Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
One might say basically there are two genres of praise: the big-time crowd pleaser, abundant praise, and the not-quite-so-popular sacrificial praise. Both express adoration and thanksgiving to our Maker. After that, however, little else connects them. Furthermore, grasping their variations explains their disparate popularity. Abundant praise rises in appreciation for what God has already done and means in our lives. We generate sacrificial praise in anticipation of what He can and will do with and for us. One responds; the other projects.
Sacrificial praise: projecting God's providence instead of surrendering to our problems.
Looking for a Home
Hebrews’ anonymous writer takes a fascinating route to get to the topic of sacrificial praise. He/she compares Christ to a lowly animal sacrifice. His blood was our sacrament of atonement, but His body was destroyed beyond Jerusalem’s walls, like carcasses the priest burned outside the temple gate. Next comes a magnificent idea: “Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13.13-14)
In one fell swoop, Hebrews depicts Jesus and His followers as outsiders, unjustly—yet voluntarily—disgraced by religious legalists as expendable and unworthy, people to be isolated and dealt with out of sight. “But that’s OK,” the writer insists. “We don't dwell in the present; we move toward the future.”
Like so much else in our walk with Christ, faith is fundamental to sacrificial praise. Hebrews defines it as the product of lips that confess God’s name. It doesn’t bubble with the excitement of “Thank You, Lord” or ring with awe like “How Great Thou Art”. But once you get the hang of it, sacrificial praise is every bit—possibly more—thrilling and awesome.
Praising God before He meets our needs exercises our faith and establishes His sovereign control. Try this: make a short list of things you'd rather not praise God about. Then shower Him with worship, sacrificing doubts, fears, and common sense to confess your faith in His love and power. Don’t bemoan the now, glory in the next. When your "praise party" ends, you'll sense a definite shift in your perspective. Excuse the cheesy euphemism, but when we give it up for God, He gladly welcomes our sacrifice of praise—plus the problems and anxieties attached to it.