The Climate of Praise
Day 179: The Climate of Praise
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Climate refers not only to the prevailing average temperatures in a geographical region but also, "the prevailing influence or environmental conditions characterizing a group or period."
Some plants cannot grow in harsh and bitter climates. Take, for instance, the pineapple.
The pineapple is a tropical or near-tropical plant limited (except in greenhouses) to low elevations between 30°N and 25°S. A temperature range of 65°-95°F (18.33-45°C) is most favorable, though the plant can tolerate cool nights for short periods.
The climate does not provide the life for growth, but the conditions for growth. We cannot grow if we do not have spiritual life, and if we do not have live in a climate that encourages growth. The Lord's words ring true, "Ye must be born again." (See John 3:7) and the Apostle Peter's:
2 Peter 3:18
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Grace saved us, and grace grows us. What are the prevailing influences that we allow into our lives? Do they hinder or help our growth? What prevalent influences do we exude from our hearts into the lives of others? Do they block or promote their growth?
Praise is a vital tool in God's garden to cultivate a climate of grace in our relationship with God and with others. The wisdom of Proverbs speaks to this:
18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
Do our words pierce like a sword? Do the thoughts we contemplate and the words we speak cause heaviness in our hearts and the hearts of others? Then we are not providing an atmosphere for growth.
Someone once said, "I've seen happy people, and I've seen complaining people. But I've never seen a complainer be someone who is habitually happy."
A good word maketh it glad. O friends, if we could learn the power of speaking encouragement to those around us instead of harsh and bitter words that cut and tear down! If we could only take Grandma's wise advice, "If you ain't got nothing nice to say, don't say it at all!" There is great wisdom in that. We are not talking about never speaking a word against sin. We ought to preach and take a stand against sin. That is merely removing a rock out of the soil. But it must be done in a climate of love and mercy and grace.
Our text reveals a people who lived in the climate of spiritual death. Their hearts would not allow them to see the very Christ that spoke in their midst. They were blind to His majesty and convinced of their righteousness. They did not provide an inviting atmosphere for the Incarnate Truth (See John 14:6) to work in their lives. Their hearts were "waxed gross." To wax means to grow. Gross is defined as "Coarse; rude; rough; vulgar; obscene; impure." Their heart provided no climate for spiritual life, even to be implanted. The ground was too hard to receive the seed. Dry climates can cause the soil to harden and make germination impossible unless the earth is broken up.
May we have yielding hearts to the word of God this week.
God, show us when our words are spoken out of bitterness and anger. Show us where we failed. Grant us the humility to repent, speak truth and life into our hearts, and the hearts of others. In Jesus' name. Amen.