Sunday, April 5, 2009
This is the last in our series on Spiritual Disciplines. It has been a great study. We have covered these spiritual practices:
- Meditation (ruminate)
- Prayer (talk honestly with God)
- Simplicity (don’t love things)
- Solitude (get alone and quiet)
- Study (dig deeper)
- Submission (not always your way)
- Service (helping others)
- Confession (admitting sin)
We’re almost finished reading through the Gospels during Lent. You can find a reading schedule here.
This is another “corporate” discipline – one we do together as a group of believers. Celebration and joy are important parts of the lives of believers. Psalm 150 gives us a picture of our celebration of the Lord God:
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!
No one is exempt from this great call to praise: “Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!”
I think we as Christians sometimes get a little too reserved, even boring. Some of us take ourselves too seriously. And in so doing, we may be presenting the wrong impression of our faith to other people. We should be the most alive, joyful, exciting, celebrating people on earth! As Augustine said, “The Christian should be an alleluia from head to foot!”
There is a lot in the Bible about Celebration. Here are a few examples:
- Exodus 15 – Israel was led by Moses and Miriam in a great celebration dance to celebrate their escape from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea
- David in 2 Sam 6 danced and jumped before the Lord with all his might because the ark of the covenant had been returned, and led Israel in shouting and blowing trumpets
- Jesus himself came with a joyful announcement, and even approached his suffering on the cross with a sense of eternal joy
- Philippians 4:4 actually commands us to rejoice!
We shouldn’t be afraid of expressing joy and celebrating. The Bible not only is full of examples, but show us all kinds of ways to celebrate: singing, shouting, dancing, making noise, jumping, even laughter. So in this week’s service (April 5) our children and our worship team led us in a rather noisy time of praise and celebration. It was awesome!
Finally, celebration gives us strength – strength to live, strength to serve, strength even to suffer. Nehehiah 8:10 says “This is a holy day for the Lord your God – do not mourn or weep. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine..for this day is holy to our Lord, and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Living for God will be easier when we are filled with joy and happy with our lives. Overcoming temptation will be easier when we are celebrating the goodness and greatness of God.
Don’t feel like rejoicing? Ask God to fill you with joy, and with his Spirit. Ask him to help you direct your mind and spirit to him and his beauty, so you can praise him! Look for reasons to celebrate this week, and then do it!