Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! (Psalm 118:27b ESV)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)
The phrase, “complete commitment,” is redundant. Commitment must be complete or it is not true commitment.
The passage from Psalm 118 depicts the bringing of a sacrificial animal, binding the bull or the ram until it could be offered upon the altar. Christ willing laid down His life for us, but we are to respond with the same commitment – to be crucified with Him. It is our wills that must be bound and tied – the new man in us that is made by the Holy Spirit must daily bind the old man in us, the vestige of sin, and bind him with cords until he is no more. Matthew Henry wrote:
The sacrifice we are to offer to God, in gratitude for redeeming love, is ourselves, not to be slain upon the altar, but living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1), to be bound to the altar, spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, in which our hearts must be fixed and engaged, as the sacrifice was bound with cords to the horns of the altar, not to start back.
No doubt the world will seek to discourage us. It will call us fanatics, or that our devotion is too extreme. Oswald Chambers wrote well on this matter for November 24 as well. He said:
For instance, you came to a crisis when you made a stand for God and had the witness of the Spirit that all was right, but the weeks have gone by, and the years maybe, and you are slowly coming to the conclusion, “Well, after all, was I not a bit too pretentious? Was I not taking a stand a bit too high?” Your rational friends come and say – “Don’t be a fool, we knew when you talked about this spiritual awakening that it was a passing impulse, you can’t keep up the strain, God does not expect you to.” And you say – “Well, I suppose I was expecting too much.” It sounds humble to say it, but it means that reliance on God has gone and reliance on worldly opinion has come in. The danger is lest, no longer relying on God, you ignore the lifting up of your eyes to Him. Only when God brings you to a sudden halt, will you realise how you have been losing out. Whenever there is a leakage, remedy it immediately. Recognize that something has been coming between you and God, and get it readjusted at once.
That is not to say that we cannot imagine ourselves into some type of spiritual fervor – one that is man made or, worse, demonically inspired. We are taught to test the spirits for not every spirit is of God (1 John 4:1-6). The chief differences are, according to Jonathan Edwards as he applied 1 John 4:1-6:
First, God is at work when a person’s esteem for the true Jesus is raised. Secondly, God is at work when Satan’s kingdom is attacked. Thirdly, God is at work when the people come to love the Scripture more. Fourthly, God is at work when men are led away from falsehood into truth. Fifthly, God is at work when there is an increase in love for God and for man.
In other words, a person is changed from selfishness to godliness, from talkativeness and self-centeredness to a distinct Christ-focus. True revival bears the marks of genuine love, joy, peace, conviction of sin, assurance of grace, compassion for others, increased patience with others, and a love for God’s Word.
Devotion, if it is genuine, need not be demonstrative nor emotional. It must be deep and Christ centered. All genuine devotion is inspired by the Holy Spirit.