The birth of a child is an exciting and happy event, and we all recognize it’s the beginning of a new life. We’d never say it’s an end or conclusion.
It’s the same with us believers. Our being saved and born again with the life of God is truly wondrous and joyful. But it’s not a conclusion. Our regeneration is only the beginning of our spiritual journey. And just as babies need to grow and develop, we Christians need to move forward step by step.
After we’re regenerated, the next step in our spiritual, life-long journey is to present, or give, ourselves to the Lord. This is to consecrate ourselves to Him.
What does “consecration” mean?
The word consecration isn’t a commonly used word, but even so, we might have an existing concept about what it means. In religion, the word consecration has been used in relation to the official ordaining of a person to be a preacher, a priest, or a missionary. This use implies consecration is for a special category of people.
But the consecration revealed in the New Testament is for every believer in Christ. It’s not something only for knowledgeable Christians or spiritually mature ones. In fact, as we’ll see, we cannot subjectively know the life of Christ in us or reach spiritual maturity without consecrating ourselves to the Lord. This is because consecration is the basis for every spiritual experience.
So what is consecration? Consecration is our giving ourselves to the Lord to become “a living sacrifice,” as Paul says in Romans 12:1:
“I exhort you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”
In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was something set apart for God by being put on the altar. When people offered that thing to God, it no longer belonged to the one offering it. It belonged to God, for His use and His satisfaction.
Today, when we consecrate ourselves to the Lord, we become a living sacrifice. We give up our own claims on ourselves and put ourselves completely in His hands. Previously, our life was for our use and our satisfaction; now it is for His.
When we present ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice, we’re simply saying, “Lord Jesus, I am for You. I’m no longer for myself, the world, or anything else. I am for Your use and Your satisfaction.”
Now we need to ask, How important is it for us to present ourselves to the Lord? Does it matter whether we do or don’t?
Four reasons why we should consecrate ourselves to the Lord
1. So we can walk in the Lord’s way
Before we were saved, we walked in our own way, made our own decisions, and chose our own direction. But after we’re saved, God wants us to walk in His way, follow Him, and be led by Him. But if we don’t give ourselves to Him, how can we know what His way is? How can He lead us? Consecrating ourselves to Him keeps us in His way and saves us from taking our own way. We can pray, “Lord, I don’t want to make my own decisions or take my own way. I want to be kept in Your way. So Lord Jesus, I give myself to You.”
2. So we can grow in life
With any physical life, after birth comes growth. In the same way, when Christ comes into us His intention is for His divine life in us to grow. But any kind of life, even the divine life of Christ in us, needs the proper environment and opportunity to grow.
Our surrendering ourselves to Him provides the best opportunity for His life to grow in us. As we surrender every part of our being and every aspect of our lives to Him, we give His life the best opportunity to grow in us.
Whether or not we give ourselves to the Lord makes a big difference in our experience of Christ. When we keep ourselves in our own hands without consecrating ourselves to the Lord, we may not feel certain things are wrong, and we’re unable to tell whether or not something is of God. Our lack of consecrating ourselves to the Lord hinders the life within. The life in us simply doesn’t function that well because it doesn’t have the opportunity to grow or develop.
But when we surrender ourselves to the Lord, we provide the best opportunity for His life to grow and develop in us. Spontaneously, we can sense what is pleasing to Him and what is not, what is of God and what is not. This sensation comes from the functioning of God’s divine life in us. Our consecration is what activates this life function that gives us the sense of God’s life in us. As we go along with and obey God by this sense, we grow in the divine life in a real and practical way.
3. So God can work in us
Before we can go and work for God, God needs to work in us. Even though we’re saved, we all have to admit that He still has much work to do in us to conform our thoughts, feelings, decisions, and inner disposition—our whole being—to the image of His Son.
God is surely omnipotent, but in His relationship with us, He is not a dictator. He respects our human will and doesn’t force His work on us. He wants and needs our consent in order to work freely in us. Our consecration is our consent.
Since God will only work in us if we allow Him do so, this explains how a person can be genuinely saved for years and yet have little to no growth in the divine life, and little real change in their being. God will wait until we give Him the permission to work Himself into us for His purpose.
So instead of letting our time slip away or resisting His work in us, we can pray to Him, “Lord, I give You permission to work in me. I offer myself willingly to You. Lord, I open the door of my heart to You. Come into each room of my heart and conform me to Your dear Person in every way.”
4. To enjoy the riches of God’s salvation
God’s salvation is full of riches. It includes being saved from eternal perdition, certainly, but God’s salvation encompasses so much more. When we were saved, God blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. The divine life, Christ’s perfect humanity and living, His effective death, His powerful resurrection, His victory over Satan, His ascension over all things—all are ours. But without consecrating ourselves to Him, we have no way to enter into the enjoyment of all of these blessings. We have them in fact, but for us to enjoy them in our daily lives, we must consecrate ourselves to God.
In this respect, consecration is like a gate or a door. To enter into a building, we must go through a door. If we don’t, no matter what wonderful thing awaits us on the other side, we can’t enjoy or participate in it. It’s there, but we’re on the outside. Consecration is the door for us to enter through to enjoy all the riches of God’s salvation. When we give ourselves to the Lord, He will lead us in our experience into the enjoyment of the rich blessings of God’s full salvation.
We can pray, “Lord, I don’t just want to know about the riches of Your salvation; I want to enjoy them. So Lord, here I am. I give myself to You fully. I belong to You. Lead me by Your Spirit into the experience and enjoyment of all You have for me in Your salvation.”
Take the next step
If we’re saved, we’ve taken the initial step of our spiritual journey. Thank the Lord for that! But we’ve only just begun. The next step for us is to consecrate ourselves to the Lord. When we do, we’ll be kept in God’s way, grow in His life, allow God to work in us, and enjoy the riches of His full salvation.
Whether we’re newly saved or we’ve been saved for a while, every one of us can give ourselves to the Lord. Even if we never heard of consecration, we can still present ourselves to the Lord right now. He is happy and willing to receive our consecration at any time!
In a subsequent post, we’ll cover further points on this important matter of consecration; we hope you’ll read and enjoy that one also.
If you want to learn more about consecration and how to consecrate yourself to God, take a look at these additional posts: How Do I Consecrate Myself to the Lord?, Consecration: God’s Purchase and God’s Love, and Loving Jesus with Our Best.