October is my birth month. A few years ago, I resolved to do something different during the month to enhance my relationship with God—devoting more attention to dwelling in the presence of God. A personal retreat—sometimes through extended period of praise and worship or a deeper and extended study of the Bible.
Last September, I started a 100-day Ministering Gratitude to God based on Ps. 119:164. So I assumed this was what God would want me to do during October but on October 3rd, God laid the message below on my heart.
“Write as an offering of praise and thanksgiving to Me.”
This was an unusual instruction. I was at a critical point in writing my book, which has been protracted for a long time. In September, God gave me a renewed resolve to complete this assignment. I was also at a crossroad in deciding how to divide my time between writing, beading (for income-generation) and the other activities demanding my attention. I had also just done a study of Leviticus; I understood from there that the offering we bring to God must be carefully considered and prepared, wholesome, choice and without defect. God deserves the best we can offer. So I needed to understand what God is asking of me.
How do I write as an offering of praise and thanksgiving to God?
I pondered on this question and posed the same to my husband as I sought his help in understanding this instruction. His response was that it is not about the quantity of time I spend writing but it is about my heart and motive. This helped me somewhat to address the conflict in my heart regarding spending time writing, and my desire to generate income by devoting attention to my beading business.
An Offering of Praise and Thanksgiving:
True offering of praise and thanksgiving must be in response to the works of God in our lives, that is, a spontaneous acknowledgement of the benefits we enjoy from God. True offering is expression of thankfulness, in obedience to God’s word, and with reliant prayer—relying on God to provide sufficient for our needs. It is an act of worship—giving to God the honour due to Him.
A sacrifice of praise is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge, confess and glorify God’s name (Hebrews 13:15-16). It is to be offered constantly and at all times, in proclamation of the power and might of God (Ps 68:34), with genuine trust in God, and with joy (Ps 27:6).
An offering of praise cannot be acceptable to God if it is offered with wilful disobedience in our lives (Hosea 14:2), compromise in our relationships, and corruptions in our speech (Leviticus 1:3).
It has to be purposeful. Not an empty ritualistic sacrifice. It has to be from the heart with reverence and awe of God. I am not doing God a favour bringing an offering of praise and thanks to Him. He is not dependent on my offering but He demands my heart—my motive must be to please God, to pay homage due to Him and to acknowledge His goodness. Therefore, my offering of praise must continually spring from a thankful heart. It is confessing who God really is to me. A sacrifice of praise and thanks offered out of a sincere heart is acceptable to God.
We have been called to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. We are also admonished that in all we do, we must do as unto God. It therefore means that my whole life must be an offering of praise to God. My writing is just an aspect of this.
Writing as an Offering of Praise and Thanksgiving:
I have no inkling of doubt that Writing is a ministry God called me to do. The ability to create with words is a God-given gift, which I am called to use for His glory. In understanding God’s instructions to write as an offering, I came to know that it applies to all my writings—the book and my blog are just channels through which I share the messages in my heart by the leading of the Holy Spirit, to inspire hope and encourage people.
It therefore means that I have to write with the following guiding principles:
- In obedience to God. Whether in writing the book or writing the messages on the blog, it must be in response to the leading of God.
- My writing has to be motivated by an appreciation of what God has done in my life. I must write with a grateful heart acknowledging God’s immerse goodness to me.
- It has to be with compassion and sensitivity, and in response to the suffering of others. Therefore, I cannot write with calluses and hardness in my heart.
- It will sometimes be at a cost. David said that he will not offer to God that which cost him nothing (2 Sam 24:4).
- I will have to trust and depend on God to take care of my needs.
The last two posts on the blog “We Call, He Answers And He Reveals" and “Scars, Calluses And Hardness In The Heart" were the two toughest blog posts I have written since I started blogging. The decision to write these posts was very difficult. Second only to the decision to be willing to share my personal life including my pains, trials, struggles and afflictions publicly on the blog, fully aware that it will not only make me vulnerable but also put my life and my family on display. And I had decided a long time ago never to be a subject of pity.
It was also challenging because I was calling not only myself but others to be vulnerable—be willing to open their pains and hurts up for healing, and to be willing to admit that there are scars, calluses and hardness in their hearts. And to willingly let go of those who have hurt and offended them. In sharing these hard truths, I was taking a risk as these persons may distant themselves from me in a reaction to this post. Following God’s leading had to come first before any other consideration if my writing is to be a sacrifice of praise to God.
Since I cannot exceed the truth in expressing the goodness of God, my offering therefore is genuine when it is about God's goodness. When this forms the foundation of my writing—the truth of God’s goodness—it makes my writing sincere and genuine.
It was, therefore, a joy on Monday, October 27th to read “Six tips For Christian Bloggers/Writers" on Imperfectly Perfect Lives. It confirmed God’s instructions to me.
Unforgiveness, Holding to Hurts and an Offering of Praise:
As soon as I wrote the above caption, I realised that unforgiveness and offering of praise to God cannot co-habit—the two words simply don’t go together in the same phrase.
The Bible says in Matthew 5:23-24:
“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.…”
From the foregoing, only reconciliation and forgiveness can co-habit with genuine offering of praise that is acceptable to God. Nothing else we do matters as long as we are harbouring unforgiveness, anger and malice, and holding someone—perhaps a child of God created in God’s image—bound in the prison of our hearts.
Simply put, our offering of praise cannot be acceptable to God if it is coming from an unforgiving and harden heart. We cannot truly offer praise with sincerity and in obedience to God out with unforgiveness in our hearts.
It means that I can forgive those who hurt me and be the first to make a move towards reconciliation and restoring a broken relationship as an acknowledgement and appreciation of the undeserved mercy God has shown to me. Though, it is never easy to let go of hurts and pain but when done in obedience to God, it becomes a sacrificial offering acceptable to God.
I received a novel titled, Burning Hurt, from a dear Sista in Nigeria last weekend. I read the book in five hours. It was the fastest I have ever read a book. Written by Unyime-Ivy King, Burning Hurt, confirmed to me in strong terms that hurting people hurt others and that we have to forgive to be free. We have to forgive to offer an acceptable sacrifice of praise to God.
In concluding this post, I want you to know that God loves the sinner but He hates sin. I am created to reflect the image of God, therefore like God, I can separate the offender from the offense, and give the offender a gift of mercy and forgiveness as an offering of praise to God. This way, I can deal with the suggestion that I am giving the offender a free-pass. It also means that I trust God to act on my behalf and vindicate me. Since Jesus, our Senior Advocate, has never lost a case we can assured that He will act in our best interest.
My dear Friends, you can stand on this truth.
God deserves the best in everything we offer to Him. If we are to live our lives for His glory as a
living sacrifice acceptable to Him then we have to offer God our best in everything we do, starting with our heart.
I have a clearer understanding of God’s instruction now. I can write, and indeed live my whole life, as an offering of praise to God. What about you? Would you consider making every aspect of your life an offering of praise to God?