For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Being on the Altar--What it Really Means

"Being on the altar" means I choose to sacrifice my rights (like I have any), my opinions, my will, my dreams, my expectations...anything that I hold onto, think, believe, I can become more like Him. I hate this process less and less because I see the fruits of it, but I won't paint Bull Nettle and call it a daisy. This is hard stuff at times. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I grieve. Sometimes I pray honestly, "I hate this. I HATE THIS! BUT, don't let me off this altar until we are done." That is the honest description of being on the altar.

Paul talks about it in Romans 7.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Now, I've heard a lot of folks say this means when Paul has died and entered heaven, he will be delivered. Well, yeah, but this is also for here and now. Christ didn't just come so we could live the abundant life after we are dead. Kind of weird when you write that out, huh? Jesus came so we can have abundant life in Him--become like Him since He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)--now. And as much as we may hate the reality, the way to abundant life in Christ in dying to ourselves, and we do that one the altar.

Yesterday I posted about dying to self, and in Pam's comment, she said, "When you die to will be more alive than you ever thought possible!!!" She is so completely right! But it isn't easy. Actually, I don't think you can die to yourself until you spend time on the altar.

But again, I am using theological words that are so wondrously Christian-ese, and that really doesn't help when you are trying to live it. So what does being on the altar in real life look like?

I have to tell you, as I write this, I am trying so hard to think of vague examples, and the Lord keeps saying, "Tell them what your living right now," and I don't want to. I don't want to talk about anything going on in my world right now. I don't want to talk about feeling overwhelmed with the demands on my time. I don't want to talk about the new and exciting emotions a recent situation dredged up. I don't want to talk about the emotions of any of it actually. Like AT ALL. The truth is I like my walls. I like not being vulnerable. I like my being on my side of the computer screen and you being on yours.

But, that isn't my strength as a writer. My strength isn't giving you head knowledge. My strength is writing from my heart, even when my heart feels...incredibly fragile. Even when I'm afraid someone will try to fix something and say something hurtful or someone will tell me how I need to be..."muchier".

So I have two options. I can either dig in my heels and refuse to lower the walls, or I can crawl on the altar, probably have a good cry, and let God use me as He wants because that is what the altar does.

The altar is where the offering that is really nothing special becomes the open door for God to invade earth.

It is the place where we face our deepest fears and place our deepest desires knowing the very thing we put on the altar may become only ash before our very eyes, where we choose to become ash if that is what glorifies God.

You see what we fear more than anything is to be nothing. What we fear is to be inconsequential, and when God sacrifices our comfort, our dreams, our desires to accomplish something in someone else' life or in a family legacy or in a company or a country, we can feel very inconsequential because why are they more important than we are? Jesus was sacrificed that way. And I don't think any of us would call Jesus inconsequential. I think we would call Him invaluable.

The truth is when we allow God to make us nothing to ourselves, we become invaluable to Him.

And I write that to you as someone who told God today that being on the altar is hard, and I am weary. It is exhausting, and it hurts, but it also beautiful and amazing. The intimacy with God is amazing, and seeing Him work in lives because you make yourself available is humbling in the most beautiful of ways.

So when the heavy moments come that feel bigger than me, I pray simply that He would give me strength to stay on the altar. I pray for Him to tolerate my whining and screaming because I'm going to whine and scream. I do it less and less, but the thing about being broken unto the Lord is that He takes you to a place where you break and all you have to hold you up is Him. And, yes, there is some complaining that happens there. But if that place is met with faith in God's character, there is also rejoicing, beauty, and gratitude. There is an incredible feeling of privilege that He chose you to know Him as you do. As Pam said, when you die, you feel more alive than you could ever imagine. It's crazy, but true.

And remember, when you do crawl up on that altar, you are not alone. When it gets hard, reach out your hand. I'm probably right beside you. More than that, you will find Him right with you in ways you never imagined.

Praying for you...

May God be your shalom.

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