in our current cultural context.  We can throw around accolades and honor all kinds of things as “worthy of praise” but do we mean it? Is it really worthy?
I’m a superlative kind of person. I like things big, with multiple exclamation points, and a few emoticons. My husband always brings me down to Earth. Early in our marriage, he was disturbed by my use of the phrase, “Awesome!”
I used it for everything.
“Isn’t this food awesome!”
“Love that movie. It’s awesome!”
“You are awesome!”
“Time for bed…awesome!”
You may laugh, but maybe only because you’re a little guilty too. 😉 In our culture words like epic and massive are used for everything in youth culture and then quickly catch on in the adult world. The urban dictionary online’s definition for epic is actually “the most overused word ever.” (Don’t look it up because there’s a fair amount of cursing in the post. Be forewarned.)
One way we can shine a little light seems obvious to me, but a little easier said than done. Let’s save the superlatives for things worthy of superlatives. And the praise, for things actually worthy of praise.
And wouldn’t you know, when you get down to it, things worthy of praise are always things associated with God.
First, the section of Scripture that uses the word Praise over and over and over again, Psalm 67:
May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
    your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
    let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase;
    God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
    let all the ends of the earth fear him!
“That your way may be known on the earth…” This is the point of praise. When we praise our children, let us lift it up to the God who works in them. When we praise a food, let it be because He made the seed grow (v. 6). When we praise a form of entertainment, let it be because He has given us laughter and joy and rest. But let it be worthy.
Seem like a bit much?
1 Peter 2:15-17, gives us a little insight into what is worthy of praise:
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
When we call attention to what is actually fitting for praise, we can silence that which is not. And, instead of fighting evil with words of anger and frustration, we can offer up a praise for what is worthy of praise. We can spend our whole lives filling our Facebook posts fighting things that make us angry, or talking to people about Hollywood sensations and the latest gossip. Or we can fill a feed and a conversation with worthy.
The shoe fits, for sure. I’m a sinner. My words and my time get eaten up and used in all kinds of ways that are not worthy of praise. But He is completely and utterly worthy. He gives us shoes of forgiveness and mercy that fit just right. He also gives us the Spirit-filled shoes in our baptism to give us a new mouthpiece when we are sorely in need of one.
The shoe fits, for sure. He is worthy. Always has been. Always will be.
Let the people’s praise you, O God. Let all the people’s praise you! Let me be one of them.

 

 

 

 

 

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