Sundays: 9 & 11am LATEST MESSAGE

Day 1 | An Atmosphere of Worship During Hard Times

Written by Charlie Boyd

How often do you come into a worship service and you find it hard to worship? …not because of something going on in the auditorium, but because of something going on in you. Maybe you’re tired, stressed, worried, or overcome by everything going on in your life…maybe you feel trapped in some situation, and you can’t see a way out. You lay awake at night thinking about it, and that makes you tired, and the fatigue makes you feel even more emotionally spent. If you find yourself in a place like that, the passage we’re going to look at today offers you some help.

Ephesians is a letter that was meant as an encouragement to all its readers, and the form this encouragement takes begins with an astounding song of praise. The letter to the Ephesians is set in an atmosphere of worship.

READ Ephesians 1:1-14

Even though he’s in prison, Paul regards himself as a richly “blessed” man. He’s saying in these opening lines, “Don’t worry about me; it’s well with my soul!” He’s not discouraged. He’s totally encouraged. And, what flows out of his heart through his pen is one long, 202-word song of praise. He gets so caught up in the reality of all that God has done for him in Christ thru the Holy Spirit that he can’t find enough words to express what fills his heart. So, this passage is about worship; it’s about praise; it’s about holding on to the reality of who God is and what God has done, is doing, and will do in the future, so his soul doesn’t become weighed down by his present, difficult circumstances.

So, why don’t we praise God like this very often? …especially when we find ourselves trapped in circumstances we don’t like? —Could it be because—"We tend to see things not as they are, but as we are?” (Steven Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)... We see things not as they are but as we are. And, to make matters worse, there’s a great spiritual battle going on to keep us that way.

Paul was able to passionately worship God despite his circumstances because this song of praise expressed what Paul believed was true reality (cf 2Cor4:18). Why is it so hard to forgive yourself? Why do present circumstances threaten to undo us? —because—we see things not as they are—not as God says they are—but as we are. Here’s the question to ask yourself this week—Do I see things the way they really are or the way that I am? How about you? Whatever “prison” you might find yourself in today, do you see things the way they really are, the way God says they are, or as you are? God says that all the Spirit-given, eternal blessings we have received in Christ are more real than all the problems we face in this life. And, if that’s true, then it should result in a shout “to the praise of his glory!”