For the last couple of weeks we have been talking about consecration — do we fully understand what the word means? The Student Bible Dictionary defines “consecration” as “Devote, separate, set aside for worship or service to God. A person or a thing can be consecrated.” 1 In both the Old Testament and the New Testament this concept of consecration is often translated as sanctify, or to make holy. 2
Charles Spurgeon says in his sermon, Consecration to God: “For a man to be thoroughly sanctified to the Master’s service, he must first realize the almightiness and all-sufficiency and glory of God. True holiness is a walking before God. The saint feels that he must not, dare not, transgress, because he is before the very face of God.”3
Andrew Murray described consecration in this way: “If God gives all and I receive all, then…..I must give all back again, What a privilege that for the sake of having me in loving, grateful intercourse with Him, and giving me the happiness of pleasing and serving Him, the Everlasting God should say, “Come now, and bring Me back all that I give.””4
As the hymn that Frances Havergal called her Consecration Hymn lays out, consecration is merely and in it’s most basic form a giving back to God of what He already gave to us. He blessed us with feet — we determine to use them for His glory. He gave us a voice; let’s sing only for Him. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:20 that “ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” As Christians we should do this with our whole life, always seeking out ways to honour God. Consecration isn’t just a mere attempt to not sin, or to make our sin appear to be less than others. We can’t just sit around and applaud ourselves for being less sinful than our neighbors — or more holy than them. We must strive to make everything we do an act of consecration to God.
As I once read somewhere, anyone can wipe a dish dry. Anyone can iron a shirt. Anyone can take out the trash for the umpteenth time. But someone who is living a life consecrated to Christ will be able to do this with joy in their hearts, a smile in their voice, and gentle, tender hands. If we are just doing it “just because,” or “because Mom told me to,” than we are apt to do it with impatience, with words of complaint, with a heart of hatred towards the task at hand.
“The consecration of earthly vessels, then, is a picture of the complete consecration of the heart now; for we are to be fully the Lord’s for all time, not giving a portion of our time and affection to the world and sin, and to the following of selfish purposes. Every act of life, every thought of the heart, every affection of the soul, all for God and done in the glory of God.”5 This author understood well that even our hearts, minds, time, and thoughts must be consecrated for Christ’s use. Does this mean that we can never do anything recreational? Never do anything entertaining? Never sing anything but hymns, or read anything but theology? Absolutely not, by any stretch of the imagination! Rather, that all we do is to be done to the glory of God. I agree with the author who wrote: “…our religion is too often rendered useless by being dissevered from our week-day business and our recreations.”6
To me, this means I need to be able to have a good attitude if a younger sibling comes in for help and interrupts me while I am reading. Putting down handwork when a meal needs cooking or a baby needs changing. Each of us should strive to bring Christ into every area of our lives — whether we are taking out the trash, or talking with friends at church. At the movie theater, or have our noses buried in a book. It’s not enough for us to simply know about the doctrine of Christ — we must apply it to our lives and our hearts.
John Flavel writes: “O that all who profess faith in Christ, could subscribe cordially to that profession, Rom. 14:8. “None of us liveth to himself, and no man dies to himself; but whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord; so then whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” This is to be a Christian indeed. What is a Christian, but an holy dedicated thing to the Lord? And what greater evidence can there be, that Christ set himself apart for you, than your setting yourselves apart for him?”7
So the question is, how can we be “an holy dedicated thing to the Lord” today? I there anything I need to give up? Is there anything I need to change in my habits? Are there any attitudes I need to change?
Speaking from personal knowledge, this isn’t easy. I am still learning and struggling with many of these concepts. Still learning to have a good attitude when I am elbows-deep in a sink of dirty dishes and there are more piled up, and a little brother needs help with his math. When I am trying to fold a massive load of laundry and the baby needs a clean diaper. Speaking as a young adult, I think it is a process of a lifetime to continually consecrate your days to Christ. But I also think it becomes a habit, something you do because you would never dream of not doing it.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:” Shouldn’t this be the whole goal of our lives? To be, in a world filled with darkness, a vessel of light to others? To live a life so that others see your consecration to the Most High God?
O Lord of Heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all thing on earth or in heaven.8
– AW Tozer –
1 The Student Bible Dictionary by Karen Dockery, Johnny Godwin, and Phyllis Godwin
2 The Student Bible Dictionary by Karen Dockery, Johnny Godwin, and Phyllis Godwin
3 Charles Spurgeon’s sermon Consecration to God — http://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/spurgeon/consecration_to_god.htm
4 The Deeper Christian Life by Andrew Murray
5 Beautiful Girlhood by M. Hale; revised by Karen Andreola
6 In My Father’s House by Tamara and Naomi Valine
7 The Fountain of Life Opened Up by John Flavel