You may or may not have heard the song House of Prayer by Eddie James. It’s been out for a while now, but if you haven’t heard it, go check it out!
My husband and I recently ministered at a church where this song was done during worship and it was powerful. The lyrics include the line, “may the fire on my altar never burn out.”
What a prayer to pray!
When it came time for my husband to deliver the Word, he made a statement that has really stuck with me: “If you want to keep the fire burning, leave your offering on the altar.”
Just let that sink in for a second…
How many times have I prayed for God to use me and told Him, “Here I am! All my heart! My whole life! Do what you want! Consume me with your fire! Set me ablaze for You, Jesus!”
I’ve prayed those prayers too many times to count.
Then life gets busy and I just don’t have time to be a living sacrifice, so I take my offering off the altar.
Or, God asks me to do something that requires me to surrender my pride, and I take my offering off the altar.
There are probably thousands of excuses I’ve had as I took my offering off the altar, only to be on my knees praying for God to set a fire down in my soul when Sunday came around again.
If our offering is being consumed on an altar, then there’s some flesh that has to die.
Romans 12:1 tells us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. It’s our reasonable service. Our lives are the offering on the altar.
Being a living sacrifice isn’t easy!
And, guess what? It’s not supposed to be.
Paul referred to the act of selflessness for the Kingdom of God as death. He said he dies daily. Jesus said if anyone would follow him, they would be carrying their own cross, not just chilling out on His. Death. Crucifixion… the battle between the flesh and the spirit is not something talked about in glowing terms. It’s gruesome and it can be painful. It’s a sacrifice, not like giving someone your last cookie is a sacrifice. It’s a sacrifice as in, flesh is burning and being consumed by fire.
With that reality in mind, it’s worth noting that nobody accidentally finds themselves on the altar. Our very instinct of self-preservation compels us to take our lives off the altar. But as living sacrifices, we have to make the choice to keep that offering there, regardless of what it means for our lives, dreams, and hopes.
When I overcome the flesh and leave it on the altar, my spirit finds new levels of strength to become and do things in the Kingdom of God. When my offering is on the altar, there’s nothing to hard, too inconvenient, or too “below me” to do for God; He is truly at the center of everything I do.
When my offering is on the altar, the fruits of the spirit of evident in my life because my flesh is crucified. (Galatians 5:22-26)
If we really want to keep the fire burning, we have to make a conscious effort to not let distractions of life or the will of our flesh cause us to take our offering off the altar.
If we daily offer our lives to God, there’s nothing that can put out the holy fire that will consume us.
My prayer is that the fire on my altar will never burn out because my offering is always on the altar.