The Heartbeat of Praise
The Book of Acts records the spiritual narrative of the early church faithfully assembled at Jerusalem (2:41-47). Who were they? What was their testimony? How will that church make an impact on me and on my church? Well, first of all, let’s allow Scripture to help define who we are and who we need to be IN CHRIST, as we look to those who worshipped the Lord in that local assembly. In answer to the above questions, the church at Jerusalem was comprised of God’s people who had “gladly received His word and were baptized” and “were added” to the fellowship in that local body of Christ (v. 41). They also were hungry for the Word as “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer” (v. 42). In their Spirit-filled walk with the Lord, “they continued daily with “ONE ACCORD … and did eat their bread with gladness, and singleness of heart” (v. 46). Then, God blessed them as seen from their worshipful heart: they were “praising God, and having favor with all the people” (v. 47). That church possessed something real, divine, and contagious; namely a heartbeat of praise. That fellowship was alive in worship because they were alive in their “worthship” unto their Lord, walking in obedience to the Word, fervent in prayer, and possessing a “one accord” and “favor” relationship with one another, resulting with “gladness and singleness of heart” (v. 42). From that very Scripture we see that they loved the Lord with all their heart, and when God is in the heart, God can be on the heart; and then and then only can praise live in the heart, with praise coming from the heart.
Praise is a most important spiritual expression given unto the Lord from believers that possess a relationship with HIM; totally impossible without being born-again (John 3:3-8) and submitting to a Spirit-filled life (Ephesians 5:18-19). Praise is of the Spirit and praise can only be given through the Spirit of the Living God. Praise is found in the Bible from cover to cover. From the first Book of Genesis: “Now I will praise the LORD” (29:35) to the closing Book of Revelation: “And a voice came out of the throne saying, Praise our God all ye his servants, and ye that fear him both small and great” (19:5). As the Word of God is a Living Book authored by God, so is praise a living spiritual exercise scripted on the heart by the Lord, empowered by a LIVING Word filled life, HIS within. Jesus taught us that “the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are LIFE” (John 6:63). God is alive with his Word as he relates to his own. His Living Word brings spiritual empowerment in us (His Word is “quick and powerful” Hebrews 4:12), from which comes the living worship of praise. Praise is all about HIM, from Him, and to Him who is worthy to be glorified: “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me” (Psalm 50:23). If we are born-again, we all have the wonderful opportunity to “make his praise glorious” (Psalm 66:2). As believers, there can be the “praise of all his saints,” so, for ALL of us let’s just “praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 148:14). It’s been said, “Praise goes places that the natural man cannot go.” So very true, he won’t go there! The reason is because of the one who lives in praise lives in the Spirit of the One worthy of praise: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praise of Israel” (Psalm 22:3). Praise lives where God lives, and since that is where He lives, live in the Spirit, and you will live in praise. When the transforming power of Christ is alive in the renewed heart of man (Romans 12:1-2), the Spirit of praise will arise from that heart. There is God’s operation of spiritual metamorphosis in the heart, no longer being an earthbound caterpillar, but being transformed by the Living Christ. You see, the soul of man can naturally, easily, and rationally make a religious crawl, and then weave itself in the cocoon of its own thoughts, aims, and plans, all the while dismissing a life that can be lived for the glory of God. Only to live in an unanticipated, spirit-less, powerless life on that uneventful crawl. The Lord will never shower His Spirit upon the self-willed man who dismisses the preeminence of God’s glory, his created purpose and designed plan for his life. Oh, be awakened, allow God to grow those beautiful pair of wings for you to take the heaven-ward flight of life in the Spirit of praise. Then project that life of praise to the One worthily seated not only on HIS throne, but on the throne of your heart - OF PRAISE. Then the works of the flesh with all its appetites and complaints will subside, as praise to God surfaces from the new man who is “seeking those things which are above” (Colossians 3:1), with accompanying praise that arrives at our glorified Christ seated there. Ascend there to your Lord, together with the powerful presence of the Spirit, all made possible with the heart-beat of praise, given to you by Him, and for Him. “Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD, Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 150:6).