Walking in Wisdom through Praise and Thanksgiving
By Benjamin H. Liles
Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:19-20
If we are to walk in wisdom we would do so through the Spirit of grace and mercy. That is Paul's point here. He's not just saying that we should "encourage one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." Doing so is a good and great thing. What Paul is getting at is that the person who has His word dwelling so richly within him or her that the music in our hearts be contagious. It's almost as if the very core of the person offering up thanksgiving and praise is a fire that can't be easily extinguished.
It's also not just something our Father in Heaven loves to hear. He enjoys it. Even if we're in the midst of trouble, lifting up our voice and singing about Him, His deeds, and showing our utmost for Him shows Him where He is in our lives. Paul and Silas were in jail having spoken of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. We see them in their chains, sitting there in the torch lit cell "singing songs in the night" (Let Everything That Hath Breath, Petra). Their singing is so infectious an earthquake happens. The doors were loosened and still the prisoners remained where they were. A Roman centurion runs in so scared to death, unsure of whether or not the prisoners are still there, he asks Paul, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul's response is thus, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:30-31).
So we see that living a life of Spirit-led singing and praise does something transformative in others. Why? As in the case of the centurion, it led him and his entire household to believe in Jesus Christ for we read, "And he--Paul--took them (the jailer and his family) the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household" (Acts 16:33-34). It stands that the jailer and his family were awed by the power of God, converting them through the Spirit of mercy and grace, so that they too could rejoice, "having believed in God with all his household."
Rather, we need to keep Him and His word on our lips, continually. Giving Him praise, in song and in our words, showing how much we truly think and seek after Him. The reason for giving Him thanks and offering up our songs of praise to and of Him shows our hearts are with Him; that Him in His mighty power can save. It may not be in the next moment, but that hope you're showing off does something within you. It gives you more than a relentless and restless hope for the future kingdom of God. It allows you to be and feel free from the contraints of the world and its cares.