A sacrifice of praise
“I just don’t want to go there!”
“There is nothing to praise in this situation!”
“You must be kidding; worship when I feel the way I do?”
Have you ever been at that place where you were devastated by a situation and at the height of frustration and uncertainty? How do you ever get turned around from thinking there is no hope and the end of a situation will never come? I don’t know about you, but I don’t like conflict and I don’t like when things get messy because I can’t see the way out while being in the thick of it.
When I’m frustrated and put out, my first response has been to build a wall and gather my defenses. But God has shown me over the past few years that it is out of my insecurities that I respond that way when hurt or devastated. After all, who wants to admit “I” am wrong when it’s easier to say “they” are wrong? And I sure don’t want to admit that I am insecure.
God began to gently show me a few things about myself a few years back that He has used to teach me and grow me up a bit. But I had to get to that place where I was willing to look inwardly at the messy stuff in my heart. When we give ourselves over to His redeeming work, He then has permission to start messing with and exposing things that are deficits and have taken up residence far too long in our hearts.
Worship has been a tremendous tool that God has used in my life over the past several years. As I would draw closer to Him with the desire to get to know Him more, I began to see myself for who I really was. As I pulled in closer to God, I saw His majesty and my yucky, messy self -- just like that passage I love in Isaiah 6 where Isaiah gets the vision of God seated on the throne. Isaiah saw how unclean and sinful he really was.
Isaiah 6:5 (The Message) reads, “I said, ‘Doom! It’s Doomsday! I’m as good as dead! Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted -- blasphemous even! And the people I live with talk the same way, using words that corrupt and desecrate. And here I’ve looked God in the face! The King!’”
It was a rude awakening, for sure, and that gentle revealing helped me see that the root of insecurity came from not really understanding the holiness of the God I chose to serve or my identity in Jesus Christ. You cannot walk in a way if you do not understand that way. Those were some tough realizations. But then I began to sense a shift taking place in my heart as I saw myself for who I really was and then understood that Christ came to change all ofthe old into the new. We can have a whole lot of knowledge but never apply it. What good does it do us if we don’t apply it? I could see how I had become one of those weak women that Timothy talks about in 2 Timothy 3:7 --“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” To put it mildly, I didn’t like what I saw but was now ready to do something about it.
Sacrifice -- it is a big word with a meaning that is sometimes glossed over. It is the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable. So is it possible that relinquishing my old behavior in exchange for His peace could be seen as my sacrifice of praise? Would I be willing to lay down my old self and offer up that praise offering, even my old, comfortable self?
Hebrews 13:15 says “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
It only takes a glimpse of the Holy One to see yourself as you really are, desperately in need of a Savior. As I glance back at that time in my life, I can surely praise His name for allowing me to be uncovered to discover that I had to let go of who I was and embrace Christ in me, the hope of glory. The “new” that is growing in me helps me to see just how great He really is. With excitement I can sing, “To God be the glory, great things He has done.” (and continues to do!)