(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog)
When we were saved, we were born again with the life of God. What a truly wonderful and joyous experience! But regeneration is only the beginning of our spiritual journey.
After we’re regenerated, the next step is to consecrate, or give ourselves to the Lord. In this post, we’ll look at the meaning of consecration, and why it’s a crucial step in our life-long journey with the Lord.
What is consecration?
In religion, the word consecration is commonly used in reference to the official ordaining of a person to be a pastor, priest, or missionary. This use implies that consecration is something that’s reserved for a special category of people. But the New Testament reveals that it’s something that every believer in Christ can, and should, experience.
Consecration is also not something only for knowledgeable or spiritually mature Christians. Rather, we all need to consecrate ourselves to the Lord in order to deepen our personal knowledge of Christ and grow in the divine life, even if we’ve only just gotten saved. This is because consecration is the basis for every spiritual experience.
So what is consecration? Consecration is giving yourself 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, sacrifices were set apart for God by being placed on the altar. In offering something to God, one relinquished ownership of that item. Instead, it belonged to God, for His use and His satisfaction.
Today, when we consecrate ourselves to the Lord, we become a living sacrifice. This means we put ourselves completely in His hands. Before we consecrated ourselves, our life was for the pursuit of our own goals and satisfaction; now, it’s for Him.
When we present ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice, we’re simply telling Him: “Lord Jesus, my life is for You. I no longer belong to myself, the world, or anything else. I’m here for You and for Your satisfaction.”
Four reasons why we should consecrate ourselves to the Lord
1. To walk in the Lord’s way
Before we were saved, we took our own way, made our own decisions, and chose the direction for our life. After we’re saved, God wants us to walk in His way 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. To grow in life
When Christ comes into us, we’re regenerated with His divine life. His intention is for that divine life in us to grow. But any kind of life needs the proper environment to grow. Surrendering every part of ourselves and every aspect of our lives to Him creates the best environment for the divine life to grow in us.
Our experience of Christ is significantly affected by whether or not we give ourselves to the Lord. Without consecrating ourselves to Him, it’s difficult to tell whether something is according to God’s will, and whether it will please Him.
But when we surrender ourselves to the Lord, we spontaneously sense what pleases Him and what does not. This sensation is the result of God’s divine life functioning in us, and it’s activated by our consecration. As we follow God by obeying this sense, we grow in the divine life in a real and practical way.
3. To allow God to work in us
Before we can work for God, God first needs to work in us. Even though we’re saved, He still has to conform our thoughts, feelings, decisions, and disposition—our whole being—to the image of His Son, as Romans 8:29 says.
God is omnipotent, but in His relationship with us, He is not a dictator. He respects our free will and doesn’t force His work on us; rather, He needs our consent to work freely in us. Our consecration is our consent.
God is patient, and He will wait until we give Him the permission to work in us to accomplish His purpose. Instead of resisting Him, we can pray, “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 image in every way.”
4. To enjoy the riches of God’s salvation
God’s salvation is full of riches. Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. These blessings include the divine life, Christ’s perfect humanity and living, His effective death, His powerful resurrection, His victory over Satan, His ascension over all things, and so much more. The way we can enter into the enjoyment of all these blessings is by consecrating ourselves to Him. We already possess them, but for us to enjoy them in our experience, we must consecrate ourselves to God.
In this respect, consecration is like a door. To enter 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. 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. 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
Our salvation is the initial step of our spiritual journey. The next step is to consecrate ourselves to the Lord. When we do this, we’ll be kept in God’s way, grow in His life, allow Him to work in us, and enjoy the riches of His full salvation.
Whether we’re newly saved or longtime believers, each one of us can give ourselves to the Lord. We can present ourselves to the Lord right now. He is happy and willing to receive our consecration at any time!