I have realized that, “a sacrifice of praise” means way more than I ever realized. Hebrews 13:15-16, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to god, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
This morning I blew my shofar, not because I had a feeling of victory or because I had overcome anything. I just knew that I had to do something to strengthen my own faith. We often see preachers and pastors who preach victory and we think that everything looks so great, but I think that a lot of the time they are also struggling with issues of their own. I remember someone saying that feelings don’t have brains. I’ve always thought about the context in which he used it because he was saying that you shouldn’t get swept up in the moment when the Holy Spirit moves. I think that maybe he never experienced the Holy Spirit in practice because it doesn’t matter what my brain tells me, I am not resistant to that call. What I do feel though, is that if I am feeling defeated or depressed or just overwhelmed with a situation, I must not rely on my feelings. I cannot decide that God is not helping me, or doesn’t love me just because I don’t feel His presence.
Isaiah 40:28-29, “Have you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths that faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 55:8-9, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” So God does things His way and most of the time we don’t understand what His ways are. We have to get to know God’s Word so that we can get a little bit closer to knowing His thoughts and His ways. Psalm 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Verse 105, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Verse 133, “Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.”
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ,.” Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma.” 1 john 3:2, “Beloved, we are now children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we shall know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 2:6, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked.” And just how did Jesus walk? How did He live? He loved His enemies and prayed for those who spitefully used Him. He loved His neighbor as himself. He forgave. He considered Himself a servant and washed His disciples’ feet. He believed that all things are possible with God. He had faith to heal the sick and cleanse lepers. He drove out demons. He took authority over the devil by quoting scripture. He multiplied bread and fish and He walked on water. When He was arrested, beaten and tortured He never complained or defended Himself. He sweated blood when He prayed because He knew what was coming but He faced it anyway. Because He was fully man it wasn’t any easier for Him than it is for us, and I believe that praise was often a sacrifice to Jesus, but because He knew the effect He praised. Let us praise when we don’t feel like it. Let’s be obedient and see what happens.