Growing up, my mom used to always listen to a Christian station that played hymns and always aired messages, also known (to my siblings and me) as the “boring station.” I hated when she put this station on, but now as an adult, I listen to it all the time! I look forward to listening to different messages on my morning commute to work. It has been enriching and such a blessing in my personal life. Last week, I was listening to a message about sanctification and consecration from Dr. Tony Evans. As a person who grew up in the church, I have always heard those terms and they are things I’m pretty familiar with. What caught my attention was when Dr. Evans said, “The benefit of His sanctification work becomes evident after you consecrate yourself.” Let’s begin by defining those two words:
- Consecration: “To make or declare to be sacred, by certain ceremonies or rites; to appropriate to sacred uses; to set apart, dedicate, or devote, to the service and worship of God”
- Sanctification: “To cleanse, purify or make holy.”
With those definitions in mind I went back and listened to the message. I’m not going to repeat the message or get all preachy, but want to take some time just to focus on what it means to set ourselves apart for our God. All throughout the book of Leviticus we see God calling His people to be holy for He is holy. God was preparing His people to set themselves apart from the world so that they would not fall into temptation and move away from His presence.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passion of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16
In order to be holy we must remove ourselves from the pleasures of the world and fully devote ourselves to God. Going back to Genesis, we see that God made man to be in His own image. Not according to the image of angels or anything else, but in HIS image. How great is it that the most Holy God, made us to be like Him? He calls us to be holy because, well, that’s what He is.
As a kid, I was never allowed to play outside with my friends unless my room was clean and my homework was done – two things I hated to do! Over time, I realized that fighting with my parents to play and then clean was never going to work. Even if I tried to blame the mess on my brother or sister, it would not work. I had to clean up before I could leave the house. This constant bantering about going out to play got old, and slowly, but surely, I began to clean and do my work on my own every day in order to play. I’m sure it took years of struggle and TONS of patience from my mother, but it paid off! After reading Priyanka’s blog on Monday, it reminded me that my life has been a similar constant struggle between myself and God. God pretty much says, “I will love you no matter what, but until you get your life together and live for Me, you cannot go out and play.” Okay, maybe He doesn’t use those exact words, but essentially what I’m trying to say is: unless I fully consecrate myself and take ownership of my past sins, God cannot and will not use me to my fullest potential in this world.
Consecration is a daily process, and with discipline and training, it begins to become second nature. I could not reap the benefits of playing outside if I did not clean my room, so cleaning my room became a part of my daily routine. Likewise, I cannot reap the benefits of Christ’s death on the cross and fully enjoy His presence if I don’t set myself apart daily to be holy as He is holy. Jesus Christ calls us to bear our own cross and follow Him (Luke 14:27). I think it’s safe to say that we will never reach a point, while living on this Earth, when we can say, “because I am perfect, I can now put down my cross.” Instead, in carrying our cross, we realize that we are nothing without His support, and it is only through His grace and love that we are able to carry on His work daily. We realize our imperfections and work hard to be more like Him in every aspect of our life. This process of consecrating our lives consists of an active effort to daily die to ourselves and live for Him.
“And by that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”- Hebrews 10:10
When you believe in the power of the work on the cross you come to realize that you are sanctified (made holy) through His death on the cross. All He is calling you to do is to consecrate your life to Him so that you can see “the benefit of His sanctification work.” As we draw near to Him and spend time in His presence, we are allowing God to work through us and make us holy and worthy of His calling.