Worship what you have burned, and burn what you have worshiped! (What the missionary Remigius reportedly said before baptizing Clovis, the pagan king of the Franks in 496 AD)
Conversion to Christ can be costly. The first followers of Jesus lost family and community ties, including the inheritance of businesses and estates.
The Acts of the Apostles tells of the financial sacrifice made by Ephesian magicians who converted to faith in Christ,
And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. (19:19 ESV)
But faith isn’t for sale. The Bible warns again and again about trying to “buy off God” with ritual offerings,
I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer. But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens. For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats? Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High… Why bother reciting my decrees and pretending to obey my covenant? For you refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash. When you see thieves, you approve of them, and you spend your time with adulterers. Your mouth is filled with wickedness, and your tongue is full of lies. You sit around and slander your brother—your own mother’s son… Repent, all of you who forget me, or I will tear you apart, and no one will help you. (from Psalm 50 NLT)
Conversion isn’t just for non-Christians. Those of us who profess faith in Christ are in a constant process of conversion. There are aspects of our lives we try to hold back from Him, and we try to justify this by pointing to other “sacrifices” we’ve offered. Hey, I went to church last Sunday when I didn’t feel like it, so a little porn on Tuesday is no big.
We might not have a house full of pagan idols, fetish objects or Satanic scrolls. But we all have stuff that needs to be thrown on the fire. Our lives have plenty of objects of worship (worth-ship) that we over-value while under-valuing Jesus, the One who bought us with his own blood.
What needs to burn? Unconverted aspects of our lives can take many forms, including but not limited to,
The reason that Jesus’ first disciples, King Clovis, the Ephesian magicians and so many others throughout history were able to “burn” what used to matter most to them was that they found greater value in Christ’s love for them. They found a new fire in the one who died on the cross to take away their sin and rose from the grave to give them new life,
They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32 NASB)
So light ’em up…