Warm Up: Hebrews 13: 25, Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Stretching: 2 Samuel 24
Run: With their highly recognizable slogan, “Just Do It”, Nike became the ‘it’ brand for sports apparel in the 90’s. Those ads never really focused on a product, but rather a mentality. It was about a certain type of person; anti-establishment, intensely competitive, and fiercely independent. In an age of sports heroes and hero-worship, anything Nike conferred royalty. It was about status. But the slogan worked on another level, too: It’s simple and true. How many times have you had to drag yourself to the track or to the gym for a workout? There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t do it, but deep down inside you know you need to. Just changing your clothes makes you dry heave and the thought of stretching seems like torture. Maybe you can just forget it today and…Just Do It!. And so you go through the motions, pushing and pulling and making yourself take the next breath. Finally, you set your watch and you start running. At first, your legs feel like cement poles and then you shake a little of the lead out and begin to get into a stride. Before you know it, you’re off and running and eventually it’s over. The work leading up to it was actually more painful than the run and you wonder what all the fuss was about. You’re glad you ‘pushed through’ and now you’re ready to take on the day.
Praise is a lot like that. Paul tells us to use our bodies as living sacrifices because it our reasonable act of worship. (Romans 12:1) Anyone that knows anything about the flesh however, will tell you that it wants what is contrary to the things of the spirit and so it resists the will of God because the flesh is of fallen nature. Galatians 4:17 says, “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you don’t do what you want.” When it comes to worshiping God and lifting up our praise to him, we need to learn to “Just Do It” and see the same dynamic happen as described in our running metaphor above. In today’s Bible story, David wants to buy a piece of property from a man named Araunah in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. But Araunah doesn’t want his king to pay for the property, he just wants to give it to him. David vehemently refuses. He says, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24b) Sometimes praise demands a sacrifice and when you don’t feel like it, remember the words of the great prophet Nike and, “Just Do It!”
Cool Down: “Lord, I praise you today because you are steadfast and unchanging. You can not be moved and are the same yesterday, today, and forever. I thank you that you are not fickle and contrary, but are a strong tower and a refuge where we find shelter. Help me when I am weak and troubled to look past myself and focus on you and your amazing and awesome character. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”