October 18, 2022 — Staying on the Altar

“The other day,” Stan commented while we waited for breakfast, “I was talking with a neighbor and we were reminiscing about when we first became Christians, about how little we knew about Christianity and how people taught us things we didn’t know.”

“Such as what?” I asked.

“One thing I told my neighbor,” Stan replied, “is how I remember so clearly what a pastor said in one of his messages. I was new to the faith, and the pastor, who was a bit of a character, was talking about being a living sacrifice.”

“I had no idea what that meant,” Stan continued, “and the pastor made a joke that brought it home very clearly to me.”

“A joke?” I said. “What joke?”

“The pastor was talking about how we are to be living sacrifices,” Stan replied, “and he said that his biggest problem with that was he kept crawling off of the altar!”

“Crawling off the altar,” I said. “Like rather than being a living sacrifice, he would choose to do something other than that?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And because of his transparency in saying what he did, it brought home to me the fact that being a living sacrifice isn’t easy. It means that I have to make choices in being and doing what God intends for me, choices that are contrary to what I may want to do on my own.”

“Just like most everything we talk about regarding our faith walks,” I commented, “this sounds a lot like discipleship.”

“You’re right,” Stan replied. “You know why it sounds that way?”


“As I see it,” he replied, “just about everything, in fact maybe everything, dealing with being a Christian living the Christian life as God intends has to do with being a disciple.”

“Not just being a Christian?”

“Being a Christian is, of course, the essential first step,” Stan replied. “I don’t see how a person can be a disciple without first being a Christian, but being a Christian doesn’t automatically mean that a  person is as disciple. Choices are involved.”

“Just like the choice of being a living sacrifice by choosing to stay on the altar?” I said. “Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “I have to choose to stay. And it’s not always easy!”


Bible verses to consider:

 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Romans 6:12-13.

You have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you want me to be a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to you.  Thank you, too, for your provision of the Holy Spirit living in me to help and guide me in being that kind of living sacrifice. I confess that too often I am not the kind of sacrifice you intend because that is what I choose. Please forgive the foolishness of trying to live this life without being a living sacrifice to you for whatever you want to do in and through me. You know how much help I need with this. I ask for all the help you can and will provide. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him eternally so you can be a living sacrifice on this side of eternity? If no, what is keeping you from that? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with being a living sacrifice to God while He keeps you on this side of eternity? Do you find it difficult to remain on the altar as a living sacrifice? If you sense the need for change in being the living sacrifice God intends, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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