When was the last time you truly applauded something? Maybe you cheered loudly as you sported your team’s color for the Super Bowl or perhaps you’ve recently seen an amazing concert where you screamed as you heard your favorite song. Regardless of when, where, or for whom you ‘applauded,’ there is something exciting about giving praise. As Christians, we are called to make loud applause for our King. We know this and we have been programmed to think that our applause happens most consistently during weekly worship services. Yet the reality is, an applause is short lived and we are called to live out a standing ovation in all things, at all times, when it comes to proclaiming Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Applause has become a rather secular word in many ways within our culture. Lady Gaga was not shy when she sang ‘the applause, applause, applause’ entertaining fans throughout the nation. Yet, as I was contemplating the idea of applause, I realized that it is merely a way to give proper attention by honoring a certain thing at a very specific time. Whether it is a sporting event, a musical show, or an election, applause is a form of human involvement that esteems something. However, by the same token, applause doesn’t last forever. Applause is specifically designed to eventually die out. One of the best Biblical examples I can think of is the celebration of Palm Sunday. Jesus came into town on a donkey and was heroically honored through the act of people throwing down palm branches and applauding His entrance:
They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13)
Yet, we can read on and see that the beautiful response He received eventually became silenced and met by a new crowd with a very different opinion proclaiming “crucify Him” instead of “Hosanna.”
So how do we keep our applause resounding?
How do we, as Christians, allow people to see our excitement about our faith? Indeed, we have something worth focusing our attention on completely and fully through our loud praises. How can we allow others to participate in the greatest celebration we and they will ever know? I have created a way in which I remember to applaud Jesus in my everyday life through a helpful acronym entitled CLAP:
C – Correcting
L – Long
A – Adore
P – Point
C-L-A-P encompasses some of the important elements to living a life in standing ovation, a life in unending applause for who Jesus is and what He has done.
The first step is held within the C, which stands for C-orrecting.
The truth is that we all have to correct some areas in our life for our applause to ring out authentic to others around us… and we can’t correct without first surrendering. If we truly want to be transformed into the likeness of God, we must be willing to surrender and correct the areas in our life which are currently not bringing the rightful praise to our God.
Next we must L-ong for His presence.
It is pointless to applaud someone or something you have no desire for.We can’t long after something without having a desire first.We must learn how to long after Christ and His heart. In fact, praying or singing, “Break my heart for what breaks yours” is one of the most humbling and dangerous prayers. As we long for God in all areas of our lives, we desire to see His heart for things clearly – this gives Him a lasting applause.
The next part of C-L-A-P is to A-dore.
Adore is a beautiful word and I love the very sound of it because to adore something is to be completely overwhelmed by its entirety. I adore my puppy. She can do no wrong. Even when she is wrong, I see her wagging her blonde tail and sticking out her little pink tongue and all is forgiven. We must adore Christ. We must applaud Him by constantly recognizing that He is a good God and that He loves us. It is very hard to adore something that you do not love. We must recognize God first loved and adored us. If you struggle with adoration, perhaps you need to fall in love all over again with your Savior.
Finally, we must P-oint.
We must release our hands metaphorically from making noise and point to something bigger than ourselves. Pointing requires focus just like a bow and an arrow needs a target. We must make sure that our actions are pointing towards a Kingdom mindset. It is very hard to focus on something that does not consume and capture your mind.
To truly applaud God as center of our lives we must re-learn how to C-L-A-P. We must be willing to correct through surrendering the areas in our lives that are doing Him a disservice as His ambassadors. We must long to be with Him. The more time we spend desiring Him, the more He hears the praise, glory and honor He is due. We must also adore Him. We can adore Him through all areas of our lives, while we serve others and while we serve His personal purpose for us. Lastly, we must point to Him. It isn’t enough to just correct our shortcomings and then long after and adore Him; we must point others to Him. Our applause is muted if we are unable to share it. The joy of cheering is best done in a crowd. We should want others to applaud Jesus just as much as we enjoy devoting our attention to showering Him with lavish praise.
I encourage you to remember the “applause, applause, applause” as Lady Gaga so aptly said. Remember it when you give short lived applause to temporary things. Remember it when you participate in it with others and I pray that you remember to live it out through the use of a C-L-A-P-ping when it comes to your faith. I can only think of one reason to give a standing ovation for eternity with saints and angels surrounding God’s throne and I want all of us to get better at practicing it while on earth, all the while, helping others applaud with permanent tribute.