Crawling Off the Altar {Team Journal}

Today’s team journal was written by our Finance Director, Kaitlyn Carl. 

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
— Romans 12:1

I had always considered myself a pretty selfless person. In high school and college, I remember largely putting the needs of others before my own, sometimes even to my detriment. I even thought highly of myself for thinking so little of myself. Funny how sin can twist even a seemingly right action and mindset and turn it into ugly, life-sucking pride.

Then, I got married. And, oh, how my selfish nature started to truly reveal itself. Now, three kids later, I often feel that I don’t have a self-less bone in my body. Often, I would rather lay in bed than get up and tend to the crying baby; I would rather sit and read a book than play tea party for the 400th time; I would rather order takeout than spend time to make dinner. And the list goes on and on.

“The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar.”
- D.L. Moody

In many ways, I’ve fallen prey to the warning from the very next verse in Romans 12:2a: “Do not be conformed to this world…” I’ve bought into the lie that my life is about me. But it’s just that: a lie. As a believer, I’m called to reflect my Savior, and Jesus did not come to this world as a tiny baby because He was thinking about Himself. Paul reminds us in Philippians that “...though He was in the form of God, [He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but He emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phi. 2:6-8). And why did Jesus die this death on a cross? It certainly wasn’t for Himself. It was for me and for you. So, how can I sit here and live a single second of my life for myself?

If Jesus willingly emptied Himself and humbled Himself for my sake, how much more should I empty myself and humble myself for the sake of my Lord? Jesus presented His body as a real sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12); I’m called to present my body as a living sacrifice. To do that, I’ve got to tear down the idol of “me.” And that is hard and painful. I’ve been building up this idol my whole life, and it’s strong, large, and well-established. It’s like the house of bricks in the story of The Three Little Pigs -- it’s going to take a lot more than just huffing and puffing to blow this idol down.

Praise God that He is the foreman of this demolition project! He is stronger, bigger, and more established than my self-made idol because He is the One who is not made but always was and is (Psalm 90:2). And God’s orders’ hold more magnitude than that of the Big Bad Wolf, for by the power of His words and His breath He created the world and gave life to Adam (Genesis 1:1-2:7).

But I, I have to let Him work. I have to willingly allow His chisel to chip away at the hard edges of my heart. I have to open myself to be confronted with (and then address) my sins, to give up what I want and embrace what He requires and desires for my life. I have to stop living for the glory of “me” and start living for the glory of God. I know I won’t do it perfectly; I’ll have to continually be drawn back to this place of sacrifice. But you know what? God knows that. And that’s why He sent Jesus. Because He didn’t crawl off of His sacrificial table. And because He didn’t, I can keep crawling back onto mine.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
-Romans 11:36

Kaitlyn Carl wants to live in a world where kids always sleep in on the weekends and houses clean themselves. When she's not volunteering in some sort of ministry capacity or taking care of her family, you can find her reading or sleeping.

Her favorite Scripture at the moment is Romans 8:35, 37-39, ESV: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”