“If we have built our own altar to turn away from the LORD and to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, or to sacrifice fellowship offerings on it, may the LORD himself call us to account.” (Joshua 22:23)
In the Bible an altar represent different things. It represented sacrificing to God by giving Him the best of the sheep in your flock. It represented worshipping God and putting Him above all else in life. It represented humility, acknowledging your need of God and your total dependence on Him. But it’s also possible to build an altar “for ourselves”. By doing so, we rob God of His rightful place in our lives and begin to put ourselves first. In other words, we build an altar to self-interest, self-promotion, self-preservation, self-importance, and self-exaltation.
That’s why Jesus sets the following standard for discipleship, and it’s a high standard: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Your “cross” has only one purpose, and that’s for “self” to die on. Paul writes: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). Note the words “put to death”. Your flesh, or your ego and carnal nature, will not willingly roll over and die; it must be crucified each day.
And the power to do this can only be accessed by spending time in prayer with God and renewing your mind constantly with the Word of God. So today the choice is yours; to build an altar to the Lord, you must first put “self” on the altar. Are you ready to do that?
Heavenly Father, help me to put myself on Your altar — and to stay there. Forgive me for my false thinking that I can run my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.