Since the beginning of man, man has used some kind of an altar, a structure upon which offerings are made.
On investigating the word, we find the origin of the word alter in Middle English is ‘alter and altar.‘ Interesting how both words are linked together and that ’alter’ is first before ’altar.’
‘Alter’ is first, so lets look at the word. This spelling means to ‘willingly change something.’ What is it we are to change before we to go to the ‘altar? What about us needs to be ‘altered’, changed?
Well how about we ‘surrender’ our judgments, since that is a meaning for the word. We can surrender our criticisms. Our fears. Our personal opinions. Our sins. Our sickness. Our angers, resentments and our complaints. Those are what we surrender.
Once we are sincerely ready to ‘alter’ our lives, we can then go to the ‘altar,’ of God.
The second ‘altar’ is a place for ‘sacrifices,’ and that means to ‘surrender.’ What are we to sacrifice? What are we to surrender?
Could it be we are to ‘surrender’ our judgments, criticisms, fears, lying, sins, sickness, pains, weakness, and angers? And could it be we are to surrender our fully all our hopes and dreams….and let God supply our hopes and dreams in his time and in his way. Those are what we can surrender. These are what we freely give up at the altar.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.