Teleios and other authors have shown Christian belief actually can improve personal wellbeing! Therefore, we are examining the Christian life in more detail to see if we can uncover some of the potential underlying causes for improved wellbeing.
Last week we began studying the Christian lifestyle by examining the 2nd half of 1 Thessalonians 1:6, the importance of accepting God’s word in our lives. “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”
This week let’s consider mimicking Paul. For this part of discussion of the practice of Christianity we will use Acts 2:42 and 47 specifically to provide more detail to 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7, our primary passage.
These fascinating verses in Acts describe the Christian walk and its measures are repeated throughout the Epistles. I call them the ‘5 tools to maturity.’ These activities most easily can be summarized as: prayer, praise, fellowship, outreach and Bible study.
Let’s examine each of these in detail starting with PRAISE.
Definition of ‘praise’ – Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘praise’ as:
To express a favorable judgment of: commend
To glorify (a god or saint) especially by the attribution of perfections
Content of praise – Therefore, as a Christian what should be the content of biblical praise? The Bible gives some hints:
Acknowledgement of God’s perfect character (Ephesians1:6)
Thankfulness (Hebrews 13:15)
Reason we praise – Why do we praise God? The reasons are vital to our Christian life and are listed below:
The Bible commands us to praise – It is our duty to praise God. However, God does not give us commands without reason, so several potential explanations follow below (Psalm 150, Romans 15:11, Hebrews 13:15).
He deserves praise – Our Father in Heaven is the almighty God who has provided for us salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ, as a free gift through faith that we could have eternal life. This salvation is a sure hope and anchor for our souls. Surely, He deserves glory, thanks, and praise (1 Peter 4:11, Hebrews6:19).
It is good for us to praise – God made us! Therefore, He knows what is good for us. It is good for us to praise at least for the following reasons:
· God ordained order – Praise reminds us of the order of the universe. We are not the most important thing in creation. God’s goals and priorities are above, and better than, ours.
· Humility – Realizing that God’s plans are more important than ours might limit our complaining and remind us that we are here to serve our great God.
· Attitude – Praise teaches us thankfulness in realizing God’s gifts to us in creation, in Christ and His benefits in this life as our Father. These should promote an attitude of thankfulness and reduce expectations (Philippians 4:8).
We do indeed have a great God who is worthy of all praise! Thank you for joining me today. Come back next week and we’ll discuss prayer as the second of the 5 tools to maturity.
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