“But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.” (Psalm 3:3, NLT)
Any time I would get down or discouraged when I was a kid my dad used to tell me to keep my chin up. I understood the metaphor and interpreted it as “don’t be discouraged,” “don’t get down on yourself,” and “don’t give up.” He was always positive and surrounded himself with like minded people. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. The world can be a dark place, filled with negative people, so much so that when someone is eternally optimistic they are judged as outliers who are unrealistic. Life is hard, filled with hard events that harden people. It’s easy to drop your chin and keep it there.
The problem with having your chin down is that it changes your focus. When your chin is down, the majority of what you see is yourself. Try it and see. If you drop your chin to your chest you become the center of your own attention. But when your chin is up you don’t see any of yourself. Again, try it and see. Your focus shifts from self to the world around you which changes your attention and ultimately your direction.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news. Inherent in that fact is that the gospel is positive news. God’s intent is for us to keep our chin up so that we can see the people and problems we can serve in his name. And when we can’t seem to find it in ourselves to keep our chins up, he intervenes to be the lifter of our heads and hold them high.