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photo by Marek Piwnicki

I have a set of tableware I love! My husband bought it for me at an antique store a couple of anniversaries back. The pieces are a brilliant gold, and each handle is adorned with a sprig of Holly. The set spends the year nested inside a lovely stained box until December rolls around and we begin shining it up for our traditional Christmas brunch. You might say the set is “consecrated for Christmas”. 

Do you have anything in your life that is consecrated? Set apart for a specific purpose or time? Perhaps it’s a string of pearls? Or a pair of fancy shoes that only come out for weddings or date nights? Did you know that you are called to be consecrated? But unlike a diamond pendant or my Christmas flatware, you and I are called by Jesus to consecrate our lives — the beautiful moments, the mundane, the hard, the joyful, and even the grief. He doesn’t just want us to live life and check in once in awhile. He wants every part of us to be set apart for Him.

As a new year dawns, we clean up holiday clutter and possibly begin the purge toward Spring, it is such a great time to take an inventory of our hearts and see what dust has settled there. 

What is consecration?

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, consecrate means to “make or declare (something, typically a church) sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose”. In the Old Testament, there were many tangible things, like the articles of the Tabernacle and Temple that were to be consecrated to God and only used in worship of Him.

However, people and even animals were consecrated. God called for the firstborn of every creature belonging to the Hebrews to be consecrated to Him. The idea was that the firstborn “opened the womb”. With cultures all around them worshipping countless gods and concepts of fertility, luck, and sex, God wanted His people to make it clear that their life, their livelihood came from Him. The cultures around them were to know clearly that they trusted YHWH for everything. This is also why the first fruits of the crops were given to God. It was a sign of devotion and faith.

You and I have a blessed opportunity to maintain the same kind of witness to our culture as the Hebrews did to the people groups surrounding them. If we will consecrate our lives to God, at some point, others cannot help but notice and perhaps be drawn into a relationship with our faithful Savior.

We don’t have to be liturgical about it, as they were in the Old Testament, but I do believe it is helpful for us to be intentional. Making clear decisions and committing our lives to God keeps us aware of our time, intent, and mission on this earth.

So if we don’t have to perform religious ritual, what does it look like? 

Consecration can take on so many forms. I have heard of people consecrating their calendars, their homes, their cars . . . anything we feel like the Spirit of God wants us to use for Him. However, I think the most valuable consecration begins with our very selves. If I have consecrated the whole of my humanity and identity to Christ, that will overflow into every other area of my life, naturally.

Consecrating the body: World culture puts a lot of emphasis on the physical body. As a result, sometimes we as Jesus followers underemphasizes the power of consecrating our bodies or our flesh to God, but scripture indicates a value to it. 

Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Wow! According to this, consecrating my body to God is an act of worship! Have you ever asked God how He wants you to eat? How he feels about your level of activity? When we were overseas last year, a couple of our missionary friends were asking for prayer that God would grant them health so they could finish the Kingdom work He had called them to. It was a beautiful request. They weren’t just asking to be healthy and comfortable. They wanted health so they could work for God as long as possible. I was convicted. 

1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “…you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” This verse is specifically referring to sexual holiness, but it can apply in many directions. 

Consecrating the spirit: Our spirit is the center of our true identity. While it is important to submit our bodies to Christ, it is infinitely more imperative that our spirits are holy unto the Lord, because that is our eternal self. In his first letter to Timothy (verse 4:8), Paul tells him, “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

Jesus also asserted the value of living from our spirit in our worship of God. To the woman at the well he said, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth,” indicating that is was commitment of our spirit that enacted genuine worship, more than a location or methodology (John 4:24).

But how do we do this? For too many people (even believers), we are so connected to the body and disconnected from true understanding of our spirit. We really need God’s help to show us the honest condition of our spirit and what must be surrendered to him.

David makes this clear in Psalm 51:10. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” This came after David’s high and hard fall from grace in adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. He knew his spirit was far from the holiness of God. He knew couldn’t fix his own spirit. He knew he needed the Author of his very identity to breathe life anew into him and return his spirit to its previous height of love and loyalty for God. In fact, the Hebrew word for spirit means “breath or wind,” pointing to creation when God breathed His breath of life into humanity. What a beautiful picture of intimate restoration. 

Can you feel that prayer? “Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, I need You to breathe on me anew. I need You to breathe new life into the spirit You gave me, and make me wholly Yours again. Consecrate me to you once more.” Amazing!

Consecrating the mind: A third component of consecrating ourselves to God is the daily, or even moment-by-moment commission of our minds to His governance. While our body is the vehicle God gave to move our spirit through this life, and our spirit is our eternal identity that is either connected to God or far from Him, our mind is, in a way, the command center and communication bridge between the two. 

Our thoughts both indicate the condition of our spirit or our heart, like warning lights on a dashboard, and they also can direct our actions if they are not being governed. “We behave according to what we believe.” It’s a widely circulated concept, though its origin is not completely clear. The idea, though, is that our thoughts navigate for our reality. One poster I had hanging in my classroom said, “Your thoughts become your character, and your character becomes your destiny.”

Romans 12:2 gives us direction for consecrating our minds to God. It says we are not to conform but to be transformed (a word which is bears similar meaning to metamorphosis, like changing from a worm to a butterfly!) by the renewing of our mind. The word for renew also means a process of change which comes through God’s power.

So, what do you think? Are you living a life of consecration? Are you set apart for God’s purposes in the days ahead?

Many of us want to see God move. We want Him to use us for eternal things, and if so, we must be intentional to act as saints in history have to be set apart for Him.

“Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5).

What will it look like for you to pray a prayer of consecration and devote yourself to God’s call for you in the days ahead?

If you’re not sure, I’d love to help you. Contact me here, and let’s chat about how God is drawing your heart.

He is an infinite God, so there is always more He desires and can to do in and through us if we will commit to live a life of calling!

I am praying with you!

Here are some links to other resources on consecration:

A podcast on consecration with John Eldridge

Prayers of Consecration