One Monday morning, I bounced into my 5th-grade classroom. Sunday’s night’s message had been about not letting anything take our praise. Pastor had told the story of David encouraging himself in the Lord, how he battled the Amalekites to regain his joy, and how he won the victory. It had been a dancing, shouting, aisle-running service, and I was still aglow.

The teacher separated the class into groups and gave us a project. As I worked, the gladness in my heart bubbled over into a soft song. Another girl said, “Please stop singing. I can’t concentrate.” Now as an adult, I understand the reasonableness of her request. But as a child, and in light of the previous night’s message, I took it as she was trying to silence my praise. I was NOT about to let some heathen child steal my victory! I began to sing again – just a bit louder – and changed my song to, “Oh, the children of the Lord have a RIGHT to shout and sing!”

Okay, so my understanding might have been lacking slightly, but you know what? I miss that girl, with her unabashed determination that nothing and nobody would silence her praise.  We sing a song, “I’ve never lost my praise.” Unfortunately, that’s not true for me. At times I’ve allowed the enemy of my soul, the accuser of the brethren, to silence my worship. “How dare you try to praise God?” he would taunt. “I know all the mistakes you’ve made and how often you fall short. What makes you think God wants praise from a messed-up failure like you?” Other times, I’ve allowed the weight of tribulations and grief to slowly smother my joy. I am sure I am not the only one who’s, “Been there, done that.” The last few years have brought painful trials to many of our church family. But today is the day to reclaim our boldness in the Holy Ghost. This our season to shake off the spirit of heaviness and put on the garment of praise.  It’s time to celebrate in the presence of the Lord!

The Psalmist David wrote, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Psalm 57:7). He penned this avowal while hiding in a cave, on the run from King Saul. Doubtless, he battled discouragement, fear, and bitterness. But David placed his trust in God. The word “fixed” here means: steadfast, prepared, unwavering, resolved. David made a resolution, “I refuse to allow my enemies or my circumstance rob my of my worship. No matter what comes my way, I choose to delight myself in the Lord and find my strength in Him.” As we make our New Year’s resolutions for 2018, let’s follow David’s example and make this our own declaration for the coming year. Don’t take my praise!