Burning Bright – Part 4, Sacrifice

We renew our minds through surrender, prayer and praise, not through striving or shining through excellent performances. This is Paul’s message in Romans 12:1-2. And the same point is made in Psalms 51:16-19 that was used to conclude the previous post about ‘living’.

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

Psalms 51:16-19

While burning bright sounds wonderful, the truth is burn out is real and relevant. Our current mental health crisis is overwhelming as so many turn to things of this world to cope. As we struggle, we do and fix and work harder or we ignore reality and stick to the superficial or we give up and believe the lies.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve done all of the above and pass no judgment are all those facing burn out and fighting very real and significant mental battles. If you’re struggling, PLEASE get help now. DO NOT tackle this on your own! Check out my friend Lori’s post about her recent story of having an overwhelmed mind.

Confession is the first step to freedom. And the first part of sacrifice.

I John gives us some insight into this truth. Below is I John 1:9 in The Passion Translation as well as the notes included in the Bible app.

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them***, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

*** Confession of sin is the way to find restoration and unbroken fellowship with God. It cleanses the conscience and removes every obstacle from communion with Christ. Confession does not gain God’s acceptance, for that was won for us forever by the sacrifice of Christ. It is on the basis of being His dearly loved children that we restore intimacy with God through our tenderhearted confession before Him. God will always be faithful to restore our first-love passion for Him. There is no need to confess the same sins over and over, for that is ignoring the blood of Jesus that cleanses us. All of our sins were paid for on the cross, and we can do nothing to remove them, but confession acknowledges God’s faithfulness to restore our intimacy with Him. Our Father and our forgiving Redeemer fill the heavens with grace toward every believer, even when we sin.

Feel free to read that a few times to let it soak in before going on . . . so so rich and powerful.

Jesus’s sacrifice is recorded throughout the New Testament. So what does this have to do with all the sacrifices in the Old Testament, especially all the details listed out in Leviticus?

Glad you asked! I have been wondering the same thing! 🙂 So I went to my two favorite sources – The Bible Project Guys and The Bible Recap with Tara-Leigh Cobble.

The Bible Project explains the Old Testament sacrifices this way:

When reading through Leviticus with The Bible Recap, this clear point was made:

‘Sacrifices cost you, serve as a substitute, and make us draw near to God.’

Tara-Leigh Cobble

So sacrifices are designed to draw us near through confession, repentance, and gratitude. We come before the Lord from a place of humility and brokenness, acknowledging our dependence on Him. We seek Him to receive forgiveness and grace and truth. We ask for help and guidance. The five types of sacrifices laid out in Leviticus were all for these purposes.

The main difference is the ‘serve as a substitute’ that The Bible Recap mentioned no longer applies because of Jesus! He gave His life as the Ultimate Sacrifice and substitute! Which allows us to be rather ‘living sacrifices’ as we go about each day praying and praising.

My soul smiled when I realized through scripture there are references to making sacrifices morning and night as well as praying, praising, and meditating on His word day and night. What if our prayer times, devotional time, praises are our daily sacrifices? The components of all are ultimately the same.

When we feel the feelings, confess our sins, focus on His truth, draw near humbly in our brokenness through prayers and praises, seeking to obey His word, we are living sacrifices.

However, the enemy draws us away from Him. The lies of the world tell us to pursue other things to find fulfillment and hope. For example, I turn towards my physical nature. When I feel guilt or shame, my instinct is to exercise and sweat as a release. Or to fast or eat only certain things. Both can be seen as control or comfort in an attempt to not only detox my body but cleanse my soul. But only our Lord can do that. He is my strength and my salvation! Not my own works! He sanctifies and purifies!

We’ll talk more about the lies of the world next post. For now, read through the commands found in the scriptures below about living each day as sacrifices.

Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord , both the morning and evening sacrifices.

Ezra 3:3

Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams
that bears its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 1:2-3

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Psalm 141:2

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