Friday, November 20, 2009

Consecration

That's a word I don't hear much any more: "consecration." It's a great word, smooth to start then crunchy. Say it: "consecration."

When I was a new Christian, I used to hear talk of consecration a lot. That's probably because a lot of the people I knew then were Pentecostals, neo-Pentecostals, Bapticostals, charismatics, and the like. And to their credit, these people took holiness seriously. I don't mean they were narrow and legalistic, or that they had a superficial idea of holiness. I mean they genuinely wanted to be "laid aside" or "set apart" for God's use. They taught me to pray for and to seek to be consecrated unto the Lord. Looking back, I think this was really formative.

But over the years, to be honest, I don't know that I pray that as fervently any more or that I hear many people in my circles speak this way. Sometimes it's because some of my circle is "garden variety" evangelical. There's more talk about "engagement with the culture" and "culture wars" than there is talk about being "set apart." Some of my friends are just plain pragmatists; they want to "do something that works" and maybe aren't all that concerned about the interior life. Sometimes it's perhaps because some in my circle of friends have really great theology, and maybe they demur at less precise understandings of holiness. Maybe the idea of consecration suffers from its association with Pentecostalism because many people historically have held condescending and class-prejudiced views of Pentecostals.

I don't really know what the mix of reasons are. But I was struck fresh this morning when I read this: "David gathered together the sons of Aaron and the Levites... and said to them, 'You are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites. Consecrate yourselves, you and your brothers, so that you may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it." (1 Chr. 15:4, 12).

I heard that smooth and crunchy sounding word and thought, Consecrate yourself. Set yourself apart. Yes, you're set apart in Christ, and you're committed to the cause of the gospel ministry. But consecrate yourself. Renew your spirit toward the Lord and seek afresh to be wholly His. Present your body as a living sacrifice unto the Lord, holy and acceptable.


Then the Lord began to address me more directly by His word:

If then, Thabiti, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Thabiti, set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then, Thabiti, you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you [consecrate yourself]: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. Thabiti, in these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away [consecrate yourself]: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, Thabiti, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

And whatever you do, Thabiti, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:1-10, 12-15, 17)


That's for me this morning. Consecrate yourself afresh. Put off the old man, put on the new. Put to death whatever is earthly, set your mind on Christ above. Consecrate yourself.

Oh Lord, renew a right spirit within me. I need the renewing work of your Spirit today! Grant me this heavenly mindedness, the mortification of sin and earthly desire, the putting on of Christ, and the seeking after your glory!

How about you? Are you consecrated unto the Lord and His purposes today? Is your heart and mind and body fully set apart for Him?

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4 comments:

LouLove said...

"There's more talk about "engagement with the culture" and "culture wars" than there is talk about being "set apart." Some of my friends are just plain pragmatists; they want to "do something that works" and maybe aren't all that concerned about the interior life."

Perhaps what the culture really needs is a people who are "smooth" and "crunchy".


May the Lord help me be that "consecrated" mix that pleases Him and is useful in His service today. Good challenge this Friday morning, my Brother.

wwdunc said...

Thank you for this searching word. I'm reminded of that quote from Robert Murray McCheyne: "A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God."

Ray Ortlund said...

I agree. Intensely.

McBlack said...

i decided to do a 21 day consecration. facebook and texting seem to be a big thing in my life recently, so i gave that up for the span of my consecration. its true. theyre a distraction. now my focus is to become "holified", as my friend puts it. yes, i am pentecostal. and youre right. its mentioned and encouraged alot at pentecostal churches. more broadly, the black church. (im cogic) so i googled [consecration] for some extra insight and found your blog. thanks for it.