Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sacrifice of praise

People praising with arms outstretched toward the cross
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Hebrews 13:15-25

TO CHEW ON:
"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." Hebrews 13:15
Yesterday we focused on continuous contentment. Today the writer of Hebrews challenges us to an even more radical habit. He suggests we live lives of continuous praise.

The phrase "sacrifice of praise" snags my attention. How is our praise a sacrifice? A sidebar article in my Bible gives this insight:

"The word 'sacrifice' (Greek thusia) comes from the root thuo, a verb meaning "to kill or slaughter for a purpose." Praise often requires that we 'kill' our pride, fear, or sloth—anything that threatens to diminish or interfere with our worship of the Lord" Guy P. Duffield, Hebrews commenter, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1746.

I look with chagrin at the trivialities that can quench my praise: the weather, problems with my stuff, a headache, a stressful schedule... Yes, praising God in and through the above will need a sacrifice on my part, though a tiny one. Perhaps those little irritants are meant as rehearsal for the big problems that will inevitably come along—terminal illness, catastrophe, death—so I can be praising through those things as well.

Of course our praise isn't a Pollyanna-ish refusal to look at life realistically. It is based on our thankfulness to God who, in Jesus, stepped into time and space. He sacrificed everything for me so that my eternal destiny is sure, no matter what my circumstances here on earth.

Our Bible commenter again:

"Praise will never be successfully hindered when we keep its focus on Him."

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me today to sacrifice any and all thoughts of discontent, irritation, worry, fear … substituting them with the fruit  (thoughts and words) of praise. Amen.

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The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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