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 ESV
Worship is central in the Christian life. Few people would argue this. Scripture commands us that in everything we do, do it all for the glory of God. Yet so often, whether among other saints or in private, my sacrifices feel so incomplete. Even in my deepest, purest moments, it never seems enough.
I want to encourage you if this is how you feel as well. Because its true. Our praise is never worthy of Him. And it always will be this way this side of Heaven.
God is the Holy of Holies. His glory far surpasses everything we deem as glorious. If we stretch our imagination and envision perfection, He is far more. God’s character is so pure and untarnished that anything less than Him cannot enter His presence. The cheribum, who guard God’s holiness, continually sing, “Holy, holy, holy!” The Seraphim, in Isaiah 6, are shown praising in the same way but hiding their face and feet with their wings before the Lord.
So how are we supposed to adequately praise the Holy of all Holies? Because in Hebrews 12 we are commanded to:
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 that a new way to worship was approaching. Worship that wasn’t stringent on location, but solely Spirit and truth. When we believe in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, for our salvation, we are completely changed. The Holy Spirit indwells us, we are newly created, our heart is no longer deceitful and wicked, and our spirit is quickened. These changes are the ONLY reason we can offer acceptable worship.
But we have to be honest. Even when we offer a sacrifice of praise THROUGH Him, its still not completely worthy of Him. Because even though we are holy on the inside, we are still wrapped in sinful flesh. Pride, selfishness, doubt, and fear still seep into our songs and prayers.
Why then are they acceptable to God?
There isn’t a perfect illustration, but here’s the best I can come up with.
My two sons draw and color pictures constantly. Everyday, a new stack of artwork is finished for my viewing. Most you can tell took no time at all. Their name is spelled correctly, just backwards. Scribbled crayon reach far outside the lines of the picture. Or only 10% of the page is even touched. I always compliment but am quick to remind them that they can do better. These were rushed jobs and I know that if they take their time, they can do excellent work.
There’s one page though that hangs in my bedroom. My oldest drew a picture of himself on a swing with me pushing him. Below it he wrote ‘Thank you.’ Granted it was done by a four-year-old so it was in no way perfect. The H in Thank was originally a G, crossed out, and replaced with the correct letter.
I don’t treasure it because of the perfect artwork or spelling. But because I know it took him a long time and he did it to the best of his ability. All to tell me ‘Thank you.’
I have to believe our Heavenly Father is the same way. His children attempt to thank him in their limited and often broken ways. But when its genuine, he delights in the praise because we are his children and he understands our limitations.
Praise God for the Spirit who indwells us. He prays for us when we don’t know what to pray. Our worship is made complete when its done through him. And we constantly need him to be able to worship properly.
So no matter how insignificant you may feel, worship. No matter how broken you are, worship. Give him what you have. He may not receive it if its rushed or done sloppily. And yet he anticipates when its done with the right motivation from a heart of gratefulness. Not because its perfect, but because its from us.