Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Give It Up!

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.

Hebrews 13.15

Praise Genres

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.”

Lip Product

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 praiseplus the problems and anxieties attached to it. 

Quite possibly the greatest "sacrificial praise" anthem--ever.
"Total Praise" by Richard Smallwood & Vision.

1 comment:

Rev Leanna said...


Thank you for your blog. Every opportunity that a LGBTQI individual has to be reminded that they are children of a loving God is wonderful. I appreciate your comments on the scripture and your personal witness of God.
Continue the work you are doing and may you continue to grow in your faith and commitment to others in your community.

Rev. Leanna Hamilton
Interim Pastor
New Hope MCC
Santa Rosa, CA