Willing to sacrifice!
Our willingness to sacrifice everything is the sacrifice that God desires most.
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city.
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Willing to sacrifice!
Paul is waiting for Silas and Timothy to arrive from Berea. It appears from the text that Paul is alone while he is waiting for them to join him in Athens. Even though Paul is alone he stays busy with the work that the Holy Spirit has given him. As he looks around Athens he sees that there are idols everywhere in the city. The Athenians had idols to deal with every aspect of their lives. This greatly troubled Paul. Paul knew that there was great emptiness and futility in the worship of idols.
Idol worship in its most innocent state is worshipping something that is inanimate and totally without life or power. In effect it is giving your power to something that is powerless. Not only are idols powerless but they incapable of receiving or utilizing the power that their worshippers give to them. At the worst, idol worship is actually the worship of Satan and his demons.
We don’t hear much about idol worship in the United States because to us idol worship is making sacrifices and bowing before an image or statue of something or someone. There is a lot more idol worship going on around you than you think there is. You don’t notice it because it is being done in a way that is different than you think of as idol worship. You might even be guilty of it yourself.
Anything or anyone that we place above Jesus is idol worship. It doesn’t matter what or who it is; if it or they hold a place in your life that is greater than Jesus, it is an idol. One of the ways that you can tell if something is an idol in your life is whether or not you would sacrifice it to Jesus. If you can’t lay it down on the altar for Jesus, then there is a good chance that it is an idol in your life.
This isn’t just things; it also applies to positions, careers, fame, and prestige. It applies to all of your relationships, including your most intimate relationships. You might be willing to sacrifice your relationship with your in-laws, but would you be willing to sacrifice your relationship with your children. Could you, like Abraham, lay your child on the altar for Jesus? It is God’s desire that we would have nothing in our lives that we would not lay on the altar.
We need to understand that just because we would be willing to do something doesn’t mean that the Father is going to make us do it. Just because I would be willing to lay my wife on the altar for Jesus doesn’t mean that the Father is going to ask me to do it. In fact, I believe that it is our willingness to sacrifice everything is the sacrifice that God desires most. True worship of God will require some amount of real sacrifice and a willingness to sacrifice everything. Jesus, teach us to hold nothing back from You.
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