A sacrifice is something we can either give freely with a glad heart, or something we believe we are losing against our will. The fruit of our lips is a sacrifice of praise, (Heb. 13:15) and of course that fruit is the words we use, but these words of praise do not always come quickly. Many, many times I have been blessed by our Lord and have found myself remembering hours, sometimes days later to give Him the thanks He so rightly deserved at the moment that His grace was upon me. I may go to far, as it were, sometimes, for I tend to still give Him thanks for ketchup when I’m making a sandwich, hot water on a cold day, or a pen when a thought comes into my mind, not every time of course, but Prov. 3:5-6 is a constant reminder that we should honor Him in all things and at all times.
It is easy to give God the glory and praise He deserves when thinking of a lovely, God-fearing wife, or children that have followed the Lord in their daily walk, but what about a doctor’s report of cancer, or the unexpected loss of a job. It is at these times that not only is our faith put to a test, but our ability to continue in praising His name, for our initial reaction is to wonder, to question, to doubt. Our Savior is well acquainted with these fledgling first thoughts, and I do not believe He holds them against us, but if they continue, if doubt to the reason of His sovereignty in our lives continues, then praise will cease, and then is our fellowship with Him in need of repair.
To “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,” again in Heb. 13:15, can be, speaking completely in human terms here, very difficult at times. There should be no circumstance whatsoever in our lives that hinder this continual glorification of our Lords name, but these few moments when we wonder about the incident, as it were, that He allows or sends into our lives, and the reason behind them, are never to be contemplated in a negative way. He is either our Sovereign Lord, or He is not. Many a good soul has lost their way when doubts crept into their lives and took up residence there, forgetting that the temporal is where we live, but not our Lord, and since our hearts and desires are to be heavenly also, our negative thoughts that keep us from continually praising His name should be just that, temporal, never lasting long enough to be a hindrance of that praise.
The sacrifice of praise with our lips means absolutely nothing if it is done only in obedience without thought to love, if the love of the heart for Him is not the driving force behind the words. I have been in Sunday morning services, as perhaps you have at times, where the, so-called, words of praise have nearly put me to sleep, words with no heart behind them. Yet, I have been in others where the utterances of His Glorious name have floated long in the rafters of the church, and tears of joy are heard throughout the congregation as His wonderful name is lifted high in praise. I feel sorry for those dead church’s, for the people in them have forgotten how to reverence His Holy Name because He is, and not for what He can do for them, buildings where rote routines have taken the place of true worship. I have read by one much wiser than myself; “Many have desired to wear the robe of righteousness, but not the scarlet clothing of shame and suffering.”
Will you praise Him when He cast’s you down, or only when He lifts you up? “Let such as love thy salvation say continually, the Lord be magnified.” (Psalm 40:16) Notwithstanding any unrepented sins you may have, which are a great hindrance to say the least to our ability to praise Him, will you yet praise Him, seek Him, and be glad in Him when the trials and tribulations arise, knowing full well that they are blessings from Him. “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, let thy glory be above all the earth.” (Psalm 57:5) These are not easy words to say when we are standing over the grave of a long known friend, who in our eyes, died too young, thoughts of exalting our Lord in the highest are not in our mind when you hear, “either you have the surgery or you will die”, but they should be.
Too many in the organized church today have forgotten what it truly means to honor our Lord as we should, they have lived a life of ease for so long that when any hindrance or hint of trouble comes into that life, they look at it as an opportunity to complain and question, not to praise. They have forgotten that everything that He allows to come to us is from Him, and it is because of His love for us that it has appeared. Of course, the “fiery trials that is to try you” (1st Peter 4:12) is not something anyone would look forward to, but when we have the promise that “we are then partakers of Christ sufferings” (1st Peter 4:13) how could anyone stay in a continuing life of anger, of a life of walking away from His will, a life of disobedience.
I have met these individuals, those who were once alive with His praise on their lips, but when a trial came that they felt was too much, that was undeserving of their previous walk with Him, they leave off prayer and praise, they quench the Holy Spirit inside of them, and over time become unprofitable servants. They may still continue to attend church, for reasons only they know, but are no longer in His will, the Joy of the Lord is far from them and they start ‘playing church’. I believe with all my heart that no one can lose their salvation, but we can lose rewards that we have earned by works done in us through the Holy Spirit, and for the one who has stopped praising His name, not only do they lose these rewards, but they will not be called upon by our Lord to His service again, until they repent.
Others though, O to be like some of these wonderful servants I have met, for praise never stops flowing from their lips. No matter the circumstance, His name is continually glorified, no matter what our Precious Savor allows to enter into their lives, they are singing His praises above all others, for these do not live in the temporal, but in the eternal, and there treasure is in Heaven, their treasure is the Lord.
In the King James Version of the Bible, the word praise occurs 132 times in the book of Psalms alone, that should be enough to inform us of the great privilege God has given us to proclaim His wondrous works, to show us that He alone is worthy of all glory, honor and praise. The gift, the offering, the sacrifice of the fruit of our lips is only one of the ways that we can praise our Lord for all that he has blessed us with, and it is but a small sacrifice that is so easy to give, for there is so much to be thankful to Him for. Open your heart today and let words of true praise flow from your lips, give Him the glory and honor that He so rightly deserves, give in love, for He has so lovingly given to us.