Of late, I have been pondering, the concept of living a consecrated life…
What is consecration? The Holman Bible Dictionary, states consecration refers “to persons or things being separated to or belonging to God. They are holy or sacred. They are set apart for the service of God”.
In the Old Testament, there was a tabernacle of worship that was constructed. The tabernacle and everything in it was consecrated, considered holy and set apart for service to God (Exodus 25; 26; Leviticus 8). And it is easy for me to see how lamp stands, incense, curtains and rods were set apart for God, but when I consider myself as the same, it is much more obtuse and I struggle… how can my life be continually transformed into holiness as God calls me to be?
Consecration is a call to service, a call to be different, set apart and holy as God is holy. To accept this call and to be obedient, first and foremost, I have to believe God, for this is faith. Hebrews 11: 6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please and be found satisfactory to Him.
For whoever would come near to God must believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him out.”
There was a man named Abram, who God called and consecrated (Genesis 11:26-32). God also changed his name to Abraham as a reminder of his “belongingness” to God. Abram aka Abraham, demonstrated consecration through his faith (Hebrews 11: 8). Hebrews 11: 1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see and it was by their faith that people of ancient times won God’s approval.
What does this scripture mean? How does one, demonstrate faith?
Faith is believing and demonstrating by our actions that there is a God, a Savior, a heaven, a hell and before we were set apart and made holy, we were sinners who deserved death… eternal death and were in danger of it, but because of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus we were given pardon, amnesty even though we deserved death, He gave us life, life eternal.
But I want to go back to Hebrews 11:8 for a moment and look at it with fresh eyes… There is something here in this verse that continues to hold me…. It says “when he was called to go out, he obeyed”. The way that this statement was written in the Greek, indicates immediate obedience to the call: It literally means that “while he was yet being called, he obeyed”.
When God calls, there is immediacy to it. God, like any earthly parent, wants immediate obedience. I have been known to not obey… There have been times where I have dug in my heels and stood my ground, which I must confess, always ends badly. The bible calls this rebellion and when I rebel, I stay right in the same place, stagnating in a pit of filthy, rotten water until I surrender. God will not move me forward until I submit to absolute obedience.
For Abraham, obedience and faith were key, but behind the obedience there is something more… as we read on in verse 9 of Hebrews 11, it says that Abraham sojourned in, the verb literally means to dwell beside or among as a foreigner dwelling in a state without rights of citizenship.
Does this have an application to Christ followers? Do we have rights? Where is our citizenship? If I take ownership of the belief that I have no rights or citizenship in this world, then it is easier to submit in obedience.
But I have a question… why wasn’t Abraham concerned about having a permanent home?
It says that Abraham lived in tabernacles or tents, he and his family were a migratory people, without a permanent home. When I was moving about in the military, I longed for a permanent home and it wasn’t the home so much as I wanted permanent relationships which take time to build. When I had those longings, I should have realized that my most important relationship was my relationship God. He is the constant in my life, He is the constant in my math equation. God provides the only permanence in life. But sometimes this knowledge wasn’t enough for me… I wanted to possess the land of Canaan.
But why do you think Abraham remained faithful to God even though he never fully possessed the land of Canaan?
Abraham was inspired by one thing I was forgetting. Abraham knew he was an heir to the King. In the bible it says all Christ Followers are Heirs with him. We are sons and daughters of the King with an inheritance. Eph 3:6 says “faith inspired these to endure patiently their unsettled life, since it assured them of a permanent home in the future”.
For he looked for a city which hath foundations – the perfected community of God, contained in the original promise. By the city he means the heavenly Jerusalem. Abraham’s faith looked forward to that.
Heb 13:14 For there is no permanent city for us here on earth; we are looking for the city which is to come.
Rev 3:12 I will make those who are victorious, pillars in the temple of my God, and they will never leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from my God
Rev 21:1-7 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished.
Paradigm shift…. As a Christ Follower, we are not citizens of this world trying to get to heaven; we are citizens of heaven making our way through the world…inhabiting it for a short time before moving on to heaven.
When I, we truly take hold of this idea, how will it influence the way we spend our lives? What will this look like?
It will require surrendering everything to Him… my rights, a home, comfort, safety and living by faith in the present, being obedient. Daily being sure of the things we hope for, certain of the things we cannot see, following God’s call upon our lives, we must redefine the hope to cherish the moment.