“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”
I don’t know about you, but I’m sensing a theme in Psalm 150.
There’s also a theme in John 15. Let me quote just a bit of it for you: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. … If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (verses 4-5, 7).
In both of these passages, there is one key word that comes up over and over again. In the Psalm, the word is “praise” – not an uncommon word in the Psalms, certainly, but mentioned here very frequently. In the passage from John, the word is “abide.” These two relate very nicely. If you are abiding in the vine, Jesus, you will experience fruitfulness. That fruitfulness will naturally lead to praise.
The problem that presents itself is that fruitfulness does not happen automatically. It takes time, something we don’t appreciate in our culture of instant gratification. In a period of waiting to bear fruit, it can be difficult to convince ourselves to praise the Lord. We tend to praise him only when we see results.
However, praise is one of the tell-tale signs of someone who is abiding in Jesus. Abiding means understanding and accepting his Will for us, even when we don’t recognize or like it. When his Will is to wait, we will be able to understand and accept it if we continue to abide in him. We will praise him, knowing that he has a wonderful plan for us that we simply cannot see yet. If you’re in that period of waiting for fruitfulness, keep this in mind: Jesus has not forgotten you. Remember that he has a plan for you if you continue to abide, and praise him for his mighty deeds!