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Preaching to the Choir

Do you ever think about the worship song lyrics we sing? I’m not talking about the lyrics to Good, Good Father or Way Maker. I’m referencing songs like Refiner by Maverick City. Here are a few lines in case you are not familiar with the lyrics.

If the altar's where you meet us

Take me there, take me there

What you need is just an offering

It's right here, my life is here

And I'll be a living sacrifice for you

You're a fire

The refiner

I wanna be consumed

I wanna be tried by fire


You take whatever you desire

Lord, here's my life

Beautiful, right? Meeting God at the altar. One line references being a living sacrifice, pulled from Romans 12. The last line is what gets me. “You take whatever you desire, Lord, here's my life.” Wow. That is quite a statement. When we sing that we are acknowledging that everything we have is already God’s possession that he is entrusting to us. He is trusting us to be good stewards of His possessions. That idea alone should be enough to make you think twice before singing these lyrics aloud with your congregation, but there is another piece to this dangerous statement. Asking God to take whatever He desires. I have never heard anything more bold. When we think about God taking whatever He desires, we imagine Him taking things that are of little importance to us. For example, I might be thinking about God taking away my second vehicle or closing the door to my family and I being able to buy a home. Those are things that I can part with, with ease.

What if God asked you to give up your financial security? Or your family? What if He actually asked you to give Him your life? Your literal life. Not just your “life” as a faraway spiritual idea that you can’t even imagine. What if He asked you to drop everything you know and follow Him?

That’s what Jesus did with his disciples. He meets them and immediately asks them to give up everything they know in order to follow Him. I am not sure we meditate on that fact enough. Jesus reveals himself to them and they drop their entire lives in order to do His will. Can you imagine if Jesus asked you to give up everything in order to follow Him? Wait, He already did. He said that we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23).

Living life with Christ without sacrifice is not what God promised.

Let me type that again.

Living life with Christ without sacrifice is not what God promised.

Or called us to.

He does not promise us an easy life.

He does not promise us a life without pain.

He does not promise us a life without loss.

He does not promise us wealth.

He does not promise us health.

He does not promise us that every day will be a Friday.

He promises that he will never leave us nor forsake us. He promises that we will never have to face the inevitable hardships of this life alone. (Joshua 1:9)

He promises to love us no matter what. (Romans 8:38-39)

He promises to strengthen us and help us. (Isaiah 41:10)

He promises that He will comfort us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Most relevant to me, He promises to bring good out of suffering. (Galatians 6:9 & Psalm 126:5)

I imagine most of us aren’t even thinking about anything at all while singing lyrics to our favorite worship songs. This might be even more treacherous. You might be wondering why it matters what you sing in worship on a Sunday morning. This could be due to the fact that we are so flippant with our words on a daily basis. (James 3:10)

When we sing these songs, we are worshiping and proclaiming to God. That means that what comes out of our mouths has weight. It means something. It’s not just some nice words that flow well with the music and sound nice to our ears. When we sing songs of worship, we are bringing praise to the creator God. The almighty king of the universe. The one who holds the world in His hands. That is who we sing to. That is who we praise. He is worthy of our worship and everything we own. Shoot, we don’t even own anything because He gives everything to us out on loan!

Think about how different your town would look if people who walked with Christ were willing to be sacrificial. How many more people would we reach for the gospel if we were not so caught up in our possessions? If we were willing to part with our time? Now, I’m preaching to the choir on all counts here. I am not above reproach. I just have big ideas about what God can do if we allow ourselves to be used by Him and I think you should, too.

What areas do you see God challenging you in relation to sacrifice in your own life? How do we switch the culture from withholding from God to sacrificing all we have for Him? Let me know in the comments below.

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