At a church service I attended, a minister gave an altar call for more of God’s presence in their lives. I stood at the altar with several others. At one point, I remember him saying. “This is consecration.”
I thought to myself, this is not consecration. This is easy. All we had to do was walk up to the altar. This is not a knock against that minister. I’m sure he understood people’s hunger for God and his presence and sensed the direction of the Holy Spirit to make that altar call.
It’s easy to get inspired and hyped up at church and then go home, never changing, falling back into our same routines.
I was worshiping with Elevation Worship and Maverick City’s Song “Wait On You” and had it streaming on my TV in the living room. At one point, I stopped worshiping and watched people’s faces in the video as they worshiped the Lord; it reminded me of worshiping at church with other believers. Then, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “People come to church every Sunday so desperate for a touch from me, then go home and ignore me all week.”
Consecration, I believe, starts in a believer’s heart. From a place of humbling brokenness and repentance, we realize we have gotten off track with the Lord. We moved away from our first love. We have missed it, and our hearts have moved out of a place of beholding Him in pure adoration and wonder and lifting his name up to beholding cultural idols and lifting their names up. Jesus no longer reigns as king of our hearts. As we seek the Lord, crying out for his grace and forgiveness, asking for his help to get us back to beholding Him alone, He gives us a taste that creates hunger to help us shift back to him.
“Now all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves regardless of their divisions. And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, all the Levitical singers—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps, and lyres, accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined together to praise and thank the Lord with one voice. They lifted up their voices, accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and musical instruments, in praise to the Lord: “For He is good; His loving devotion endures forever.” And the temple, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud so that the priests could not stand there to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.“2 Chronicles 5:11-14
Let’s look up the definition to help our minds wrap around the idea of consecration. The formal definition didn’t give me much of an idea of what personal consecration would look like. It was about dedicating a church building or a religious office held by someone dedicated to a religious work. The informal definition gave a better example.
devote (something) exclusively to a particular purpose.
“they’d decided to consecrate all their energies to this purposeful act”Oxford Dictionary
I like how it said to “consecrate all their energies.” When we turn our attention back to God, concentrating our energies on Him, turning our back on what the world has to fill us and distract us with, we start to taste the peace that satisfies our souls. The world doesn’t satisfy us or fulfill our souls. That’s why there is always something more to chase after. That’s why scrolling is endless; it fills us with junk. If you are sensitive, you can feel the fifth in your soul or the constant angst of chasing after something more. When we turn our attention towards the Lord, it’s as if he immediately fills our soul with the peace it needs.
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”John 6:35
Jesus said whoever “comes.” It’s plural. He didn’t say whoever will come to me. The Greek word is ἔρχομαι (erchomai). It is translated to come, go. There is more to the meaning of this word. In Hebrews 6:7, this same Greek word is translated as often. The Old Testament is a physical example of our spiritual lives. The Lord brought the Israelites into the wilderness so they could worship Him. He wanted them to draw near and hear his instructions for them. He brought them out of Egypt and its source of provision into the wilderness. He provided for them by feeding them with manna from heaven. He said they must gather fresh manna from heaven every morning and not keep any for the next day, or worms would enter it except on the day of rest. They were allowed to gather enough for two days the day before, and it would not rot. This is a picture of us gathering our spiritual bread from the Lord, so we always have a fresh supply to fill our souls daily. Last week’s, last month’s, or last year’s bread is not going to fill your soul the way you need it today. You need your fresh supply from the Lord.
We must keep coming back to him daily. The Lord has repeatedly told me that ‘consistency is key.’ We feed our bodies daily. Our spirits need to feed on Jesus daily, who is the bread of life. Nutritionists advise against waiting too long to eat your next meal. Otherwise, your blood sugar drops too low, and you crave junk food because it gives you a quick supply of calories to raise your blood sugar quickly. You won’t have the desire to eat a healthy option if you wait too long. In the same way, if we don’t fill up on Jesus, we will fill up with junk and what the world has to offer us. If you’re in the habit of eating junk food, you crave junk food constantly. But if you start eating healthy consistently, you eventually crave healthy food. You crave what you eat.
I believe the same is true in our spiritual appetite. By spending time with the Lord in worship, prayer, listening for his voice, and reading his word, we get a taste and hunger for Him. We must stay consistent and intentional with it; otherwise, it’s so easy to get distracted and fill up with other things. It’s not always easy, but the more we try, the more we learn to tune our hearts towards him throughout the day to hear what he will say. Even on our busiest days, his love will help us tap into his fresh bread and turn our attention back to Him so we can engage with him amongst the business. Sometimes, it’s a word spoken to our spirit, or he could speak through nature. His love for us is beautiful, and he wants us to understand it by engaging with us throughout our day. He helps us continue to hunger for him.
Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’Mark 12:29-30
‘They must come to me in prayer and fasting. I will give them the answer, but sometimes their ears have gone dull. They have become lukewarm in their walk, so they struggle to hear from me. They must seek me with all their hearts, minds, and strength. They must lay down every idol that is raised up before me. What is causing you not to seek me? What is getting in the way? I’m not talking about neglecting family; that is not my way. Many spend several hours watching TV daily but cannot seek my face. Many speak on the phone for hours, looking for someone to fill them emotionally, but they will not seek my face. What is filling your cup? What do you put in place of me? Seek my face. Fast and pray, fast what has come before me, seek my face. Just a slight turn towards me sends you back in the right direction; I can start breaking through and feeding you my truth. Humble yourself before me, repent, and I can show you what has got in the way. I will speak, and you will listen and hear my words of comfort and instruction. I do not condemn you. I love you. Let me heal all the trauma. Let me heal all the wounds. Let me set you free, my beloved. I love thee.’
‘If you struggle with fasting food, then what can you fast that will allow you to seek my face? Could you fast social media? Whenever you open your phone to scroll and find yourself on FB. Remember me. Stop. Close the app. Start praying in tongues. Let me edify you. Open my word, read it. Don’t read it on autopilot. If you don’t understand, ask me, I will show you. Let me interact in your time pursuing me. I may lead you to look up the passage and lead you to a specific article. You will see me confirm it and feel it in your spirit. ‘This is what I am speaking to you.’ I may remind you of a song. Turn it on, worship me, and your thoughts will start to revolve around me daily. Include me, ask me questions, and they will be revealed. Maybe not right away, but one day, you’ll be listening to a sermon, and I will speak out of the preacher’s mouth, something specific, and you will know I am bringing answers to your questions. You may go home and read a scripture, and now I am highlighting and expanding on this answer to your question. I am always working. I will break through and use many avenues to speak to you. Only hear me. Do not ignore me. Do not exclude me; let me be a part of it all. Everything you do, include me and speak to me. Soon, you will hear me. Soon you will find me. As you get a taste of me, your appetite will hunger for me. You will want to go away and pray, not out of duty, but because you long to hear me; you have seen the difference it makes to pray and kneel before me. My beloved, I love you. I love to shower my grace and mercy upon you. I love to give good gifts to you. I reward those who diligently seek me. Come to me, all who are thirsty, and I will give you rest. You will find peace for your souls. Let me take over. Let me walk you through this process of learning to lean on me.’
All day long, we are bombarded with the thoughts and mindsets of this world. It can take its toll on us and change us. Soon, we will no longer be ambassadors of His kingdom but will wash our minds with worldly thought patterns. We fall into comparison and the hamster wheel of proving who we are to the world instead of finding rest in our identity in Him. Keeping up with the world is a never-ending battle, but taking on Christ’s thoughts and his will, though it may be hard at times, is what gives us true inner peace.