Let's agree, God is good (3)
Our call as believers of the royal priesthood is to overcome darkness and deceit with our constant praise
We have been thinking about opportunities to give thanks and to praise God for His goodness and past deeds — and the temptation we all get to criticise, to see the bad side, and even say that God has not been watchful or loving in this instance.
Which is a lie — but it’s a lie that takes the form of a thought. Not necessarily a thought that started with us, but a thought the enemy of our souls murmured until we found ourselves repeating it. The wrong agreement!
There’s a move which cancel that and invites the presence of God and His peace into a situation. It looks like this:
You can pass through His open gates with the password of praise. Come right into His presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to Him and affectionately bless His beautiful name! For Yahweh is always good and ready to receive you. He’s so loving that it will amaze you — so kind that it will astound you! And He is famous for His faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for He keeps His promises to every generation! Psalm 100:4-5 TPT
That is powerful praise, and we can personalise it and make it our own. It is the Sword of the Spirit, the potful weapon of truth— and agreement with Almighty God.
The language of this passage reminds us of priests and temple.
Come into His presence… bring your thank offering to Him… bless His beautiful name…
But all that has gone – or has it just changed? Where is the temple now?
As believers in Jesus who have received His Spirit in our hearts, each of us is now a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
And who are the priests, using the password of praise to come into God’s presence with thank offerings? That’s us, too, as those redeemed and set free by Jesus.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NLT
This is more difficult to accept if we have been brought up in a church tradition that views its ordained leaders as priests. It's a clash of tradition with Scripture. The Church of England is famously muddled about the balance of Scripture, tradition and reason. Increasingly, Scripture is rightly seen as the yardstick with tradition and reason playing a subsidiary part in interpretation and practice. However, for the more traditional wing, the tradition of the church 'fathers' from the fourth or fifth century onwards, and a reason-led cerebral attitude to Scripture elevates the position of church leader. Where faith is lacking, the 'correct' form and the liturgical format become all important.
But we must let God's word speak to us about a gathered assembly of believers with no separation between a different caste, called priests or clergy, and the inferior and more passive role of the people, called laity. Our Father speaks to every one of those who have trusted Jesus and asked Him into their hearts, with this call to ministry which requires all the people of God and all the gifts of God represented in them:
All glory to [Jesus Christ] who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us. He has made us a kingdom of priests for God His Father. From Revelation 1:5-6 NLT
If we belong to Jesus, the Great High Priest, then we are part of His royal and holy priests, charged with representing the truth and reality of the kingdom of God and His sacrificial love, to those who do not yet know Him — as we also bring them before Him in kingdom prayer. How we do this is by overcoming the darkness with His light in us, and binding Satan's power to oppress with our praise and thanksgiving. Our resolve to praise the goodness and the greatness of God as an absolute, unaffected by our experiences of the moment, changes the spiritual atmosphere. People become more receptive to God. They see the message being lived out in us. And they ask us questions, which we are poised to answer…
Revival starts with our praise and thanksgiving to God.