By Jenniffer Mann
During my time with God this week, He asked me the question, “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?” I could not help but weep as the words of this beautiful old hymn came to mind.
You have longed for sweet peace,
And for faith to increase,
And have earnestly, fervently prayed.
But you cannot have rest,
Or be perfectly blest,
Until all on the altar is laid.
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest,
And have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.
I sat in the early morning dew, breathing in the freshness of the fields, with only the birds to interrupt my solitude. I contemplate what it means to yield my body and soul and leave it all on altar of sacrifice.
Leviticus chapters 1-7, are very prescriptive regarding the sacrificial altar and it’s use. God wanted to keep at the forefront of the minds of the Jewish people, the seriousness of sin and the importance of being cleansed and forgiven.
Sacrifice was not about trying to obtain favour. The prophet Micah in, speaks out on this:
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?Micah 6:7
God wants us to meet him at the altar with only a broken and contrite spirit and our will. Practically, this means allowing the Holy Spirit to control our every thought, word and action.
I ask myself if I fully comprehend the expansiveness of what this means in my life. As another hymn writer puts it:
Not I, but Christ be honoured, loved, exalted,
Not I, but Christ be seen, be known and heard;
Not I, but Christ in every look and action,
Not I, but Christ in every thought and word.
To me this means when I’m engaged in conversation and something is said to rankle me – “Not I but Christ” is my response.
It means that when working alongside someone in ministry, “Not I but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard.” If I am intent on imposing my opinion, asserting that my way is the better way, insist on myvoice being heard, there is no Christ in that interaction.
Think about the last conversation you had in your board or your ministry meeting. Was it really about Christ? Or was it about you being seen, known and heard? When on the receiving end of the comments, was your response really about Christ, or did it become about you, because the comments were taken personally?
“Not I but Christ” means, you do not revert to ‘type’ (self) when driving in your car and someone pulls out in front of you.
“Not I but Christ” means not lashing out at your spouse or child when they do or say something that would ordinarily have irritated you.
It means rather than having to have the last word, giving someone a side eye, gossiping, finding fault, elevating yourself by running down others, destroying someone’s self confidence, your every thought and action is about Christ.
“Not I but Christ” means laying aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and running with patience the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1).
We ‘cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils.’ (1 Corinthians 10:21) Whose well do you fill your cup from? If we think we can reach heaven without laying aside every sin, we are in for an eternity of disappointment.
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Jesus did not die for our witness to others to be one of pride. He does not want our murmuring, He does not want our misguided notions of what it means to be righteous. The righteousness we receive from God when we are redeemed sets the standard we attain to.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.2 Corinthians 5:21
If I am not giving every sin over to Jesus (my altar of sacrifice) I will not make it. God requires complete sacrifice so He can wrap us up in His love. The second stanza of the hymn reads:
Oh, we never can know
What the Lord will bestow
Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
Till our body and soul
He doth fully control,
And our all on the altar is laid.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is a daily requirement. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
What power is working in you?
If you are still a slave to your words, actions and thoughts. You only have a form of Godliness that yields no power!
You cannot change your yesterday but through Christ, you can change your today and your tomorrow. Lay it all on the altar of sacrifice!
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