Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God
a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Here’s a true confession. When life is good, praise and thanksgiving flow automatically from my heart and lips. But when life turns black, praise and thanksgiving don’t flow quite so easily! Instead, I have to deliberately choose to follow God’s advice and “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
When I’d rather bask in self-pity or stay stuck in my depression, I do what God says: I give thanks and praise Him regardless of my suffering. That effort makes my praise a sacrifice. And when I lift such a sacrifice of praise to God, I find the Spirit’s joy magnified in my life—just as lifting a diamond to the light against a black background enhances its brilliance!
I’m learning to offer this sacrifice of praise when I’m in pain because God calls us to be joyful… at all times (Philippians 4:4)! I need God’s joy (and you probably do as well). We need joy when we’re suffering and misunderstood, when we’re rejected and hated, and when we’re in emotional or physical pain. Our praise to God gives the Spirit room to touch us with His joy that overshadows these circumstances. It’s amazing to realize that, with the sacrifice of praise, the very hindrances to our joy become the soil out of which joy blossoms.