Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 11

Prayers of Praise continued...

We also bring praise to God through our lives. The purpose of Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection was so that we might have life in Him. Jesus came to set the captives free, He came to bring light to the darkness, He came to make us sons and daughters of the most high God, but also that once we were saved and sanctified, we should be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:7-12, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

When reading this passage in its entirety, we come to realize that it is His will that we who trust in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. How exactly do we go about being to the praise of His glory? By living lives worthy of the name Jesus, by living lives as those who were redeemed through His blood, and as those who have obtained the forgiveness of sin.

Yes, God has expectations of His children; He has a standard by which He commands all those who call on Him to adhere to, that they might be to the praise of His glory.

We bring praise and glory to God by living fruitful lives, by possessing the fruit of the Spirit, by being men and women of character, and love, and sober mindedness and wisdom.

Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

These were the words of Jesus, an admonition that He put forth to all who would follow after Him. It is Jesus who said we ought to let our lights so shine before men, that they might see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

No, this is not a debate on works, or whether works are a necessity in a believer’s life, I am simply relating Christ’s admonition on the matter, whereby He says, that when we let our lights shine before men, when they see the love of Christ, the heart of Christ, the character of Christ, and the wisdom of Christ in us, they will glorify our Father in heaven for what they have seen.

Our lives, when lived in accordance to the will of God, are a source of praise unto God.

1 Corinthians 6:20, “For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Every form of praise, is in itself a form of sacrifice, and every form of sacrifice costs the one offering up the sacrifice something. Praise is a sacrifice, and we bring the sacrifice of praise unto God, whether the sacrifice of the praise of our lips, or of our hearts, or of our bodies, or of our spirits, in such a manner that it is pleasing in His sight.

If we were bought with a price, it means we no longer belong to ourselves. We no longer belong to our aspirations, our dreams, of our notion of who we think we are, or ought to be. When you purchase an item from a store, after payment exchanges hands, that item is now your property, and you can do with it as you see fit. The one to whom the item belonged before you purchased it, no longer has a say in what you do with the item you purchased from them, or how you go about utilizing it.

This is one of those hard truths that many believers just don’t want to deal with in our day and age. We have been bought, and with a price, and as such we are no longer our own. Because we were bought with a price, because payment was made on our behalf, because we were redeemed, we are to glorify God in our bodies, and in our spirits, because both the body and the spirit now belong to the God who purchased them.

We were once shackled, imprisoned, in sin and despair, and so that we might be pacified in our slavery our previous master whispered ever so soothingly that we belonged to ourselves, rather than to him. We had the illusion of freedom; we had the illusion of being masters of our own destiny, when in reality we were slaves to our flesh, slaves to our sins, and slaves to our vices.

Jesus came to set the captive free, that we might no longer be slaves of corruption, but bondservants of righteousness and holiness, glorifying God in our bodies and our spirits.

Hebrews 14:15-16, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

God is not indifferent toward such sacrifices, God is not unmoved, nor is He apathetic or unresponsive when we offer these sacrifices to Him. On the contrary, God is well pleased with such sacrifices and nothing that we do as unto Him, whether continually offer the sacrifice of praise, giving thanks to His name, or doing good and sharing, will be forgotten or overlooked.

He is a God who remembers, He is a God who recollects, He is a God who has total and perfect recall of every moment of our lives, and not one glass of water given in His name, not one prayer of praise unto Him will go unrewarded.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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