One never leaves the altar the same. You sacrifice to gain something. When the bride walks down the aisle to the altar she is laying down her self to become one with her groom. When Abraham took Isaac up the mountain, he was ready to lay him on the altar and instead God provided a ram. He may have not had to sacrifice his son, but he still laid it all on the altar that day and came away a changed man and with a deeper understanding of his God that day.
When we come to the altar (lay our life down and choose to serve our God, through Jesus Christ) we will never be the same. Our standing, our identity, our eternal viewpoint shifts. We become new, a child of the God who created us. And yet our flesh still lingers and pulls us to move from the altar and our motives become less clear.
Letting go of our own way of doing life and choosing instead to live for Christ is not a feeling-friendly task. People often speak of abandoning themselves and the ecstasy they feel when they give over fully, but they are merely endgaming. They forgot the struggle of releasing what they had been holding (even if what they were holding was toxic or not nice) and it was still a jump, a fight, to hand it over. So when they talk with others about the freedom they feel in the laying down of self, they can sometimes put off others that are in the face of the struggle and because they don’t feel ecstatic about it, but confused or scared then they think it is not for them, that there has to be another way. Sadly, there isn’t.
If we want true freedom, and if we are serious about following Christ and having what I call ‘altar motives’, then we have nothing but letting go ahead of us. Thank God the risk is worth it.
What are some of the things we need to let go of in order to keep us on the altar? Unforgiveness is a huge one, expectations of ourselves or others, giving away what we thought things should be like. Letting go of being popular, of our personal rights. Letting God determine our path and doing things for His glory and not our own. Letting go of it being all about ourselves and putting others first.
Let me leave you with the “verse of the day”, in their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 Altar motives are all about allowing the Lord to establish our steps.