Vital Signs: Five Ways To Assess Your Spiritual Health (Part 2)

In this series, we’re taking a look at five ways to see how you’re ‘really doing’ in your walk with God from Malachi 1.  You can see the first post here.

  • 2. Do you want to do Christianity your way?

“Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?’  You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect. When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong?”  (verses 7-8)

If you’re unfamiliar with the Old Testament, this may need a little explaining.  As part of their worship, Israel was supposed to offer animal sacrifices.  Through these sacrifices, God was teaching them some important truths: that he was perfect, they were flawed, and, that the appropriate penalty for not responding to God’s love was death.  Kindly, though, in the sacrificial system God allowed the animal to die in the worshipper’s place. (This also provided a vivid picture of what Jesus, the ‘lamb of God’, would one day do on the cross).

With that background in place, let’s get back to our main point.  The Israelites were supposed to offer some of their best animals for their sacrifices – ones without defects – because God is ‘a great King’ (verse 14).  However, they were bringing him their leftovers – diseased, blind, and lame animals they couldn’t otherwise sell.

This is where the application gets interesting for us.  We don’t offer sacrifices anymore because Jesus did that, once and for all, on the cross.  However, we’re supposed to give him our very best in all that we do (see Rom. 12:1-2Col. 3:23).

If I look at my life, I’ve got to be honest: so many times I give God my leftovers.  Waiting to pray until the end of the day, when I barely have any energy.  Staying up late the night before worship and finding myself zombie-like in the pew.  Giving my money grudgingly, wishing I could spend it on other things.  Letting my work dominate my life to the exclusion of other things – and people – he’s called me to.  And just generally living as though he were an addition to my life rather than the center.

How about you?  Where do you find yourself giving God the leftovers?  The good news is that God is gracious.  If you’ve put your trust in Jesus, through his life and death, Jesus put you first and now God accepts you as if you had never sinned.  (Let that sink in).  Helping us get over ourselves and put him in his rightful is nothing compared to that!

Why not take a moment right now and ask him for the help he’s ready to give?  ‘But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from [= give us power to overcome] all wickedness.’  (1 John 1:9)

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