What the blazes is “Consecration”?
Over the weekend, one of our vocalists and worship leaders at Journey, Patience Leino, wrote a great post called “Qualified.” In sum, her point was that, in the same way that the priests and Levites in the Old Testament had to prepare themselves spiritually and physically before entering the tabernacle to perform the duties to which they were called, even so pastors, worship leaders, teachers, etc. must be qualified to perform their calling–that just because you are called, it doesn’t mean you are always qualified. (Go check out her post here. And then come back and read the rest of this.)
The theological word for the qualification we’re talking about here is “consecration.” Which is simply an abandonment and entire surrender of the whole being to God,–spirit, soul, and body placed under His absolute control, for Him to do with us just what He pleases.
Consecration is an abandonment and entire surrender of the whole being to God.
As I was considering her thoughts again this morning, I opened up a Christian classic that I’ve been slowly digesting over the past year called The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. The timing of Patience’s post with Smith’s thoughts was anything but coincidental.
At the risk of over-simplifying Smith’s book, one of her basic arguments is that the secret of the abundant Christian life is simply allowing God to use you as a vessel for his honor–abandoning your will to his and allowing Him to mold you like clay in the potter’s hand–consecration.
She illustrates the meaning of consecration by using a personal example that really hit home for me. And I think it will be helpful for those who are in some type of Christian leadership, as well as others who simply find themselves in this constant battle of surrendering their supposed rights to Jesus.
So, here it is in a little detail. Let its meaning take root in your heart as you daily and willingly abandon your will to His in complete consecration.
I was once trying to explain to a physician who had charge of a large hospital the necessity and meaning of consecration, but he seemed unable to understand.
At last I said to him, “Suppose, in going your rounds among your patients, you should meet with one man who entreated you earnestly to take his case under your especial care in order to cure him, but who should at the same time refuse to tell you all his symptoms or to take all your prescribed remedies, and should say to you, ‘I am quite willing to follow your directions as to certain things, because they commend themselves to my mind as good, but in other matters I prefer judging for myself, and following my own directions.’ What would you do in such a case?” I asked.
“DO?!” he replied with indignation,–“DO?! I would soon leave such a man as that to his own care. For, of course,” he added, “I could do nothing for him unles he would put his whole case into my hands without any reserves, and would obey my directions implicity.”
“It is necessary, then,” I said, “for doctors to be obeyed if they are to have any chance to cure their patient?”
“Implicitly obeyed!” was his emphatic reply.
“And that is consecration,” I continued. “God must have the whole case put into His hands without any reserves, and His directions must be implicitly followed.”
“I see it,” he exclaimed, “I see it! And I will do it. God shall have His own way with me from henceforth.”