We all have chains, whether we realize it or not. Some are heavier than others, some feel as though they’ll never come loose. How we respond to the chains of difficult situations can make or break us. Our response can be the very thing that leads us into freedom.
Freedom isn’t that far off
In Acts 16 there is a story about Paul and Silas. They had been travelling and preaching the gospel when they ticked some people off. They ended up in a heap of trouble and in verse 25 we see that they were stripped, beaten, put in chains and placed in an “inner prison”. There was literally no way out. Their response is amazing, and a lesson for us today. So, what did they do? They worshiped. Why?
Because worship is warfare
The enemy can’t stand to be in the presence of God’s people giving him glory. We see it clearly in other places in the Bible as well. For example, in the story of David and Saul in 1 Samuel 16. Saul was being tormented by an evil spirit. Someone brought a young David to him to play the harp, and in verse 23 it says that when David played, the spirit fled. Also, in 2 Chronicles 20:21-24 the worshipers were sent out in front of the army in a battle.
The worshipers were on the front lines
As they marched into battle they sang, “give thanks to the Lord, His faithful love endures forever”, and do you know what happened? The enemy turned on themselves. They literally killed each other and the army didn’t even have to fight. So, what does this have to do with the story in Acts?
Their worship brought freedom
Acts 16:26 says that suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, all of the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. Not just Paul and Silas’ chains, everyone’s chains. Later in the story we see that the jailer and his entire family were saved and baptized. Not exactly the outcome we would have expected. But the truth of the matter is this, when we worship in response to our trouble we aren’t the only one who will be set free.
Our worship is a witness
I have read this story so many times, yet I never really paid close attention to what happened next. When the magistrates realized what had happened, they ordered for Paul and Silas to be let go – discreetly. But Paul’s response was honestly quite epic. In Verse 37 Paul replied, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” Paul was not about to crawl away, he wanted everything to be a witness to others of the gospel of Christ. The magistrates came to them, apologized and escorted them out.
How do we respond to trouble?
Do we run in fear? Do we melt down? Do we give up? Or do we worship? If we are honest, most of us probably don’t worship. But wouldn’t that be an incredible habit to develop? What a shift it would bring in our life.
The enemy would be overcome
People would be set free
justice would prevail
Perspectives would shift
Spirits would have to flee
People would see Jesus
What do we have to lose?
Nothing. We have nothing to lose by trying, and everything to gain. We can choose today to implement the habit of worshiping in times of trouble. When we face a trial we can put on a powerful worship song. Yes, a powerful worship song, because the song matters. It should be a song that is filled with the Word of God, a song that declares who He is. Don’t just let it play, sing it out to Him. Declare the truth of who He is in the world, in your life. Here are some of my go-to worship songs right now:
While you worship, pray. Thank Him for who He, is express your love and gratitude. And be ready for things to shift.
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