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  • East Martin CRC

Jailhouse Praise

Acts 16:22-25

Verse 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

The other day we were talking about the importance of praising through obedience. One thing we need to remember is that obedience doesn’t always result in easy living.

Paul and Silas had done what they needed to do to defend the holiness of praise to the Father and yet they find themselves in the dungeon. Yes, a real dungeon. Sadly there are many false teachers that tell us that if we are living for God our lives will be easy and blessed in all the ways the world considers good. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Bible has many examples, even in the New Testament that show following Jesus and living a life of praise isn’t about finding peace and comfort in this life. In fact Jesus said that because He encountered resistance, how could we expect less? Paul had started out on the other side of the resistance and so had a firsthand view on how serious the pushback could be. But he didn’t stop once he found the truth.

Today we see Paul and Silas in the darkest of situations for presenting the truth and what do they choose to do? They choose joy and start praising. Praising at midnight in the depths of prison is not something most of us would aspire to. The choice of joyful praise is not about the circumstances. The choice of joy in praise has to do with knowing Who is worthy of praise.

We tend to think that praise has to do with what we are enjoying in life which has a slight ring of truth in it. The part that doesn’t ring true is that of which life we are enjoying. We prefer to enjoy the physical life and that is why we tend to praise when things in our life are making us happy. But true joy can only come out of the choice to enjoy the spiritual life.

Choosing joy in the spiritual life is where praise really takes off. That is because with that choice we are acknowledging that we aren’t living solely for self and that is when we are saying that He is more important to us than we are to ourselves. This is when obedience proves our faith in Him and our praise comes fully alive.

Making It Personal

If you were to evaluate your choice of joy would it be more in the physical or the spiritual? Have you had to praise in the dungeons of life? How hard is it to choose to praise in the times of persecution?

Making It Personal Kids

Why does Jesus want us to choose joy in the hard times? Is that hard to do? Do you want to choose joy with Jesus?

Closing Prayer

Father, choosing joy in the hard times is something that we can’t do in our own power, it requires Your Spirit in us powering us to do Your will. Make us more like You, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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