Recipe for Thankfulness // Hope Fuels Praise
[Ministry Partner, Sean Nix, ECC Covington Campus]
The end result of a recipe should be something altogether different than the individual ingredients.
Our recipe for thankfulness includes:
Hope Fuels Praise
- 52AD Paul plants the church of Philippi.
- 10 years later Paul writes the letter to the Philippian church while he is in prison and chained to a Praetorian guard. (Praetorian guards were part of the elite Roman royalty.)
- He writes out of a heart of gratitude for a financial gift given by this church.
- The theme of Philippians is JOY..to praise God in every circumstance.
What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice because I know this will lead to my deliverance through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:18-19 HCSB)
The question to ask today is, Am I living a life of purpose and praise despite my circumstances?
Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24 HCSB)
Our spiritual lives might start off fast and excited. But along the race we encounter pain and obstacles that trip us up. But as Paul encourages, keep running. And run to win. Give it all you’ve got.
When we are focused on our goal then our circumstances should not distract us.
Our greatest priority is to praise Him.
My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20 HCSB)
When we train with our eyes fixed on the prize then we remember that it is all worth it. That leads to praise.
Paul saw his shackles as opportunity to share the Gospel with Rome’s elite and influential soldiers every day.
So my joy doesn’t come with my current circumstances. It comes with the HOPE of the prize.
Our greatest motivation is the reward of the finish line.
For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ — which is far better — (Philippians 1:21-23 HCSB)
Paul knew that his purpose was to know Christ and make Him known.
Our greatest witness is a life lived with hope.
but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. (Philippians 1:24-26 HCSB)
We all have this “one thing” that gets in our way from praising God. It’s hard to praise God in some circumstances. But our hope should encourage us.
We too often allow our “happiness” to dictate our praise. We need to remain focused on the hope we have in Jesus. And allow that to be our praise.
At times we will get discouraged but we have Christ as our encourager. And we even have the saints along with us to encourage us.
Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, (Hebrews 12:1 HCSB)
In spite of your circumstances, it’s time to say:
- I can finish this race strong!
- I will be a witness of your faithfulness.
- And I will find hope in praising You in spite of ________.