"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name." Hebrews 13:15
The words sacrifice and praise might seem opposites in nature. We think of sacrifice as something that is of great cost to us, and praise, as a joyful sounds bubbling from a grateful heart. However, in the supernatural realm, sacrifice and praise are intertwined.
Naturally, praising does not always cost us something. It is an innate nature of man, that often response to a positive action that somebody has done, that directly or indirectly benefits us. We praise people for a job well done. We often find it easy to praise God from the same motivation. When He has blessed us, helped us, and protected us, we feel generous to extend it back toward Him. So we sing, worship, and talk about how good He is because we can see it. That kind of praise, although worthwhile, does not cost us anything. It is not a sacrifice.
It is easy to praise God when things are going well. However, there are those times when things did not come through the way we thought it would. When the medical test comes back positive, the spouse wants a divorce, a child is wayward, or the rent is due and there is not enough money to pay it. When God seems very far away, praise is the last thing to bubble up from our hearts, because we can't see His goodness, and circumstances scream that He has forgotten us. To praise God in those times requires personal sacrifice. It takes an act of willingness to lay it all on the altar before God.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 says; “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”
When we bring a "sacrifice of praise," we choose to believe that, even though life is not going as we think it should, God is still good and can be trusted (Psalm 135:1-3). The verse in Hebrews 13:15 says that this sacrifice is to be offered "continually." Our praise of God is not to be based on our opinion of His job performance. Praise cannot be treated as a "reward" we give God for His obvious blessings. Isaiah 29:13 says, "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." The sacrifice of praise is a supernatural celebration of the greatness and faithfulness of God. It continues regardless of circumstances. It flows continually from a worshiping heart, in good and bad times (Acts 16:23-25).
The "sacrifice of praise" comes from a humble heart. It rises from a spirit that has chosen to honor God in spite of the pain that life is causing. Psalm 51:16-17 says, “For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.
There will be times when we will feel like our faith is nonexistent or that God has decided to leave us hanging when we’re suffering. But that’s not the case at all. Isaiah 41:10 says; "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Situations and circumstances are not meant to diminish our faith, but to strengthen it. When we choose to praise God in spite of the storms, He is honored, and our faith is strengthened.