As we grow in communion with God, we are convicted in a different way. We become aware that we have compartmentalized our lives, and certain compartments have little of Christ in them. They may be completely lawful: family, food, work, leisure, hobbies, art, or other human pursuits, but we grow restless as we see how God is not the ultimate end of these parts of our lives.
The word consecration comes from Latin words meaning sacred and bring together. To consecrate is to dedicate something for sacred purposes. Romans 12:1 captures what we are to do:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
The act of consecrating our bodies is the act of presenting our entire selves, as those who are dead to independence, given over wholly to God for his use. God alone is God, and all acts of dependence and delight are to terminate on him. Tozer described consecration this way:
“Vacate the throne room of your heart and enthrone Jesus there. Set Him in the focus of your heart’s attention and stop wanting to be a hero. Make Him your all in all and try yourself to become less and less. Dedicate your entire life to His honor alone and shift the motives of your life from self to God.”1
Three things change when we consecrate all of life to God: Motive, Method, and Means.
1) Motive: For Thy Sake
For Thy Sake are three words which turn ordinary, lawful activities into sacred activities. We are so used to thinking that the things done for God are prayer, the Bible, singing, witnessing, that we do not think that we can drive, write, type, fix, clean, repair for His sake. But what does the Word say?
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17)
Every good and lawful action can be dedicated to Christ. Regardless of how mundane, the simple act of dedicating all actions to Christ makes them acts of important service. Insignificant acts become fragrant offerings if made in the name of Heaven’s favourite Son. Brother Lawrence remarked that he was pleased “when he could take up a straw from the ground for the love of God, seeking Him only, and nothing else, not even His gifts.”2
We can do our work, clean our houses, teach our children, fix what is broken, eat our food and love our neighbour, all for God’s sake. God becomes the ultimate end of our actions. In other words, consecration repairs what has not been loved for God’s sake, and finds God’s beauty in all of life.
Such consecrations will necessarily exclude some activities, some attitudes, and some actions. Whatever cannot be loved for his sake should not be loved at all. Whatever cannot be done for his glory should not be done at all. All that is left, we should love for God’s sake.
Often enough, we may need some help in this area. We will need to study the Word, and ask other believers if we can do a certain thing for God’s sake. Sometimes the answer will be simple, while at other times, our powers of discernment will be tested. To know if we can do something for God’s glory, we need to know two things: we need to know what pleases God, and we need to know the meaning of the action or the object we wish to consecrate. We must understand from God’s Word what he is like: what his will is, what he loves, and what he hates. We then need to understand the action we wish to do in Christ’s name. What does it mean? What does it mean in terms of time, priorities, consequences, motives, or desires? How is this action understood? How is it used? With what is it associated? How do most people view it? Whereas the answer to the first question comes from the special revelation of the Word, the answer to the second will most often come from the general revelation of the world. We need to understand the meaning of things in God’s world to properly consecrate them.
That should lead us to ask, if we are doing this for God, how will that change how we do it? We consider the method and means of consecration in the next post.