It’s a great day to seek joy! Grab your coffee and your Strand of Faith and let’s return to the seven sacrifices that add richness of gold to our joy. I’m so glad there’s you to take this journey with me!
Before we move on to the second sacrifice to joy, I just want to share one more thing with you about the sacrifice of praise. Hebrews 13:15 reminds us that a spiritual sacrifice of praise needs to come from the heart and is prompted by the Spirit, which is exactly what happened in my situation with my hubby. And as I think about one of my recent tests in Meekness 101, I have to acknowledge that greater is He that is in me than he who is in the world. It’s His Spirit in me moving me away from me, teaching me to right the wrong, immediately, instead of resorting to old behaviors and being stuck on stupid or bitter! In other words, we must remember the spiritual part of ourselves in all circumstances!
A sacrifice of praise not only stirs up our joy but increases our joy!
A sacrifice of praise leads us right into the second sacrifice, a sacrifice of righteousness. Psalm 4:5 tells us to “offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.”
Well, that sounds a little holy, huh? For me, those eleven words are shedding some glorious light into a dark situation that He used to help me unlearn and relearn some powerful truths that are shaping me in the area of ministry and especially meekness. But like any huge test, it requires a lot of studying, and more studying and only when it’s applied can it really sink in it’s a grueling and exhausting process at times. Thinking about it gives me a sort of emotional hang-over. I’ve been known to mutter, “Lord, why do you have to use so many people to teach me all these lessons?”
Have you ever felt like that, a bit beat up and weary by others? Despite the way that this most recent test ended, there were moments where I felt that this person’s bitterness was like poison, a hot, searing poison that oozed out and threatened to harden my heart a bit instead of melt it and make it right!
Whew, I know, that may be a bit too transparent for you but I’m humbled that despite me, He wants to speak to me so He can speak through me.
We will do some digging into a sacrifice of righteousness, but for now, let me share what it is speaking to my heart: See, when someone wrongs you, how likely are you to offer a sacrifice of righteousness? NOT! Well, trust me; He doesn’t give you a test without giving you all the answers! He’s an incredibly fair Professor/Teacher!
I am currently attending a leadership class (working on my Bachelor’s in Ministry; I’m seriously excited) and I am reading an amazing book called On Being a Servant of God by Warren W. Wiersbe and let me tell you, I have more of his words highlighted than not! There are so many powerfully encouraging truths in this book about ministry, and they are truly speaking to me in this class of Meekness 101, enabling me to offer up a sacrifice of praise. I can honestly see how each of these tests in this class have stretched me just a little more toward righteousness, even when I don’t get such a good grade in the current test!
In his book, Warren reminds us that “ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels.” Everyone can be a minister! He also says, paraphrasing, that people not only have problems, but can be problems and just because we are in ministry doesn’t make us any more deserving of His grace than those causing us problems! In fact, we are to remain loving channels!
He compared those problematic and difficult people to hedgehogs and I couldn’t help but giggle especially when I put a face to the hedgehog! Here’s his analogy about those difficult people, aka, hedgehogs: “the closer you get to them, the more they stick and poke you with their protective quills”! That got me to thinking … uh-oh, we’re on dangerous ground now! Could it be that hedgehogs are His chosen mascot for this school of life?
Here’s a crazy truth that I have experienced to be true and that His Word confirms: Those very people that are poking, sticking us, and hurting us don’t deserve His grace any less than us! If Jesus continues to love the wrong right out of me, how then can I not be motivated by His love to love those hedgehogs?
But here is the other side of that truth: When we get there, He’s not going to talk to us about what they did to hurt us in the way of poking, sticking, etcetera; He’s going to talk with us about our reactions to their actions!
Why? God is as concerned about the lesson as He is about the learner! When someone becomes a hedgehog in our life, what is our first response? Do we try and trap them, conquer them, one-up them, put on our horns and ram them? Or do we maybe manipulate them or retaliate and hurt them back? Do we try and sting them with our words? Do we fight an external fight hoping for an eternal reward?
What if God allowed that hedgehog to saunter right up and into our lives to help us become more righteous by becoming more dependent on Him, less dependent on our own abilities? I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s no coincidence that I’m taking the class I’m taking, reading a book totally un-required to the class but having everything to do with the class and what He’s currently teaching me. This assures me that He will continue to provide you and me with all the answers to any test He’s ever going to give us, no matter what class it is. Oh, that we would remain teachable, hungry to leave our pride outside of each class that we might learn how to offer up a sacrifice of righteousness and earn the prize!