"Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."
~ Hebrews 13:15
When we live our lives in the daily struggles of life, it can be incredibly easy to lose focus on God. Life, in the mundane, or the frantic, or the lonely, or the suffering, can thwart even the most optimistic of us.
The Bible speaks to us about this, makes it clear, even, that praise for God ought to be on our lips continually. It often isn't, however. But the life of the Christian is to be characterised by praise for our Creator, because that is the best 'fruit' our lives can bear.
The life of the mature christian is attractive, not because it may be smooth sailing (often it is the opposite!), but because it is unshakable in praise and thanksgiving.
But note that this verse says the 'sacrifice of praise'. Oftentimes, in order to praise God, we need to sacrifice first. Praising God is a sacrifice. Sacrificing our self-pity; sacrificing our hopes and dreams and ambitions; sacrificing our time, our money; sacrificing the petty sins we like to hold onto firmly.
To live a life characterised by praise to God is a life of sacrificial obedience. It isn't going to come naturally, we must choose to do it, continually.
This is the fruit of our lips. It is a sign that we acknowledge His name. Yahweh. The one true Most High God. Praising our God is acknowledging Him for who He is. It is bringing God the glory through our affirmations of His goodness.
When Eve was tempted by discontent over the ONE fruit that God forbade her to eat, she was neglecting to praise God for who He really was: A good and faithful God, who provided her with everything she actually needed. When she stopped continually praising God for the perfect marriage, the weedless garden and eternal life and intimate fellowship with God himself, she forgot the character of God. She doubted that He really did have her best interests in mind. She saw, not countless blessings, but limitations; restriction.
Are we like that sometimes too? (I dare say we are...)
In contrast, consider Job. A man who is an excellent example of unvarying praise to God, despite circumstances. A man who had EVERYTHING taken from him but his very life (and his wife), and yet still did not waver in his affirmation of God's sovereignty and goodness. Amazing.....
Praise characterised Job, and God upheld that virtue in him.
Praise honours God. It is what we were created for and it brings us closer to God when we do it.
As a wife, praise is thanking God for your spouse... no matter how human and fallen they may be. No matter how many socks they leave on the floor.
As a mum, praise is thanking God for the gift of life. Praising Him for the miracle that a soul really is, praising Him for the gift of being able to raise them for His glory.... Even when our windows are always smudged with fingerprints, even when we get no more than 2 hours sleep in a row some nights, even when they bring the stomach bug into our house, or get their clothes dirty 4 times in an hour.
As a woman, praise is thanking God for who he made you. Thanking God that you are not an android, you are a woman. It means praising God that you were created with a special purpose, that you are not an accident, you are not a man with different body parts, but are in fact, a wonderful creation.
As a christian, praising God is remembering how much God has done for you. Praising God for the sacrifice that Jesus made for you on the cross at Calvery.
Praise is our 'good works'. But it doesn't just honour God....
When we give praise to God, we are blessed in return....
"..give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."
~ Luke 6:38
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
You see? When we praise, it comes back to us. God does not let our praise fall to the ground void. He multiplies it, that we may be filled to overflowing and able to comfort and encourage others to praise God also.
What a great God we serve!