A Sacrifice of Praise

Rob Hoskins, OneHope President

We’re well into the season of Lent – a reflective 40-day period between Ash Wednesday and Resurrection Sunday. Perhaps you’ve chosen to give something up to focus more clearly on Jesus, the one who sacrificed his life on the cross and defeated death. Whether it’s Lent or any other time of the year, as Christians, we’re called to live lives as a sacrifice of praise.  

The Lord took me to a passage in the Book of Hebrews that serves as an anchor point for this: “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:15-16 ESV)

Five elements of praise

This passage shares five elements to live life as a sacrifice of praise. Verses 15 and 16 are a turning point in the Book of Hebrews. The words ‘through Him’ remind us that no amount of personal works or suffering can save us. No sacrifice can be made by us in order to gain or earn our salvation — it is only made possible through Him, the supreme sacrifice of Jesus, who is our one and only hope. It’s not a sacrifice to earn our atonement. In Him, all atonement has been won. He is asking for our sacrifice of praise. 

The second element of living a life as a sacrifice of praise is to do it ‘continually.’ This means far more than attending a Sunday morning service at church. We are called to live a life glorifying God 24/7. Tied closely with this is the third element: a heart of thankfulness, expressed through ‘the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.’ Circumstances don’t determine this praise, but it’s an outpouring of love we can’t help but express. I believe, much like prayer, praise is a state of being more than an activity we participate in. It’s a disposition of thankfulness that’s part of who we are, as a continual flow of love and joy in Him that can’t be constrained. 

Praise flows from our lips in interaction and conversation with everyone we meet or encounter, using every opportunity to worship Him because of what He has done for us. Praise is expressed not just in this verbal thankfulness, but like the verse says to ‘do good.’ Evidence of this can be found in several Bible passages, including the call to make disciples of all nations, to share food and clothes with those less fortunate, and to love a neighbor as ourselves, among many other examples. 

The final element is generosity, or as the verse states, ‘share what you have.’ This is giving not out of obligation but an acknowledgment to God that our lives, talents, treasure, and family are not really our own. They are all gifts from God, given to steward, not to keep. The measure of my sacrificial praise will be demonstrated by the level of my generosity. Praise brings forth joy. Joy is generated by giving. With Hebrews 13:15-16 in mind, I encourage you to reflect on your sacrifice of praise as you walk with Jesus daily. 

Rob Hoskins is President of OneHope. His innovative Outcome Based Ministry model and training has helped thousands of global ministries shift their paradigm and begin incorporating best practices that dramatically increase their effectiveness.

Read more by Rob Hoskins at goodnewsfl.org/author/rob-hoskins/

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