The spiritual principles of praise are divinely constructed by the Lord for the strength and blessing of His people. There are numerous, powerful outcomes intricately woven into the sacrifice of praise from a grateful heart that the Word of God clearly presents, but true praise and worship must exist in a state of constant motion – within you and outside of you. And your personal, private praise is part of your personal, private relationship with the Lord, but don’t stop there! Equally as important as private praise is public praise, gathering together with other Christians specifically to praise and worship the Lord.
The author of Hebrews made a very important point about Jesus Christ by quoting the words of Jesus Christ as written in Psalm 22:22 (which is a Psalm that prophetically speaks the words of the Messiah) saying, “I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing praise to You.” At the Last Supper, before Jesus was betrayed, Matthew records that, “…when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30) Jesus Christ had a private worship relationship with the Lord, but He also had the habit and lifestyle of meeting with others to worship as well.
Here’s what Paul wrote to the church a Colosse: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
Here’s what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus: “Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:12)
Here’s what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “When you come together, every one of you has a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:26)
The gathering together of Christians to worship the Lord has a unique and specific dynamic and spiritual power that you need in your life. Why? Because each Christian has a different testimony, a different revelation, a different sensitivity to the Spirit, a different Word of God to speak or sing, a different encouragement, a different strength in the faith. These are all a necessary part of how your faith is built and strengthened. The primary way God speaks is through His Word, but a close second is through another Christian- and not just your pastor! You’ve heard the old saying, “It takes a community to raise a child”, but I’ll say this: It takes a faith community to raise a Christian! It won’t always be comfortable, especially if you’re corrected or admonished. Things won’t always be done how you’d do them, and it won’t always be songs or musical styles you like and it won’t always be easy because other people can be really annoying sometimes and yes, you’ll be expected to pitch in and help out- and…??
Within the “pack” of Christians you run your race with is power; there is protection; there is provision; there is prevention and precaution and prayer; a different spiritual perception. You weren’t created to walk the journey of your natural life alone, so don’t walk the journey of your spiritual life alone either. Worship, war, the Word and the work – we need each other!
Thought for today
Can you grow in your knowledge of Christ while you are sitting on your couch watching your favorite YouTube preacher or listening to a podcast each week? Sure. Can you grow closer to the Lord while you sit at home and play your piano or guitar or xylophone in worship? Sure. Can you grow in your faith while studying the Bible on your own? Sure. You can win a battle with a missing arm, or even a leg or an eye, but it’ll take longer, it’ll be harder and it’ll take more out of you. God has created you for relationship with Himself and with the people in His kingdom:
“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.” (Psalm 149:1)
“I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.” (Psalm 40:10)
While all of the spiritual actions you do on your own are good, and represent the private side of your faith, your public faith, your relationship and responsibility to the Kingdom of God is incomplete. You are called to operate in your faith publicly and privately – actively, vitally and cheerfully – for their spiritual benefit and for your own.