Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15 NKJV
There are a couple of things about this scripture that challenge me. The first is the command to, 'continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God.'
Here is a definition of continually, 'constantly or frequently recurring; always happening.'
In a recent 24 hour period there were many moments when the fruit of my lips were not giving thanks to His name. There were mutterings of discontent and a questioning of God's ways. And let's not speak about the few hours of harbouring an offense, which I eventually handed over to God, yielding so He could help me process through it.
God helping me, brings me to one of the other parts of this scripture that challenges me, 'Therefore by Him,' or as the Amplified Bible says, 'Through Him'.
It seems that to be able to 'continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God', we have to be continually yielding, humbling ourselves and acknowledging that Jesus is Lord of all, not us. The complete Hebrews 13:15 in the Amplified Bible says this,
Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name. Hebrews 13:15 AMP
But I've found that when we are in difficult circumstances, coming to that place of yielding and being able to 'thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name,' often means we have to acknowledge our pain, our lack of control over the circumstances and most importantly our lack of trust and faith in God - our unbelief that God will work in and through the circumstances.
Regarding dealing with areas of unbelief, Donna Gibb's in her book, Becoming Resilient, says,
'In times of unbelief, ground yourself in Who you know God to be. Ground yourself in those aspects of God’s character in which you do no doubt. In which you do not struggle. Maybe you struggle with His protection, but you can ground yourself in the fact that He is your Creator. Or that He is your Saviour. Or that He is your Comforter. When you struggle, force yourself to reflect not only on your doubt but also on your area of confidence. Reflect often on those areas of genuine belief and assurance for help in times of doubt and uncertainty. Frequently, we trust God with our salvation but struggle to believe Him in our suffering. Remember, He remains the same. Whether you turn to Him regarding your eternal soul or your temporary pain, He remains the same God throughout. '
(Page 168 - Becoming Resilient by Donna Gibbs)
I have had to put this strategy into place many times over the past seven years. I've said before that there have been times in our journey with Victoria that I've believed God would bring us through the circumstances, but have struggled to believe that He would heal Victoria. In those times of doubt (sometimes they lasted for about 6 months), I had to do exactly what Donna is saying, ground myself in the aspects of God's character in which I did not doubt. I knew He was with us, He hadn't left us or forsaken us.
For me, to shift that unbelief to belief regarding God's desire to heal, I had to meditate daily on the truth in His word, feeding my soul, aligning my thoughts with God's thoughts - a renewing of my mind.
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 The Message
But getting back to offering a sacrifice of praise ... choosing to 'thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name,' regardless of the circumstances, is a step of obedience that takes us further towards the maturity God is calling us each to.
Finally, I have found that being still and listening to worship music, always takes me to a place of laying down my concerns, looking up to Jesus and praising Him for Who He is. For me, O Come to the Altar from Elevation Worship and Ever Be, from Bethel Music, and are always two great songs to start with.
Jesus, thank you that You are always worthy of our praise. Please help us to understand more of that truth today, give us greater revelation of Who you are. Please transform those areas of unbelief that we all carry, into areas of belief and trust in You. Give us courage to obey and offer a sacrifice of praise to You today. Amen.