The Spirit of Excellence – Focus on Posture
It was a given in my family while growing up. Slouching was not permitted. Whining was not tolerated. We were taught to walk with backs straight and head held high. Some people would call it “proud,” but a little positive self esteem never hurt anyone. Posture is a means of communication in itself and I want to take a little time to speak of spiritual posture.
What one does is often overshadowed by the way he does it. Mannerisms can speak volumes when the mouth is silent. Indeed, those of the female gender often seem gifted with the ability to communicate without opening their mouths. I am certain that the males reading this article have had the same impression as the author at one time or another; “Oops, I’ve done something wrong.” While we can laugh at our human inclinations it may behoove us to consider that God can also read the meaning of our posture and mannerisms.
Sarcasm is more often communicated with voice inflections and posture than with words. Indeed, the
same words spoken in a different posture can have a totally different meaning. What are we communicating to God with our carriage and mannerisms?
The quality of one’s praise has a lot to do with his bearing. There are joyful expressions that speak louder
than words. In fact, “joy unspeakable and full of glory” of necessity is expressed with something other than
words. It is unspeakable! (1 Peter 1:8) David said more with his actions — the clapping and raising of his
hands, the exuberance of his voice, and even an occasional fanatical dance —than his words could ever
express. One can be certain that God’s love for David’s praise was not solely based in his poetic ability.
Emotion is an expression of the soul. Emotionless praise is no praise at all, but simply a collection of words. We may be called fanatics by the “controlled” individuals among us, but that is just the problem —
they are controlled. Have you never gotten a hold on something that was a bit beyond your control? Have you never felt the presence of God in a way that made you lose control — or better yet, made you yield control? The Queen of Sheba was impressed by what she saw — the coming and going of Solomon’s servants. She loved the way they came to and went from the house of the Lord. The Old Testament allowed a bit of pomp and circumstance in spiritual matters. So, how much more should we who
have the Baptism of the Holy Ghost make grand expressions of praise to our God?
Posture communicates a lot. When Eli saw Hannah weeping in the Temple he thought she was drunk. (1Samuel I) It was not the words she spoke but the posture of a broken heart. Sometimes we come to God with the posture of a broken heart. Sometimes we approach God by falling prostrate before him — an abject expression of humility. But prayer should not be relegated to the pose of penitence.
Jesus gave us another insight into the posture of prayer. We are accustomed to bowing our heads, closing
our eyes, and approaching God as an unworthy creature. This is well and good, but is it the only disposition of prayer? In John 11:41 and 17:1 Jesus “lifted up his eyes.” He prayed with His head lifted and His eyes focused upward. Was this only for the Son of God, or can we mere mortals learn from this?
If we look forward we see the problems that lie ahead. Most forecasters are predicting tough economic times worldwide. If we look backward we see yesterday’s problems and troubles. God in his infinite wisdom designed the human body in such a way that it is difficult and inconvenient to look backwards. Perhaps He put our eyes in the front for a purpose. If we look down we only see the mire in the bottom of the pit. But when we look upward we see the blue sky and we see hope for the future. Indeed, looking upward is symbolic of looking toward God. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills…” (Psalm 121:1)
Does our posture of prayer contradict our words? When we claim to trust God is this trust reflected in our
bearing? Some people always seem to convey defeat with their pose and mannerisms. It is common to hear someone say, “I’m doing well under the circumstances.” God never intended for His people to be “under the circumstances.”
God’s church is never in danger of destruction. She has proven that she can survive under any government, in any economy, and through any pestilence. The only safe place in the world is in the church. Our posture should exemplify our faith. When the world is looking down we should be looking up. Our prayers should be aimed upwards. While there are times to express penitence, we are primarily children of promise, not living in perpetual sin but in perpetual victory. Let us come boldly before the throne of grace with an expression of expectancy in our eyes. Our faith and rejoicing should be evident even if people never get close enough to hear our words. After all, to the Church, things are looking up!
The above article, “The Spirit of Excellence – Focus on Posture” is written by Stan Davidson. The article was excerpted from The Louisiana Challenger March 2009.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.