THE ALTAR OF GOD BREAKS OFF THE CONTEMPT OF FAMILIARITY- PT 2
Last week we talked about how familiarity brings about contempt towards God in our lives. This week I want too talk about how it breeds contempt towards other people. Let's look again at the word contempt first.
Contempt: the feeling that a person or thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving of scorn; disregard for something that should be taken into account.
All contempt involves a level of pride, dishonor and inconsideration towards other people, as you consider yourself more worthy. How can we honor what or who we do not recognize as valuable? How can we see the true beauty of another without first taking stock in the fact that they are made in the image God.
THE ALTAR OF GOD
Taking time to remember that all mankind was made in the image of God should cause us to place value on them. You and everyone else has a part of God woven in them, as each of the Godhead played a part in your existence.."Let us make mankind in OUR IMAGE AND IN OUR LIKENESS."
No two created beings are the same. Selah....we may be like others but we are not the same. Recognizing this helps us view people as original masterpieces of God, thus placing a higher value on them. This is why we must visit the altar of God often. It is the border between heaven and earth where we lay down our agendas, thoughts, desires and plans and await to hear God's response to all these things. God meets us at the altar and reveals truth about others, so we view them correctly. God meets us at the altar of surrender so we can remember to give ourselves away in service to him. Jesus calls us daily to the altar so we can get his heart, and his eyes for others in and around us. At the altar, God will call you to love people that are unlovable and he will call you to be in relationship with others who are nothing like you. Familiarity breeds contempt in you towards people who are different. Familiarity says, be with others just like you, from the same background, neighborhood, race, ethnicity or culture but the altar will have you bridging the gap for the will of God and spiritual transformation. Our views and opinions about God and other people have been shaped by our families and cultures more than we realize and at the altar a whole new place of reshaping takes place. Our spiritual re-formation can only begin at the altar of God.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
WHAT IS AN ALTAR?
For the Christian believer, the altar is a place to meet with God. It is also viewed in scripture as a place where sacrifices were made to God in repentance and worship. It means many things to many other religions as well, but for Christians it is a sacred place to meet with our God. It is my personal belief that we should all have altars in our homes. If not, we will only visit the altar when the pastor gives the invitation at church.
AT THE ALTAR
At the altar we realize we are not made to fit in but stand out. It's the place we lay our burdens down but also pick up our cross. At the altar we are invited into the thoughts of the Godhead, as they mutually indwell one another. By the Spirit of God in us, indwelling us, we are now able to think like and with them, as we come to the altar.
At the altar, we get altered. We learn we are not meant to change the world but incarnate Christ in the world. The world will collapse as the Kingdom of God is advanced.
At the altar we understand that we must present an alternative to the culture around us, not join in it. At the altar we recognize the authority of God over us as he is leader and commander of our souls and destiny. At the altar we humble ourselves before him in adoration and worship, submitting all to him. We submit our thoughts, our hearts, our plans and our whole lives.
When we forsake the altar we re-assume ownership. Our lives are not our own, as there was a great exchange at the cross and altar of God.
AT THE ALTAR YOU GIVE YOURSELF AWAY
Everyday we should be giving ourselves away in service to others, as followers of Jesus. We do this by honoring them and valuing who they are in the earth. We should give ourselves away as a testimony of his life and power working in us. I know we aren't to be in relationship with everyone, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't place a value on the person's life and existence, and at the altar we receive the love of God for those different than us. I believe as we view people from this perspective we can respect and love people even when we disagree.
Philippians 2:1-2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
As you build your personal altar and meeting place with the Lord this week, I encourage you to listen to this song, as a reminder to give yourself away.
With much love,