How will we commune with God through our consecration? When every action becomes one of loving someone or something for God’s sake, we are communing with God as one seeking to please him. As we do all that we do in love (1 Cor 16:14), life is perfumed with the fragrance of deliberate service to God. We may not always be looking directly at God, but we are breaking open the alabaster box of our devotion on his head at all times. God is pleased not only when we perform acts of explicit adoration, but when we do work skilfully, do chores cheerfully, and do all things gratefully. During these acts of service, we can expect God’s manifest pleasure. God reveals himself to us in the opportunity for service.
“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. (John 12:26a)
Anyone who has given a cup of cold water for Christ’s sake knows that God rewards love for him with more communion. Service for God is its own reward: the sweetness of pleasing God brings joy, and God is usually pleased to communicate something more of himself to the serving Christian. When we deliberately seek to please God, his abiding presence is experienced.
If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:26b)
This is the act of sanctifying the ordinary. Set apart the ordinary acts of your life, so that all of life may be holy unto the Lord. George Herbert captured this almost perfectly in The Elixir:
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in any thing,
To do it as for thee:
Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into an action;
But still to make thee prepossessed,
And give it his perfection.
A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heav’n espy.
All may of thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture (for thy sake)
Will not grow bright and clean.
A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
Makes that and th’ action fine.
This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold:
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.
A word of caution, though. Because we become deliberate about doing all things for God’s sake does not mean we perfect that in a day. We have spent decades living and thinking independently, and we have to create new habits – habits of saying “for thy sake, with my heart, by your grace.”
A habit of ‘acknowledging him in all our ways’ can be difficult to form. The beginning of this habit, like all habits, is the most difficult time, as we suffer from the habit of years of scattering our thoughts randomly. Much progress will be made as we regularly confess our departures from seeking God in consecration. However, we can take courage again from Brother Lawrence:
“That in order to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him, we must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care we should find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.”1
The difficulty is inside us, not around us, as C.S. Lewis pointed out: “We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate. The real labour is to remember, to attend. In fact, to come awake. Still more, to remain awake.”
As we come to unify our loves – loving all for God’s sake, and loving all as it reveals God – we can confess where a love is not grounded in God, and needs to be confessed and forsaken. The result of confession and consecration will be cleansing and conformity.
- The Practice of the Presence of God, 6. [↩]