Joshua 3: 5-8
Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’
Joshua said to the priests, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.’ So they took it up and went ahead of them.
And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so that they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: “When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.”’
Romans 12: 1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
The Bible talks often about surrender and sacrifice to the Lord. That's really what it means to make Jesus Lord of your life. We offer our whole lives over to Him. We put Him in charge. We lay it all on the altar.
The altar in the Jewish temple was the place of sacrifice, of surrender, of laying everything down before God in worship. On different occasions we read that fire would come from heaven and consume the sacrifice laid out on the altar. For example:
"Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar." (Lev 9: 24)
"David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering." (1 Chron 21: 26)
Before fire fell from heaven, there was always an offering first placed on the altar. There was something valuable laid before the Lord in sacrifice.
Christians often pray and sing words such as, "Lord, let Your fire fall." We long for a visible demonstration of the power of God, a tangible manifestation of His presence. Yet, we need to ask ourselves: 'What have we placed on the altar?' If fire only falls on sacrifice, we can't expect to bring nothing and experience a move of God.
We have to place everything before Him: our fears, our future, our family, our failures, our finances - we surrender it all to Him. It all belongs to Him anyway, so we simply place everything before Him as an offering of worship. We make an active choice, a conscious decision, that we will give ourselves fully to Jesus and His mission in our world. We will hold nothing back. When we do that, we free ourselves from the drudgery of living passively, on the periphery or by proxy. We position ourselves to fully experience the God who is able to do more than all we can ask or imagine.
One year from now your life will only look different to the degree that you've been willing to lay it all on the altar in sacrifice and surrender. That's a life that God loves to ignite with fire from heaven.