“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey; we are spiritual beings on a human journey.” – Frank Burns, Pastor, South Shore Community Church
The history of Hanukkah is an amazing story of devotion to God by His people in the midst of apostasy and oppression (see Part I). The Messianic connection (see Part II) shows God’s faithfulness to His people and their rejection of Him in much the same way He was rejected during the Maccabean Revolt. We could stop with the history and theology that have been discussed in this series, but I would be remiss if I did not conclude with a practical application for the Hanukkah season. That being said, here are 5 spiritual practices to dedicate yourself to God for the first time, or to re-dedicate yourself to Him if you’ve been away for a little while.
The Apostle Paul wrote that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:9) and we were all created as spiritual beings of worship. While we were made to worship God the Father, we live in a society of self-gratification where we seek our own good and “look out for #1”. The things we give our time, energy, thoughts, and money to are often the things we worship the most. They may not be idols of wood, metal, or stone as in ancient times but the spirit of those idols remains today; idols of wealth, success, performance, pride and many others can hold us back from a life that is transformed by the freedom that God wants us to live in. This false worship is like the abominable worship in the temple during the reign of Antiochus.
Rather than focusing on ourselves, we should humbly remember that God alone is to be worshipped and we are but mere men and women. Practice this by not talking too much about yourself, quietly serving others without trying to be noticed or expecting compensation, and if needed, taking a break from social media and other sites that focus primarily on making the user the center of attention. Humility is a tough nut to crack; it will likely be an ongoing process for your entire life but it begins by repenting of sin and destroying the idols we serve.
Once we’ve destroyed our idols it is vital to dedicate ourselves to God. Think of it as a battle where the enemy is defeated and forced to retreat. Once the territory has been taken, it is important to secure it or else the enemy will return with greater strength to counter-attack. Just as the Maccabees dedicated the temple to God after driving out the corrupted priesthood we dedicate our bodily temples to God with true worship: striving for purity, talking to God, listening to the Holy Spirit within us, learning from the Scriptures, and humbly serving as we bring His love to others.
I sincerely hope that this series has been of benefit to you and your loved ones. We pray for revival and rededication on this last day of Hanukkah as we prepare to celebrate first coming of our Savior tomorrow. Shabbat shalom to you all.