by Tiffany S.
from Virtuous Daughters, February/March 2019~Volume 18, Number 6
Consecrated. What comes to mind when you hear that word? Do you think of an elderly saint who has 90% of the Bible memorized? Or perhaps a missionary serving in a far-away land? Maybe you think of a Christian who has remained faithful to the Lord amidst great trials. But I believe that it is God's desire for all believers to be not only sanctified (separated), but consecrated (separated unto Christ). This is certainly not instantaneous. It begins at salvation and continues until we meet Him face to face.
Several years ago my pastor preached a sermon from Isaiah 43 that deeply impacted my life. I will incorporate some of my notes into this article, and I pray the truths I learned (and am continuing to learn!) will encourage you in your own walk with the Lord.
"But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west...Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." - Isaiah 43:1-5,7
Through the years, the Lord has done or allowed things in my life that I didn't always understand. Some were deeply personal to me, and at times I was tempted to feel insecure. But one day when I reflected on the bigger picture, I saw that each of these unique circumstances were God's way of calling me to Himself and saying, "Thou art MINE."
A period of loneliness as a 12-year-old was the springboard to fruitfulness in my walk with Christ as He instilled in me a desire to be best friends with my family and a heart for ministry. "Boundaries" set up by my parents in my teen years taught me about submission and honor for not only my earthly authorities, but ultimately to the Lord. Some post-high school business failures were used by the Lord to guide me into opportunities for ministry rather than seeking personal gain. My singleness has drawn me to Jesus and taught me about the love of God in a way I never would have comprehended otherwise. Looking back, I see so many things in my life in a beautiful new light. I see God's loving hand guiding and drawing me to Himself, essentially saying, "Thou art Mine." He was teaching me what consecration is all about.
Exchanging Our Value System for God's Value System
You see, the unbeliever's value system is that of the world. But even believers can struggle with warped priorities. In pride and selfishness, we might look for human affirmation/acceptance, personal gain, and independence. But by God's grace and through His Word, we need to take the mind of Christ and trade out our values for God's values. Romans 12:1-2 instructs us in how to do this: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will God." Sisters, we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)! We are no longer to live unto ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15)! Our affection should be on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:1-4).
I believe that the closer we get to Christ, the more areas He reveals that should be surrendered to Him. Some years ago, there was something in my life which had become a distraction. It was not innately bad, but it absorbed a lot of my time, and the focus of my thoughts and prayers were becoming increasingly self-centered. Then one day, God took away this distraction. It was disappointing, yet through the pain He gave me more of Himself. He also changed my value system. I developed a greater concern for lost souls, and began to pray earnestly for an unsaved man visiting our church. As I rejoiced in the news of his salvation several months later, I realized how fulfilling it was to truly delight in the Lord, and to desire and pray for the things that are important to Him, not just the things that I want for myself.
Yet as I said, this is not instantaneous. It is a life-long process as God calls, molds, shapes, and separates us unto Himself. We are transformed by His grace and through His Word. This is the process of consecration, being separated unto Christ alone. Think about Peter's life as depicted in the Gospels. Consider what Jesus told him in John 21: there was coming a day when he would not be in charge of his own life, because he would be completely owned by his Savior. Then read 1 and 2 Peter, and see the transformation God wrought as Peter yielded his life to the Lord. The man who had once denied his Savior for fear of martyrdom would (according to tradition) request an inverted crucifixion because he did not consider himself worthy to die in the same manner that his Savior died for him.
The Message of Consecration
God has called us to be sanctified and set apart...in short, to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 20:7, 1 Peter 1:15-16). When we respond to God's call upon our lives, we have a much greater capacity to be used by Him. Consecration is not just about being set apart from the world, but being set apart for Christ alone. This means that God has exclusive rights over us. Some pictures in Scripture can help us understand...the donkey that Jesus rode during His triumphal entry had never been ridden before (Luke 19:30-31). It was preserved and consecrated for Christ and Christ alone. Also, Mary...we can see from her beautiful response, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38), that she was completely God's and God's alone. The tomb that Jesus' body was laid in had never been used (Luke 23:53)...it was cut out for Christ and Christ alone.
Perhaps some of you are in your teen years, wondering why your parents don't give you more freedoms. Maybe you don't desire to do something wrong, but you would like to fit in with the world, or at least with your likeminded friends. After all, there is no biblical standard for whether you get your driver's license at 16 or 18 (...or maybe even 21 :))! But dear sisters, don't miss the message of consecration. Ask God to show you the greater work He is doing in your life. The Lord is transforming you. He wants to set you free from peer pressure, give you His value system, and ultimately make you Christ's alone! When you are fully surrendered to Him, there is no limit to how God can use your life to serve and glorify His name.
The Purpose of Consecration
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul"--1 Peter 2:9-11
Dear sisters, this passage causes my heart to rejoice in God my Savior! He has called us out of darkness, into His marvelous light. He has abundantly poured His mercy upon us. Out of deep gratitude for His saving grace, may we embrace the privilege of being His "peculiar people," strangers and pilgrims in this world. Then what joy we will experience in fulfilling our purpose to "show forth the praises" of the Redeemer we love.
Being different from the world might feel awkward until we realize that it is essential to fully becoming His own personal treasure. We must learn to "despise the shame" as Jesus did (Hebrews 12:1-3) in order to maintain victorious, effective Christian testimonies.
Isaiah 43 says that Jacob was created, and Israel was formed. When I was studying Jacob's life, I noticed that he was not initially aware of God's presence in his life. Consider his response to that first encounter with God: "Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not." (Genesis 28:16) Jacob started out as a selfish man with a selfish agenda, which is how we all begin. But just as the Lord is longsuffering with us (Psalm 103:8,10), God was willing to work in Jacob's life. Eventually we see Jacob saying to the Lord, "Here am I." (Genesis 31:11, 46:2) He was yielded to God and wanted to be used by Him. He realized God's love for him and submitted himself to God's ownership over his life. This is the place of ultimate purpose and fulfillment.
To transform Jacob from a selfish man to a "prince of God," the Lord had to do a deep, refining work. God never left Jacob when taking him through the trials of fire and water (Isaiah 43:2). "...Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." --1 Peter 1:6-9 One of the things God used in Jacob's life was physical infirmity. For God to touch the strength of Jacob's body (Genesis 32:32) might seem harsh, yet it was actually God's love because it caused him to lean on his staff (Hebrews 11:21), which was a picture of his dependency on the Good Shepherd. You see, God's dealings are in no way harsh when you begin to understand His end goal. God is doing a beautiful work as He calls His children to deeper fellowship with Himself and says, "Thou art Mine!"
All of us face personal weaknesses or trials in our lives. We need to see them from God's perspective--His purpose is to use them to draw us to Himself and make us fully His. "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."--2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Rewards of Consecration
There are countless rewards for the believer who is submitted to the Lord and consecrated to Him. Following are a few my pastor listed:
Responding to the Consecration Call, "Thou art Mine"
I encourage you to look at your life and see what ways God is calling you to be consecrated unto Himself, saying "Thou art Mine," and then gratefully surrender yourself to His deep love for you. Allow Him to make you fully His. Do we realize the immense privilege of being Christ's alone? That He would love us and desire fellowship with us is truly beyond comprehension. Embrace these things and allow God to use them as He intends.
That We May Show Forth His Praise!
"This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise."--Isaiah 43:21 As God forms us and makes us His and His alone, let us magnify His name and show forth His praise. We were created and redeemed for His glory. What a priceless opportunity, in such a small way compared to His infinite, unconditional love, to glorify Him by loving Him back through a consecrated heart of joyful obedience and service.
Consecration is the process by which God makes us increasingly His own possession. But it must start with salvation. Have you taken that first step by calling upon the name of the Lord and becoming His? "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."-Isaiah 45:22
by Rejoice Singers
Time just drifts away and I look back on the years
With memories of happiness and bitter tears.
Through it all there is a common thread
that cannot be ignored.
You were there, making me to be Your servant, Lord
(chorus) All along Your hand has been guiding me,
shaping my life to be a beautiful song.
All along You've led me through things that You knew would make me strong.
Your love has been there all along.
Every joy and pain had a reason of its own,
and now I realize that I was not alone.
The changing seasons of my life were not left up to chance.
Lord, I know You were working to fulfill Your plan.
Tomorrow as I turn around and look back at today, I will understand Your purpose
and my thankful heart will say: (chorus)
How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall
ever be. How marvelous, oh how wonderful is my
Savior's love!!...Your love has been there all along.
The Article Library
This "Library" contains articles that were published in previous issues of Virtuous Daughters. It will keep growing as we continue to upload articles from the 20 years of printing. We pray they are an encouragement to you!