What does this mean for me, exactly — this “let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise?” I have taken it as a sacred challenge. But it is not a challenge that I face alone. The scripture says “Through Jesus” I have the capacity to speak praise and live a praise-full life, professing the name of Jesus openly in word and deed. It sounds simple enough, right?
However, because I am a struggling human being, there are those times when I just do not “feel like praising.” I have been in situations when I had many questions, needed guidance, and faced some big uncertainties. Those were tough times. But I have learned that Jesus will give me the strength and ability to rise above those feelings and live out my praise anyway. And in that way, my praise to God is a sacrifice. I am offering up my self-centeredness to God. I am trusting and thanking God ahead of time for the way that He will intercede in my problems. It’s a step of faith.
On the other hand, there are times when my spirit is truly feeling blessed and praising God is easy. This praise can take on different forms. Generally, it is having a grateful heart, an attitude of love and devotion towards God. It can be breathing a prayer of “Thank you, God” many times throughout my day. It is serving my family and neighbors with a loving heart.
The challenge is to practice this way of life until it becomes a holy habit. And that will probably take a lifetime.
We praise you
for being our loving heavenly father,
for Jesus our merciful forgiver,
and for your Holy Spirit, our guiding friend.
May words of praise be on our lips
and in our hearts,