Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
40 years ago this verse seemed to pop up everywhere, as the Charismatic Movement was trying to shake the Church out of its rut, but it’s been quite a few years since I’ve heard it quoted. Back then, any song with less than three verses that was less than 100 years old was dismissed in many circles as a “chorus,” good only for informal settings that didn’t qualify as a “real church service.” Thankfully that’s not the case today, though the pendulum has swung so much that in some churches they haven’t sung anything with theological depth in years. However, the point of the writer is not musical style but lifestyle. After all, Gregorian chants were still in the far future back then! What he is saying is that our mouths should continually be giving God thanks and praise for everything. Sometimes that really is a sacrifice, as we choose to praise Him when our bodies are in pain or our hearts are breaking or whatever. However, most of the time it really isn’t so difficult, but we simply fail to do it. This isn’t to be glib cliches; words alone don’t cut it. Rather, this is a matter of heart attitude that is expressed verbally. I’m reminded of how many men seem to have great difficulty being verbally affectionate to their wife and children. It is demonstrably true that expressing such things out loud cements them internally as well. Just as witnessing to others grows our own faith, so praising God deepens our appreciation of Him. God is more than worthy of all our devotion and obedience, and when we choose to praise Him we are far more likely to give them to Him.
In my own life I have discovered that praising God is one of the best antidotes to temptation there is. Rather than, “I’ve got to resist this temptation,” simply saying, “God, You are so wonderful,” will often make the devil flee. That’s exactly what James was talking about when he said, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Truly praising God involves submitting yourself to Him, so there you have it. As I tell people fairly frequently, God doesn’t need our praise, but we certainly need to praise Him!
Father, thank You for this reminder. It is so basic that I forget it sometimes. Help me be a praiser indeed, drawing other to praise You with me, so that our hearts may be open to allow You to work in and through us for our blessing and the blessing of many others, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!