Building an altar - pt 3
Pt 3 Surrender your agenda…..its not just about you!
Posted by Chris Scott (Senior Leader Bridge Church)
I don’t know what you think of when you hear the word ‘altar.’
Put simply, an altar is a place of sacrifice. A place of surrender. A place of worship. There are physical altars of course. In the Old Testament physical altars were built as memorials to Gods' faithfulness, or for sacrificing animals as an atonement for the sins of the people. Nowadays, they are used in many churches for ceremonies such as communion, marriage, and all kinds of other ecclesiastical purposes. For us, the concept of the ‘altar’ is more of an internal dynamic. It’s a heart issue. It speaks of a posture of personal surrender to the will and purposes of God in our lives. It’s a daily encounter with Jesus where we die to ourselves and live for him! It’s a decision to ‘surrender your agenda’ to God every day, and in every situation.
For us, the concept of the ‘altar’ is more of an internal dynamic. It’s a heart issue. It speaks of a posture of personal surrender to the will and purposes of God in our lives.
This of course is easier said than done, and any genuine desire to live this way will require great sacrifice and humility. It will often eject us from our comfort zones, challenge our familiar practices, and confront our personal preferences, but it will always lead us to a place of breakthrough. It will create unprecedented opportunities for us to experience the power of Gods will at work unhindered in our life…. I wonder what would that look like? To constantly surrender our agenda to God.
In Matt 6:10 Jesus taught his disciples that our praying should include an clear emphasis on the Father's will being accomplished, ‘your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’
My question is simple. How is it possible for God's will to be done on the Earth, if each one of us resist it being done in our own personal lives? That’s something to ponder right? It’s true of course, that God is all-powerful and in the end he will have his way, but let’s be honest, it’s a bit of a cop out for us to separate out the fulfilment of Gods will at some macro universe level, from our own personal responsibility to be part of it. We are not called to be spectators, or commentators of his will, but rather to be participators and accomplishers of it. Make no mistake, his masterplan and purpose for our planet is inextricably linked, in some way, to the sum total of our surrender to his will in our own personal lives.
How is it possible for God's will to be done on the Earth, if each one of us resist it being done in our own personal lives?..........What is the fulfilment of Gods will if it is not the collective obedience of all of God’s people?
When we think of it that way it becomes a huge deal, doesn’t it?
What is the fulfilment of Gods will if it is not the collective obedience of all of God’s people? We cannot simply absolve ourselves of our responsibility in this. Sure, you may not ultimately be responsible for some climactic global action that brings a consummation to the eternal destiny of the world (God forbid that you would!) But, and it's a huge but, when you fail to surrender your personal daily agenda to God, you fail to add your brush stroke to the grand masterpiece of God’s will and it will not be complete. Make no mistake, your personal surrender does affect how God's will is fulfilled on the earth.
It’s so much more than just about whether you make a few good choices in your life or obey God in a few things. We cannot, and must not, reduce our surrender to God as being just a private issue, or just be concerned with how it affects our future alone. Your personal surrender to Gods purpose in everyday living is significant in the overall implementation of Gods agenda for his creation.
Maybe then, we should read these words of Jesus differently, and with a greater sense of personal application than ever before. Our prayer should be ‘your will be done in my life so it can be done on the Earth! Our prayer should be a personal declaration of our intention to be and to do Gods will on the earth.
Finally, this applies to the establishing of his kingdom as well. Jesus said in the same passage ‘your kingdom come.’ Well I have news for you. The kingdom is here, not in its fullness perhaps, but it is here. So where is it?
Well, in Luke 17:20, Jesus was asked the same question by the Pharisees. He responded, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
There it is again. How will the kingdom be established on the earth, if it's not first established in you and me? How will people see the kingdom of God on the Earth, if they don't see it in you and me!
How will the kingdom be established on the earth, if it's not first established in you and me? How will people see the kingdom of God on the Earth, if they don't see it in you and me!
Our desire is for Bridge Church to build a community of disciples who are all acutely aware of the significance of their own existence, and calling in God, and perhaps most importantly, a community who take responsibility for the potential within us. Are we crazy enough to believe that God can, and will, transform our world through little old me and you? Well, remember the vast oceans of the world are simply the sum total of countless numbers single drops of water, and look at the power they have to impact our planet. When we each align ourselves with his word and his will, and we each unequivocally surrender to his agenda, then maybe together we can impact the world around us in ways that we have not seen before.
What adventure lies at the other end of your total surrender to God? Lay it all out on the altar and see what God will do.