Have you been altered at the altar? Has God changed you there—really changed you in the hidden places?
Every rightly built house of God has a change table. Most often it’s called an altar. God fixes us up there. That altar can look quite different depending on which church tradition you follow. But the purpose for the altar is always the same. It is the place where we are cleaned up. Sin is washed away.
What parent throws out their infant on the first occasion when they soil their diapers? Every parent knows that baby messes come with the baby. Changing diapers quickly becomes a part of the family routine.
As a father of two infant sons, I had ample opportunity to practise my diaper changing skills. I would lay the baby on the change table and in a minute or two everything was fixed up—put to right—on that change table.
God has a change table for us. He is intimate with us there. The outward trappings of righteousness are stripped away. He sees us completely. You see there is no place for human pride at the altar of God. Our heavenly Father gently lays us down and does his work on us. There is nothing we can hide. Why would we want to? Let’s deal with all of it.
Cleanse me should be our only cry.
I am reminded of what happened at the dedication of the first temple. Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God. (2 Chronicles 5:13-14 NIV).
But isn’t the altar just for babies? LORD, haven’t I grown and matured since my first trip to your altar? I would like to think so. I’m not tripped up by the same things anymore. Surely, I don’t have to humble myself yet again!
If we have outgrown the altar, then we have outgrown God. And that’s preposterous!
The LORD God Almighty has not lost any of his awesome power or majesty, simply because we have grown older and supposedly wiser. We are still in need of His correction, His discipline, His mercy and His love. I still need to get onto God’s change table on a regular basis. Moral perfection keeps eluding me. The smugger I feel about my self-deluding, superior spirituality complex, the more I prove that I need to be altered on the altar.
I hear God whispering “Lay down. Lay it all down. I want to change you.”
Response: Lord Jesus, forgive me. Change me. I am not the person I want to be. I need your help to change. Thank you, Holy Spirit for working on me from the inside out. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you been altered at the altar? Have you outgrown the altar?