June 2018

Stop and Praise

The doxology we sing on Sunday morning is not intended to be a solitary event but the beginning of an entire week of giving praise to God. The words we sing together as His church propel us into a week filled with many moments of stopping to praise Him. But how should we do this? The apostle Paul provides an inspired example of how to stop and give glory to the One who has given us all things through the grace of His Son, Jesus Christ.

As Luke’s faith-building account of Jesus’ person and ministry continues to unfold, he interweaves the theme of opposition with the theme of popularity. Even as Jesus’ fame spreads, he experiences criticism from the religious establishment. This criticism quickly builds to outright hostility as the leaders of the nation conspire to eliminate the threat posed by Jesus.

In the Bible, the heart is not just the source of our emotions. It is the command center of our entire being that directs all of our thoughts, words, and actions. Among many important things to pray for, Paul understood that praying for the hearts of his hearers was his greatest pastoral priority. Only hearts that are increasingly transformed by the indwelling love of Christ will grow, serve, and multiply as God intends. God calls us to know the depth of His love for us in Christ and to pray that others might know it as well.

There were many “mystery religions” in Paul’s day that claimed to have secret knowledge available only to a select few. Their job was to keep hidden what they had learned. Paul said his job was to make known the revelation of Jesus Christ as broadly and clearly as possible. Such is the commission of every believer who has known the grace of Christ: to not only know Him but to make Him known!