The holiday season is upon us! There is likely no other season in which we gather our paper and pens and begin to list the things for which we are thankful. We tend to be more aware that we ought to be grateful in the holiday season and actively look to thank and acknowledge the Gift Giver. This is a right and worthy task. This recognition of the goodness of God throughout the Bible is called praise. To praise means to honor, commend, or give thanks. It can also refer to the singing of praise.
Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”
From Genesis to Revelation the chief purpose God has given to humankind is to announce His glory, namely to give Him praise. As we work, rest, rejoice, suffer, and find ourselves a bit lost in the mundane, we are to praise the Lord. The posture of a believer should undoubtedly be one of deep gratitude.
Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
A posture of praise is ongoing. It takes place at “all times” or “continually” as the psalmist writes. When we feel God’s blessing, see His gifts, and feel His protective hand we are more inclined to praise Him. It feels easy and our list of gratitude grows. But our thanksgiving must move beyond the compartments we sadly put them in when life is sunshine and rainbows.
This posture of praise is an all encompassing lifestyle that reaches beyond our circumstances. Job lead well in this regard when he blessed the name of the Lord, rightfully acknowledging that even in suffering the name of the Lord is to be praised (Job 1:21). Philippians 4:6 reminds us that even in hardship our desperate prayers are to be marked with thanksgiving, since God has solved our gravest predicament when Jesus Christ went to the cross to die for our sin.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
In this text, author of Hebrews describes praise in terms of sacrifice. On the surface the notions of praise and sacrifice seem at odds with one another. One is glad adoration and the other is a death. Yet, I believe that they are deeply intertwined. Worship and sacrifice were practically synonymous in the Old Testament. You couldn’t properly worship God without a sacrifice.
We can’t come to God on our own but through the blood of Christ. What is our response to such news? Romans 12:1 call believers to offer our bodies as living sacrifices as spiritual act of worship. Our lives become a sacrifice of praise as we seek to praise Him beyond what words can say, but also in action and in truth (1 John 3:18). As we acknowledge the goodness of God, we should be moved share the good news of gospel and serve others with the strength God provides. This is how we have this fruit that is spoken of in Hebrews 13:15.
As we continue this holiday season, let us enjoy the many gifts this season brings. But let us also consider how our own lives should be poured out to God as a sacrifice of praise.