“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:15-16)
When you hear the word sacrifice, what comes to mind? For some it will be a thing you must give up, a burden of sorts, and to others it will be pleasant thing being more of a gift given, but what about when we read that we are to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, acknowledging His Name?
I feel like this is one of those verses that our human minds have a hard time understanding fully, such as “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), because how to do realistically do something continuously, always, without ceasing, and in all circumstances?
Well, the Bible tells us this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus and that these things are pleasing to God, but never has God ever left us to our own devices when He gives us commands. Just as the Lord told Zerubbabel: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6), in the same way He has given us the Holy Spirit to empower us every day.
What does it look like then, to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God?
The rest of that verse gives us insight, that “the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,” is itself the practical ways in which we do this.
Every morning, when you wake up, you are being given a gift from God. It doesn’t matter if you’re healthy, sick, dying, recovering, have a job, need a job, etc. because you’ve been given another day of life, another day to live, breathe, and experience whatever your life situation is, and God gives new mercies for that day. That means that you get another day to pursue God and His kingdom, walking in works He has prepared that you are storing rewards in heaven by doing. That is grace, my friend, that God should be praised for! If something that we think of as so simple, breathing, is something to praise Him for, think of all the other things God can and should be praised and acknowledged for.
This means that in seeing His love, grace, mercy, provision - everything that He does in your life, you have opportunity to praise Him and acknowledge Him all day, every day, continually.
This is two-fold because it’s a praise and acknowledgement in your heart and in proclaiming His wonderful works to others. Even the earth praises God: “All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name. Selah” (Psalm 66:4) so all the more should we, who have been given breath in our lungs this day! “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6)
We are also told to do good and share what we have because those are pleasing to God. This may be easier for one with money to think up ways to share and do good, but what about those who don’t have financial means to give? You can still give in other ways, by sharing your faith and speaking boldly what the Holy Spirit gives you utterance to speak, which we should be doing regardless of financial circumstances. In Acts we read about when Peter and John came to the beautiful gate and saw a poor, lame man. “But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God,” (Acts 3:6-8) By faith Peter gave, by faith the lame man received, and it yielded praises to God that was seen by all the people.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” The root of our worship must be founded in our faith in God and our love for Him, which will yield a sacrifice of praise and that overflowing of the Holy Spirit will yield doing good and sharing what we have through loving others, thus doing what Jesus told us are the first and second greatest commandments.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
So, my friend, today, regardless of what life circumstances you’re facing, take time to think on His goodness and faithfulness in your life, offer up a sacrifice of praise, and look for ways in which the Holy Spirit might lead you to do good and share with others, and may your sacrifices be pleasing to God!