Have you given any thought to the cost of consecration? Have you considered what it even means to live a life consecrated to the Lord? Most people can fall in love with the idea of putting God first and living for Him. There is an idyllic rose-colored-glasses version of living a life sold out to God. But it’s superficial. We all start there as new believers, kind of like how love is blind in a new relationship. But then life happens. We begin to experience problems and difficulties that expose who the other person really is and we are forced to decide if we truly love that person or if we don’t.
Walking with God is like that. We start out blind and on-fire, excited for this new relationship. And then the trials and problems start to creep in. Things get mundane. Finding out more about God doesn’t make us run away from Him because of who He is, but we might run away on account of who we are and what is asked of us. All the trials we encounter serve the purpose of growing and shaping us. Before God can use us, he must bring us to a place where we are wholly and fully dependent on and trusting in Him.
This is a painful but necessary process in the life of a believer. For some the trials are through parenting, others in their marriage, still others find financial hardships. There are plenty of other areas where hardships can come. In essence, God is pruning out the dead and diseased parts of us so that the healthy and good parts of us that God created to be used for His purposes can flourish.
The trials are the mark of God’s hand in the life of a Christian. As the years have passed, I came to take comfort in them. I began to see them as an assurance of my salvation because I know God would not be working in my life if I wasn’t one of His. Part of the spiritual journey includes a full surrender and complete devotion to the Lord. Gone are the thoughts of all we can do for the Lord and the superficial understanding of what being devoted to the Lord is. One day we realize what the Lord has done for us and out of complete gratitude really devote ourselves to the Lord regardless of the cost.
See, living a life fully consecrated to the Lord will cost us something and it takes spiritual maturity to understand and embrace that. It affects every area of our lives and demands a change in our actions, in attitude, and in how we worship.
Consecration means we obey and respect God with our actions.
The consecrated heart knows his place before the Lord. He understands God is holy and righteous and he is not therefore he must show that through respect and reverence. There must be a posture of humility as we come before the Lord in prayer and worship. We can’t flippantly act as though God is one of our peers or just another buddy. If we are consecrated to the Lord, we will show reverence and respect to the Lord through our actions, as we seek to do things the way God wants them done.
In 2 Samuel 6, we read an example of this. The Israelites were going to move the Ark of the Lord. God had made it clear that the ark was only to be carried by the priests and they were to use two poles to do so. No one was to ever touch the ark. However, the priests disrespected the instructions that God had given and did things their own way. They made a new cart and attempted to move the ark that way. Somewhere along the way, the cart faltered and a priest held out his hand to steady it only to be struck dead because he disobeyed the Lord.
The consecrated life is one that gives all the glory to God alone.
The consecrated heart knows that everything he or she does is done for the Lord above all. Everything we do can and should be an act of worship, which just means that it is done with the intention of giving glory to the Lord.
In Romans 12:1-2, we are called to present ourselves as living sacrifices and to renew our minds so that we can prove what God’s will is. This living sacrifice and mind renewal is how we become consecrated to the Lord and makes the way we live an act of worship.
A consecrated life will give God the absolute best because God’s holiness demands it.
The consecrated heart is mindful of his or her attitude. Having put God first in his or her life, there is no area that is separate from their faith. There is no room for laziness and cutting corners. Our attitude should seek to give God the best we have whether that’s in tasks we do, prayers we say, people we help or thoughts we think.
In Malachi 1:6 we see God chastising the Israelites for their laziness in worship. They were offering blemished animals, ignoring the requirement of unblemished animals for the sacrifice. It boils down to they were just going through the motions and not putting any effort into the things of the Lord. Their laziness showed they didn’t really care.
Consecration will cost us all something. It is a conscious choice to put God first. Sometimes that looks like giving up sleeping in in order to be on time for church on a Sunday morning. It might look like giving that last $10 in your pocket to someone God puts on your mind. It could even mean declining that job you’ve been offered or not going to that party where you know God will not be honored there.
Putting God first in our lives is what the consecrated life is all about. It means we will act differently, worship differently, and behave differently because of the Holy Spirit living within us and the work of the Lord that has changed us. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that the old man has gone and the new man has come. While that shift is immediate at the point of salvation, it takes the work of the Lord to bring a person to the place of consecration.
At some point in every Christian’s life the Lord brings them to the point that He is all that matters. It took many difficult years for God to get me there. It’s all part of the journey and if you aren’t there yet, take heart! God’s working to bring you to that point. If that’s the desire of your heart keep asking the Lord. He will mature to the point where your life is consecrated to Him.