Summary: Praising Jesus for who we are in Him gives us the framework for finding victory and comfort during difficult times.
The Power of Praise during Personal Struggles
As we read this passage, here are the three keys to learning the lesson we will focus on today. Before we being, let me tell you this: this is a rich passage of scripture. There is so much here that we could literally spend 6-7 weeks working through just these verses. However, our specific focus today will be learning that praising God for who we are in Jesus – the truths in these verses – will radically impact how we go through times of struggle. In reviewing this passage, we will focus on these three keys:
I. Praise - to Jesus
II. For what? every spiritual blessing
III. Why? because it impacts our life struggles
Read the passage.
The first key is that the process of facing struggles, and even finding victory in our struggles, is that we must begin with praise. But this is especially so when we get into difficult times. See verse 3.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”
In fact, in chapter 5 Paul reiterates this command, but makes sure we know that it applies specifically in tough times. He says “giving thanks always for all things,” (5:20)
Paul knows what he is asking this church to do. In 3:1 he reminds them that he is writing this letter from prison, and reminds them again at the end of chapter 6. Ephesus was also a worldly city because it was a major trade route. Christians by now are beginning to experience persecution. In Ephesus, there is a large arena where later Christians would be thrown to the lions for sport. This is their culture and Paul knew this. He is preparing them for the comfort of Christ during difficult times.
QUOTE: “The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” Hannah Whitehall Smith, The God of All Comfort, p.204
Why is this the case? Pastor, this sounds like church speak to me. Well consider the causes of difficult times:
Jesus Christ is greater than all of these things. Paul points out in this passage “in Him”. In fact, he points out that 11 times in the first 14 verses. He wants us to look at Jesus because we will see who we are in light of who He is inside of us. Since Jesus is greater than any cause of any trouble, then Jesus who is greater will rise us above any cause of any difficulty. “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”
Adrian Rogers put it this way, “We should glance at our circumstances, but gaze on our Savior.”
Praise is the mechanism God created for us to focus on Him instead of everything around us. We look at Him and worship Him for who He is and then He shows us what He means “in us.”
“It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.” C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, p.93
You see, we are not just praising Him w/ some fake or pious nothing. This is not positive thinking or spiritual cotton candy designed to just make bitter things a little more sweet.