When was the last time that you offered something to God that actually cost you something? Can you recall a time when your offering to the Lord was painful or difficult? I believe that we may have forgotten the joy that accompanies the sacrifice of dying to self in order to offer something of value to God.
"And let them offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving and declare His works with rejoicing" (Ps. 107:22).
It saddens me to admit that at times I have self-righteously withheld my praise because of my propensity to be led by emotions rather than by faith. I have mistakenly believed that my feelings were more vital than the call of the Father to worship in spite of emotional pain. How small of me! I have made an idol of my feelings and have ignored the majesty of His name.
The culture of the Old Testament writings was well acquainted with the value of sacrifice. When a person took a sacrifice to the temple it was because a killing or a slaughter had taken place; blood had been shed in the giving of the sacrifice.
We are no longer required by our Creator to bring dead animals or birds as an act of worship, but perhaps we are required to bring longings that have been laid down, emotions that have been crucified and preferences that have been ceded.
As I ponder the events of 2020, I realize that for many people the thanksgiving that is offered this year may be a sacrifice of the finest kind. We may not be thanking the Lord for new cars, homes, raises or financial bonuses, but we can certainly yet offer a sacrifice of praise.
When you worship the Lord in spite of your feelings, your emotional pain and your selfish preferences, you are offering to Him the wonder of sacrifice. When you praise Him with a grateful heart regardless of what losses you may have suffered, you are responding to His sincere invitation to enter into His presence with genuine longing for who He is rather than for what He has done.
If you have died to a desire to complain and determined instead to sing, then your sacrifice is a beautiful gift in the throne room of God. True praise always involves a death to self, a departure from emotions and the extinction of human fleshly desires. Sincere worship is a welcomed aroma in heaven's grand hallway.
Not only does the psalmist call us to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, but he also gives an invitation to tell of the works of God with joyful singing! Your life was never meant to be a dirge or a funeral procession, but you will certainly discover fulfillment and destiny when you sing loudly, cheerfully and defiantly. The song of worship that we have been called to employ is a melody that defies circumstances and emotions.
I will bring the sacrifice of praise this year, and I will, indeed, tell of His works with joyful singing! There is no emotion or disappointment that will mute the song of my heart. A sacrifice may be an exacting requirement, but it is also one that is filled with joy inexpressible. Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness in the grand year of 2020.
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