How are you doing? I’m wondering because the coast to coast unrest happening in our country is unprecedented. It’s really hard to know just what to think, feel, or do right now. Are you standing strong or feeling shaken? Are you wondering what this has to do with a consecrated life?
These times will likely be read about in history books many years from now if the Lord allows. I imagine this is what the Christians living through Nero’s and Hitler’s time felt like. The people that lived through the Spanish flu or the bubonic plague likely were at a loss on how to handle the disease, too.
While everything around us seems hopeless and our way of life threatened, we can have hope. We must remember that God is sovereign and in control of everything. Nothing escapes His plans and He uses the bad, even the evil, for His purposes. When we feel shaken, we need to cling to that truth. Nothing is wasted with God. No matter how bad things become, there is always a purpose. He created the universe in which we live and if you know the Lord, He knows the plans He has for you. He will work out all the hard for your good. He will not leave you or forsake you and even knows the number of hairs on your head. He loves His own so much, knows us intimately, and wants the best for us.
However, He is a jealous God and he is holy, meaning he cannot be present with evil. If you’ve ever read through the Old Testament it becomes very clear that while He is loving and patient He also demands full devotion from His people. He will not share the stage with any idols we have. Over and over the Israelite people fell into idolatry and adopted the pagan cultures around them. God would send prophets and call for repentance. Sometimes the people would repent but more often than not they would ridicule the prophets and continue on in their evil lifestyles.
Our holy God cannot tolerate evil. Eventually, He would need to discipline His beloved people with something uncomfortable. It took something drastic, like captivity, to wake them up to their sin and show them how far they had back-slid. Even then, in the middle of the mess, there are promises for us to cling to. He promises to heal the land of His people if they humble themselves before HIm and repent. He is known for being slow to anger.
What is the Biblical definition for consecration?
Sprinkled throughout the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is the word consecrated. It means full devotion. It’s the kind of devotion that sets you apart and makes you “sold out” to the Lord.
As believers we are called to consecration. Biblically this means living a life surrendered to the Lord, accepting His will for us and seeking that will each day. It is a devotion that causes us to lay down our agendas to pick up the Lord’s. Consider the Old Testament again. When the people would finally discover the Scriptures, they would recommit themselves to following God’s law. For them it meant reinstating the sacrifices and cleansing the temple from pagan items and influence.
For us as New Testament believers it means returning to a life surrendered to God. We have been made right before the Lord at the point of salvation so there are no “works” in consecration. But being consecrated to the Lord means being set apart for His purposes and choosing to live a holy life that honors and brings glory to the Lord.
As God opened my eyes to understand consecration, I began to see just how encompassing and complete this is in the life of a Christian. This understanding also blatantly exposed the culture we live in.
We are called to be set apart. (2 Timothy 2:20-22)
Our lives should be consecrated to the Lord. (Romans 12:1-2)
We are new creations in Christ. The old has gone and the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
There is no place for compromise in the life of the believer. Christ is either King of it all or he’s not. Even today we must choose whom we will serve. In the days in which we are living, it is crucial that we are consecrated, fully committed and devoted, to the One who died to redeem us. We are out of time. There is no time to be lukewarm Christians.
As I began to study consecration, I was amazed as I saw a pattern unfold. Consecration followed repentance. It came after the Lord revealed the sin of the Israelite people to them and they got right with the Lord.
Consecration is the response of the repentant heart.
Just as a child obeys it’s parent because it wants to please it’s mom and dad, so does the repentant Christian consecrate him or herself to the Lord because of what God did for them. This is how the holy purpose of fear plays out practically.
Consider what has happened in our culture over the past few years and the rapid moral decline we have witnessed. It parallels what we have seen happen in the Old Testament. The church has let the culture creep in to the point that there’s not that much difference between the average Christian and the world. It’s no wonder that there’s so much dissension, separation and heartache.
We have chosen the fake over the real. We have settled for cubic zirconia and rejected the diamond. Just like the ancient Israelites, we have allowed our culture to influence us and have lost our devotion to the Lord. On a whole, as a body of believers, we are no longer consecrated. I’m amazed at how many Christians are pro-choice, pro-communism/Marxist, racist, and comfortable with all the parts of the LGBTQ movement. Those philosophies are all in such stark contrast with God’s word and yet it seems easier to just go along with the culture. That’s exactly the path the Israelites followed.
Just to be clear, there’s absolutely no room for hate or prejudice in the life of a Christian walking closely with the Lord. I am in no way attacking those who believe differently than I do. Christians are not to condemn and then ostracize or abuse those who accept and support the culture or are actively living in sin. That behavior is just as sinful! But we are obligated to measure everything against God’s Word and live accordingly.
Jesus himself modeled for us the way to handle it. When the Pharisees dragged the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, they expected Him to condemn and punish her. The law demanded her death, yet Jesus turned it around on them. He didn’t condemn her, rather he called sin for what it was. He said anyone without sin could throw the first stone. It didn’t matter what sin the Pharisees had done. Any sin disqualified them from throwing the first stone. He alone was able to throw the stones to appease the law yet he forgave her. He told her to go and sin now more.
Jesus didn’t accept her actions. He didn’t dismiss or ignore them. He forgave her and set her on the path to godliness. That is how we are to behave towards others whose actions are against scripture. We are to not condemn but rather come alongside and bring them to Jesus if the Spirit moves. Jesus can forgive their sins and set them on the right path. It’s just our job to search the scriptures, seek the Lord and life our lives pleasing to Him. The Christian who consecrated him or herself to Christ will be the Lord’s hands and feet.
I don’t know how bad things will get before there’s an awakening and a turn of events. God will right all these wrongs in His time. But in the meantime, it is critical that we go back to the Bible and consecrate ourselves to Him again.
We must take the path of consecration.
We must take a stand and live in a way that shows the world we are set apart. We must live in such a way that points people to Christ. Our words mean nothing at all if our lives don’t first tell of the truth. That is the only way to turn the tide of this chaos and destruction. We must return to the old paths, reject the world and all it offers, choose today whom we will serve, and then love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength.
We must follow the example of the Israelites. Repent, consecrate ourselves, and then cleanse our lives of the evil that has crept in. There is no judgement here. Every single person following Christ is susceptible to this creeping in. As is often the case, the slope is so gradual and the devil so crafty that we often don’t realize we have been sucked in and adopted some of a secular worldview.
Jesus modeled the consecrated life.
We can also look to Jesus for an example of what it means to be consecrated. Even from a child, he values time spent in the temple. He immersed himself in the things of the Lord. He sought time away from others to be alone with the Father. He also openly acknowledged that His mission was to do God’s will. It is important to us to do the same things.
If there’s any hope to suppress the evil that is running rampant in our country it will be to surrender ourselves to the Lord and repent from the evil ways our nation has accepted. As a part of the church we need to corporately repent, seek the Lord, and let him fight this for us. We may not have fallen for the culture’s beliefs and living sinfully, but we still need to take responsibility as the Lord leads. Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem as if he had been a part of its demise even though he hadn’t been. He lived at the end of the 70 years of captivity and yet if you read his prayers he takes responsibility on behalf of the nation. Over and over in the Old Testament we read story upon story of God delivering the Israelites who sought Him. The Israelites would prepare for battle and do what God instructed but usually God sent angels to fight or made the enemy turn on themselves.
Two examples of this are the Battle of Jericho and Gideon’s leadership. In the battle of Jericho, God instructed the people to march silently around the city 6 times. The 7th time around the city, they were to make alot of noise and then God knocked the walls down. When God appointed Gideon to lead the Isrealites into battle, he sent all but 300 men home. The remainder were commanded to surround the enemy camp with each one holding a pot covering a lantern. On Gideon’s command, the soldiers broke the pot and the Lord caused the enemy to think they were surrounded and turn on themselves before they fled.
God ultimately fought and won the battle. He didn’t need the help of the mere mortals, but He chose to have them play a part. These stories are just two examples of God doing an amazing, miraculous things. In response, the people gave the glory to Him. The Old testament is full of examples like these. In truth, we can’t take credit for God’s work but we can be a part of it and give Him the glory. The reality is that we have been saved and called for that purpose- to be a part of God’s plan and then to give all the glory to Him.
We can stand strong, brave, and courageous in the face of the evil we are facing. We can count on the Lord fighting for His people who are consecrated and seeking Him. Make no mistake- the devil wants us to be scared, shaken, rattled, and fearful. He wants us to think we have to do it in our own strength. But we don’t! We might not even be in on the action. Like Gideon’s story, we might just get to watch.
God has given us victory over the devil. We can stand and shake our fists at him, remind him that the Lord already has victory over him so he has no hold on us. If we stay on our knees, keep our eyes on Jesus, keep our hearts right before him, and seek His will for all our decisions, He will honor that. And when we gather together with two or more and corporately repent He will hear us. When the Israelite people finally repented, consecrated, and cleansed themselves, God ended the captivity. Their homeland was restored. What naturally followed the people’s repentance was the people turning, rejecting the culture, and wholeheartedly following the Lord.
We can also see this in Jesus’ life. Because He lived a consecrated life and did His father’s will many people’s lives were restored because they were given forgiveness and eternal life.
What does consecration look like?
So what does it look like to be consecrated to the Lord? How can we live that out practically? It sounds like a very old word and even outdated. But it’s not outdated at all. A person who is consecrated to the Lord is sold out for Him. They adore their savior and hold Him dear. They respect the sacredness of holiness. David is a good example and the Psalms are chock full of practical examples.
A person consecrated to the Lord meditates on the Word day and night. (Psalm 1:1-3)
Reading the Bible is a joy and anticipated activity for someone who is consecrated to the Lord. They rise early to meet with God. (Psalm 5:1-3
They seek the Lord for every decision and are careful to live a life untainted by the world. What the world thinks matters little to them. (Psalm 25)
Their lives are free from attitudes and behaviors that are in contrast to the ways of the Lord.
In the New Testament, Peter also gives us some insight into the consecrated life. He wrote that he counted it all joy to share in the sufferings of Christ and didn’t count the cost of being a Christian. In today’s unprecedented world, if we are going to be the salt and the light, that’s what it is going to take to win souls to Christ. We have to be hot in our faith. It’s not enough to give lip service- our lives must show that we are set apart, consecrated, before we even open our mouths. Being consecrated to the Lord will calm our fears and even give us peace and courage as we live our lives. We have been given the victory over the fear, anxiety, and worry that comes with turbulent times. Not knowing what the future holds can be unnerving but knowing the One who does gives us peace.
Being consecrated means that we are fully surrendered to the Lord and His plans. The One who created it all has us in the center of His will when we are surrendered to Him. That’s the absolute safest place to be!
A consecrated person has a special role to play, also. The consecrated person is called to spread the gospel and lead others to Christ. That is one reason for salvation and it takes someone who loves the Lord wholly to carry that burden for the lost. They are also called to stand in and support the body of Christ. In Ezekiel, we read that God was looking for someone who was consecrated to Him but sadly could not find anyone:
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:23-31)
Ezekiel had a message from the Lord for the people of Israel. Israel as a people were so far away from the Lord and consumed with the culture around them that there was no one who cared about the things of the Lord. The Lord was looking for someone to bring the people back to Him but there was none to be found. There was no one to stand in the gap.
Thankfully our country isn’t quite as depraved as Ezekiel’s day. There are still strong believers who truly love and are walking with the Lord. But it serves to warn us of the need to stay walking closely with the Lord ourselves so that we can be working together to rebuild and fight for our nation.
We need to rise up, stand in the gap, live consecrated lives that are a testimony to the world, and reach the lost for Christ.
Whether we are living in the end times or on the verge of the rapture or not, it is important to keep our eyes on Jesus and stay surrendered to the Lord. We must consecrate ourselves, live set apart and be sold out for Jesus. We must leave mainstream culture alone. America is making some really poor, ungodly, and evil choices. We as American Christians need to recommit ourselves to the Lord. We must live as consecrated people. We need to prayerfully examine ourselves to find where we have let the world and our culture creep in. Then it is important to repent and rid ourselves and our lives of anything the Lord brings to mind.
We must be like the Isrealites- repent of the sin God shows us and return to Him.
We must be like Gideon- trusting God when there doesn’t seem to be a way and we feel outmatched.
We must be like David- praising the Lord and delighting in spending time with Him.
We must be like Nehemiah- including ourselves in the body of Christ and taking ownership as we work as a team to stay the course.
Praise God there is something we can do! We can do our part and make sure we are right with the Lord and able to be His hands and feet.
Consecration is a process.
It follows spiritual growth and strengthens and develops as we mature in our faith. As we draw close to the Lord, He will draw close to us. Through the trials and struggles we learn to trust Him. Once we surrender and completely trust Him then we are able to consecrate ourselves to Him. At least that’s my testimony. That’s the path the Lord has me walk. In these unprecedented times, it’s not too late to take a stand. We don’t have to change the world by ourselves, but we need to be a part of the change. We can only take responsibility for ourselves and make sure we are living a life consecrated to the Lord.
Revival starts with us. America turning back to the Lord starts with us. We can see our country. Are you with me?
You can find more in the series on Consecration here:
Sometimes Life Happens While You’re Making Plans
The Importance of a Life Consecrated to the Lord
The Cost of Consecration
Holy Purpose: A Consecrated Life
The Importance of a Life Consecrated to the Lord
The Cost of Consecration
Holy Purpose: A Consecrated Life