A doxology is an expression of praise and adoration to our Most High God. It is usually sung as a short hymn as part of the worship service. The word doxology comes from the Greek doxa, which means glory or splendor, and logos, meaning word or speaking. Here is the doxology that is sung in many Christian churches, including our services at The Cross. This familiar hymn of praise was written in 1674 by Thomas Ken, a priest in the Church of England:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Although the word doxology is not found in the Bible, doxological themes are found throughout sacred Scripture, from praising God for His many blessings (Ephesians 1:3) to affirming the Trinity (Matthew 28:19) to ascribing all glory to Him (Romans 11:36).
So . . . is doxology simply a song we sing in worship? Or should it be something more—a way of life rather than a way of singing? And if doxology should be more, what would doxological living mean and what should it look like in the life of the believer?
I believe God calls us to live doxologically. We are commanded in Scripture to reorient every aspect of our lives for the praise, glory, and worship of God. Instead of living for self we begin living for the Savior, regardless of the cost or circumstance. We no longer push Christ and the cause of His kingdom to the periphery of our lives; instead, we keep Jesus in His rightful place: in the center and on the throne of our lives. And we do it not out of fear or a sense of duty; we live doxologically because our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)
The indescribable gift of Jesus that God has given us is to be the motive and motivation for living doxologically in every circumstance we face. Now, it’s easy to give glory and praise to God when the sky is blue and the clouds are fleecy. But what about when we are in the middle of the storm?
When her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (Acts 16:19-26)
Clearly, Paul and Silas were in the middle of a storm! They had been falsely accused of disturbing the peace, attacked by a mob, beaten with rods, and after suffering many blows, they were bound and thrown into prison. And what do we find them doing? Around midnight, Paul and Silas were offering prayers and songs of praise to God—and doing so with such enthusiasm that the other prisoners were listening! And please take note that their doxological disposition was on display prior to the doors of the prison opening up.
James Allen once wrote, “Circumstance doesn’t make the man. It reveals him.” The circumstance Paul and Silas found themselves in revealed them for who they really were: disciples of Christ who intentionally chose to live doxologically, regardless of the harsh circumstances they were in.
What a great goal for every child of God—to be able to see the good God is doing, even behind the worst stuff in life, and calmly accept that God is working it all together ultimately for our good and His glory. If we continually keep in view the truth that nothing happens to us that doesn’t first pass through His nail-scarred hands, we can sail over every rough sea and withstand every storm wind that blows into our lives. And through it all, we can live doxologically, witnessning to a watching world just how awesome our God really is and how amazing is His grace!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!