“Serve the Lord!”
As a Christian, you most likely hear that phrase all the time, or at least a phrase similar to it. “You gotta serve the Lord!” “You need to have a servant’s heart!” “Praise the Lord forever, even when you don’t feel like it!”
You might be wondering what “serving the Lord” even entails. How do I serve Him? You might be thinking. Or you might be thinking you know exactly what to do to serve the Lord, but you might not feel like it – or maybe you’re going through a hard time.
I get it. But no matter what, serving, praising and thanking God continually is essential.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says (in KJV), “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The NIV says the same thing: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
One part of Verse 18 that I thought was intriguing was that it said, “In everything, give thanks”/“Give thanks in all circumstances.” I used to sometimes wonder, “What if you break your arm, or a tornado hits your house, or you become poor? Why would you thank God for bad things?”
Well, my parents and I were talking once, and we were talking about that Scripture. My parents brought up the fact that it says “In everything, give thanks.” Not for everything. In everything. Even if one broke their arm, they could still thank God that they’re healing and recovering rapidly. Even if a tornado hit one’s house, they could still thank God that they and their family survived and is alright. If one became poor, they could thank God for everything else going right in their life. You can still thank God in everything.
There’s an old song my family and I love to listen to called Sacrifice of Praise. One of the lyrics says, “We bring a sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord.” One day, my parents and I were talking about that song, and I was wondering why it was called a “sacrifice” in the song. According to the dictionary, the word “sacrifice” either means sacrificing an animal to a god or deity, or to surrender or give up something that you love or want to keep. The word “sacrifice” can also be used as a word for sacrificing time to do something you don’t want to do. How in the world is praise a sacrifice? Praising God is awesome, right?
Yes, praying to and praising Jesus is definitely awesome. But when my parents and I were talking, my parents brought up a good point – the word “sacrifice” is referred to as a sacrifice in the song because sometimes it feels like a sacrifice, feels like a burden, when you’re going through hard times or times in life when you don’t feel like praising God. Or, perhaps, you feel there is nothing to praise God for. Praise is sometimes a sacrifice because sometimes, the times when you least feel like praising God, those are the times when you most need to.
“During difficult times,” writes Matrid Harper in her blog post Serving the Lord in Difficult Times, “we must be steadfast in service and praises to our God and be thankful for the strength to persevere.” She continues to write, “We cannot serve the Lord to please this world for this world can never provide us with the peace that passes all understanding. We instead serve our Lord to please Him alone and that clearly re-affirms why we are called His children. Our bodies are temples of God and that’s why we should all be very careful how we live our lives and always strive to please our Heavenly Father. We need to practice self-control.”
There are many different ways that we can serve the Lord – praise, worship (which are two separate things [but that’s a whole another topic]), doing what God calls us to do or lays on our heart to say, etc. But the most important thing to know is that it will be hard. Some days, it will be extremely easy – and other days, it might seem impossible. It might be difficult to praise the Lord on a day when you feel like there’s nothing to praise Him for. But do it anyway. Praise Him, magnify Him, glorify Him, even when it isn’t easy – even when it seems impossible; even when bad things are happening in your life. And as long as you keep doing what He wants you to do, you will succeed.
– Arianna Fox, 12-Year-Old Girlpreneur, Author and Motivational Speaker
@afoxauthor on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Arianna Fox on LinkedIn and YouTube)