The Garment of Praise

Oct 8, 2011
Winfield, Mo.
What evinces faith in God the most is—rest—that is, trusting always in Him, that He “means” and “works” good to the believer in all that is encountered (Gen 50:20; Ro 8:28)! There is no other means of peace in the true sense of the word, and there is nothing that you will think, say or do that could stay the Father’s hand from this all-sovereign control. Is there anything superior, concerning fellowship in God, to such truth as this? There is nothing opposing a believer in this position that could significantly distract from being in such fulfilling concert with God. Instead of letting our “heart be troubled” it is “let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Jn 14:1, 27; Col 3:15).

The Garment of Praise

Is it to the Lord Jesus that our hearts turn spontaneously? Is it to Him that we turn as the needle to the pole? It may be quivering under the pressure of outward circumstances, but there, it surly turns. Is it in the consciousness that we have been brought into our Father’s presence and seated in heavenly places in the Lord Jesus, placed there as at home in our position, that we walk in this world (Eph 2:6)?

Is this the experience of our heart? But few of God’s children could answer with simplicity and assurance of heart, that it is so with them, that there they confidently dwell. They may be able to say, “It is my desire”; but what is the actual state of the heart? Is the tone of thanksgiving, the spirit of adoration, that which characterizes us throughout each day? Or is the power of praise the rare thing, and the trial of circumstances upon us, and the consciousness of failure, that which prevails?

We have, as it were, to put on the garment of praise, instead of merely standing ever clothed in it. I do desire this for myself as for all the children of God, knowing how blessed it is (praising God in all things knowing He works them for good to you—NC), though how little entered into. Assuredly it is the sweetest place and the key to real power. I do not allude now to the power which manifests itself in testifying to others (which is, no doubt, important in its right place), but there is no power so blessed as the happy, peaceful, calm enjoyment of abiding in the presence of the Father. There is nothing that so wears (our conscious abiding in God, though our position in Him unmoved—NC) through all the storms and difficulties and trials of persons and things here.

For if we are happy in our own souls, we have a similar effect on others. If our hearts, on the contrary, are always dull, and we are occupied with evils (obsessive concerns relating to the sin nature—NC) and disappointments, then thence follows a querulous weakness in ourselves, and we become rather the means of enfeebling souls, and filling Christ’s members with that which is the reflection of our own weakness instead of evidencing the strength which is in the Lord Jesus. There are all sorts of difficulties in the way; but if the Father has allowed a soul to go there, He does not fail. He mercifully sustains and guides (1Co 10:13), and therefore “they go from strength to strength” (Psa 84:7).

The renewed soul cannot but bring its weakness and difficulties before the Father (1Pe 5:7—NC). But though we must not pray less, we should praise more (myself, even while in tears from “trials”—NC). Not that we should not feel our weakness and the valley of Baca (Psa 84:6 - from H1058, weeping; Baca, a valley in Palestine—NC); but we are called to far, far more, every one of us; and it would be a poor thing to have a title to some blessing if it were not an enjoyed and appropriated title; if it was like a mere parchment deed, shut up in a strong box, instead of a flowing and tasted spring of delights.

It is not the conflict, but the soul’s rest in the presence of the Father, which we must not defer till we get to heaven. May our hearts turn there to the enjoyment of the Father Himself (all blessings aside—NC), even while we are here in this sad world (majority ever under the curse—NC). We shall feel the difficulties, but it will be as those that are above them. It will not be an easy path to our flesh. But as felt as all may be, there is something better than being occupied with the sorrows and hindrances along the way, and this is joying in the Father and in the Son (Phl 4:4).

Hence, while the trials are experienced, yet we may and should have such repose (Rom 12:12—NC) in the Father about them all, that, while we feel everything, we should seem as if we felt nothing. That is what was realized by Paul—“many tears” (Act 20:19; 2Co 2:4), “none of these things move me” (Act 20:24). The triumph of faith flows from the heart’s appreciation of the Father’s own grace in the Lord Jesus Christ.

— W J Hocking (1864 – 1953)