The Beauty Of Holiness Is The Beauty Of Consecration
Consecration does not mean the giving up of our sins or vices or depraved appetites, or forbidden indulgences; these things we renounce, cut out, abjure. It is that state in which all ourransomed powers are devoted, dedicated, consecrated to God. The language of consecration is thus put by a certain writer:
“I am willing To receive what Thou givest; To lack what Thou withholdest; To relinquish what Thou takest; To suffer what Thou inflictest; To be what Thou requirest; To do what Thou commandest.
Romans 12:1 The Language of Consecration — “I beseech you. ”
The Subjects of Consecration — “Brethren”
The Motive of Consecration — “Mercies of God”
The Area of Consecration — “Your bodies”
The Quality of Consecration — “Living sacrifice”
The Sanity of Consecration — “Reasonable service”
The Object of Consecration — “May Prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. ”
One of the best hymns of Consecration is that hymn of Miss Frances Ridley Havergal:
“Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee: Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise. ”
This hymn takes in the consecration of time, hands, feet, property, intellect, voice — all.
This hymn suggests the extent of consecration or in other words the manifestation of real consecration in personal and practical life through all the ramifications thereof.
I. The Consecration of Life. “Take my life and let it be. ”
Real Consecration shows itself in the life, and it should be the burning ambition of every believer to live the consecrated life. Those saints who have impressed their time and age have borne in their daily constant living the marks of dedication to God. Every consecrated soul may say with Paul, Gal. 6:18: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. ”
II. The Consecration of Time. “Take my moments and my days. ”
We should give our time to God. When this is consecrated to God there will always be time to put into the Lord’s service. Many people say: “I have no time to pray, no time to read the Bible, no time to attend church, or go to prayer meeting, ” but in real consecration this does not happen as the genuinely consecrated soul always has time for God and His services.
III. The Consecration of the hands. “Take my hands. ”
This means that when the hands are consecrated to God they will be kept clean and kept out of all unholy business. Consecrated hands mean that the pen will not write that which God cannot bless, will not play that which grieves the Spirit in recreation, will not touch anything that is impure, unclean and that is not of good report.
IV. The Consecration of the feet. “Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee. ”
Consecrated feet will not take us where God will not bless us. We will keep off the Devil’s territory. Consecrated feet will walk in the way of God’s commandments and will not walk in paths of questionable resort. Consecrated feet will not take us to the theaters, the movies, the dance and other worldly and perilous places. Many young people will save themselves great trouble if they recollect that consecration applies to the feet and many Christian people will strengthen their testimony and increase their influence for God by remembering that the consecration of the feet means keeping out of and away from all those paths and by-paths which lead not to the King’s highway of holiness.
V. The Consecration of Property and Money. “Take my silver and my gold. ”
Where real consecration exists there will be money for God and His cause because the law of the tenth will be observed and perhaps more. Our silver and gold laid upon the altar of God will mean abundance of money for the Lord’s work at home and abroad.
Consecration applies to the pocketbook and the income. We recognize that we are only stewards or trustees of the money and property that come in our hands — god has a claim on it and we recognize it when He draws upon us.
VI. The Consecration of the Intellect. “Take my intellect and use. ”
This means all our intellectual powers placed upon the altar so that our thinking and reading and study and theology and philosophy will all be along lines well pleasing to the Lord. Paul, Luther, Wesley placed their intellects upon the altar of consecration, hence they became mighty leaders of God’s people. Where there is consecrated intellect there will be no skepticism, no modernism, no higher criticism. Today our Protestantism is menaced by an intellectuality that is not consecrated, hence we are flooded with unbelief. A consecrated believer with intellect laid upon God’s altar never wanders into the by-paths of speculative philosophy; he believes his Bible, he believes in the things divinely revealed, he enjoys the “inner light” which comes from the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
Consecration of the thinking and reasoning powers will produce wisdom in the life and character. Alfred Cookman says:
“How can it be otherwise? If the third Person in the Trinity comes to abide in our heart, fulfilling His own promise in teaching us all things, revealing Christ in our consciousness as our Wisdom (and to me that means more than the Church now conceives), we shall make wonderful progress in wisdom. Not that a holy person will not blunder; but God will help you to perceive His truth. His character, modeled after the Divine pattern, will be impelled by the Divine impulse. When Jesus sent out His ambassadors, He said, “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. “That, I think, means the blending of purity and prudence. The Holy Ghost does not come to teach any new doctrine, or to testify of Himself, but of Christ. The very best minds are likely to be tempted in this direction for the sake of holiness.
VII. Consecration of the Voice. “Take my voice and let me sing. ”
The consecrated voice will mean singing for Jesus and the refusal to use the God-given powers of the voice for the world and the amusement only of the people. This applied to singers will mean songs sung to God’s glory; to preachers the use of the voice to publish salvation; and to God’s people the use of the voice in prayer, in testimony, in consecration for God’s glory. Sankey dedicated his voice to sing salvation and it was heard on two continents. Bliss’ consecrated voice was blessed to multitudes. Sweeney and a great host of holy singers dedicated their voices to sing Redemption’s story and countless thousands were won for God. Some years ago a noted opera singer was converted in a holiness tent meeting. She at once left the stage, consecrated her powers of voice to God’s glory and gave herself to God’s work thrilling thousands with her message of free and full salvation through sacred song.
VIII. The Consecration of the Lips. “Take my lips and let them be.
Consecrated lips will be lips of truth, integrity and love. They will not be lying lips, nortale-bearing or false witnessing lips. They will not be backbiting lips. They will refrain fromuttering those things which bring debate and strife and contention.
Consecrated lips will be loving lips and kind, bitter things they will not utter, the uncleanthey will not speak, truth and righteousness and things pure and holy will be the theme ofconversation. They will be praying lips ever burning with holy desire, expressing itself inintercession and prayer for every soul need and the deeper things of the Spirit.
IX. The Consecration of the Will. “Take my will. ”
The consecration of the will means the will power dedicated to God, hence the willbrought into unison with God. “Thy will be done” becomes the language of the soul. A consecratedwill will not bend to every pressure brought upon it but is fixed in God. Well has Dr. Upham said:
“A fixed, inflexible will is a great assistance in a holy life. Satan will suggest a thousandreasons, why we should yield a little to the temptations by which we are surrounded; but let usever stand fast in our purpose. A good degree of decision and tenacity of purpose is of great importance in the ordinary affairs of life. How much more so in the things of religion? He, who is easily shaken, will find the way of holiness difficult — perhaps impracticable. A double-minded man, he who has no fixedness of purpose, no energy or will, is unstable in all his ways. ‘ Ye, who walk in the narrow way, let your resolution be unalterable. Think of the blessed Saviour. ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ Though he was momentarily forsaken, at least so far as to be left to anguish inconceivable, and unutterable, his heart nevertheless was fixed, and he could still say, ‘My God, my God. ‘”
X. The Consecration of the Heart. “Take my heart. ”
The heart consecrated to God means the inward shrine of the life dedicated to God with all its powers and issues. This consecration enables the believer to love the Lord God with a wholehearted devotion in which the affections are not divided. Real consecration protects us from a divided heart.
Gregory the Great said, “A mind occupied with external desires will not glow with the fire of Divine love; and no words will avail to inspire hearts to celestial desires which proceed from a cold heart. Nothing which does not burn itself can kindle flame in anything else. ”
XI. The Consecration of our Love. “Take my love, my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store. ”
This means our affectional nature so consecrated to God that we love God and the things of God supremely.
Love is the master passion of the soul and when regulated by consecrated grace the love powers will not be spent on secondary or trivial matters. Love of Jesus will absorb the soul so that love of self, of the world, of fashion, dress, money, property will be held in check. Many Christians lose their rich experience when they take off the altar their love powers. Young people often break with their consecration by forming affiliations with those who do not love God, business men often lose their blessing by falling to keep on the altar their love for things — money, property, etc. Many Christians take their love power off the altar and go after worldly adornment, worldly amusements, etc.
“Thee will I love, my joy, my crown; Thee will I love, my Lord, my God; Thee will I love, beneath thy frown Or smile, thy scepter or thy rod. What though my flesh and heart decay? Thee shall I love in endless day!”
XII. The Consecration of the Personality. “Take myself and I will be ever only all for Thee. ”
All our powers are dedicated to God and the life bearing the marks of this complete consecration to God. In this connection we think of Paul when he said: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. ” The seal of God is on the wholly consecrated. The life manifests it, the deportment shows it. With this wholehearted dedication to God there will be a transformation and there will be a constant renunciation and repudiation of worldly standards, fashions and laws. The wholly consecrated person is truly a nonconformist. There is a refusal to conform to this world. A full and complete consecration results eventually in the soul’s sanctification and improvement. Let it be remembered that consecration is objective — “That ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ” (Rom. 12:2). “This is the will of God even your sanctification. “