Consecration is a an ‘old-fashioned’ word that is not used often anymore. We may be more familiar with the terms dedicated, set apart or devoted. Let’s examine this word, consecration, to determine what it is and to see if it is still relevant today. In this study, we’ll use this word interchangeably with ‘set apart.’
The Bible Study Tools, Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines consecration as the devoting or setting apart of anything to the worship or service of God. So, biblically, consecration is to be set apart to God.
What does living set apart to God look like today? Does this mean we are to live in isolation so we can focus only on Him? How can believers set themselves apart to God when we are so busy with work, raising a family and building strong marriages? Can it even be done?
Let’s examine this topic that was suggested to me by my readers. Thank you for the suggestion!
Dedicated to God
In the Old Testament, we often read of the Israelite children being called to consecrate themselves. In Joshua 3:5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” (Emphasis mine.) Just this verse alone, without reading any others in the OT, is enough to know of the importance of consecration to God. Can you imagine the wonders God can do through you by your consecration to Him?
1 Samuel 1:11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” (Emphasis mine.) This is not the first instance in the Bible where a mother dedicated her baby to the Lord. Who is this woman? She is Hannah who was distressed because she could not bear children. She wept before the Lord with her prayer and He heard her and answered her.
Numbers 6:1-7 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins. All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long. …” (Emphasis mine.)
So, what does consecration truly mean for us today? Do mothers still have to dedicate their infants to the Lord? Do men still signify that they are consecrated to the Lord by having long hair and not drinking alcohol? Does God still call believers to consecrate themselves in this manner?
Set Apart for Righteous Living
Let’s see if the New Testament has answers for us.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Emphasis mine.)
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (Emphasis mine.)
Paul taught the Roman believers that to consecrate themselves to God required them to dedicate their whole lives to God. It was vital that they do not take on the world’s views and attitudes but that they renew their thinking according to the Word of God. By doing this, they would be living according to the plan of God for their lives.
Peter reminded believers that they are chosen by God and are His special possession. God brought us out of spiritual darkness through the death of His Son Jesus, therefore we are bought with a price, the price of the life of Jesus. Jesus did that willingly to make a way for us to live in the light, to walk in the light and to shine the His light to everyone. This is righteous living. This is set apart to God.
Paul told the same thing to the believers at Corinth, in 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Since we are bought with such a high price, should we not treasure that and glorify and honour God with our lives? Do you see this as being set apart to God?
Throughout the General and Pauline letters, the apostles taught the importance of walking in truth and living righteously. They reiterated Old Testament scripture as well as the words of Jesus. Everything comes back full circle that to live with God is to let go of everything else. We can’t serve both God and mammon. We can’t live on the wide road to destruction and have a foot on the narrow road at the same time. We can’t be sitting on the fence of indecision. We need to decide whom to serve.
Decide this day whom to serve
God or the devil. That’s what it boils down to. Who will you serve? Have you made your decision?
Choosing God means that you choose to be separate from the world. You choose the narrow road, giving up the temporal pleasures of the wide road that only leads to destruction.
Choosing God means you choose eternal life. Your choice to be set apart to God means you want the Creator and not the creation. You want to live the life you were destined to live, not a counterfeit life that promises fun but produces heart aches and problems and is devoid of meaning.
Choosing God means everything. I can’t imagine life without God. I can’t imagine making major decisions, or minor ones for that matter, without Him. I can’t imagine handling crises without Him.
I used to live that way, without Him, but a long time ago I made a choice. I chose to consecrate myself, to be set apart to God. Have you made your choice? Are you dedicated to righteous living? To serving God with your whole life? To be set apart to God?
Set Apart to God
To answer the questions at the start, no, a believer does not have to live in isolation to be set apart to God. Yes, believers can still work, raise families and build strong marriages while consecrating themselves to God. This is part of our ministry.
We serve God while we serve others. We serve others in the workplace or wherever we meet them. Parents serve God as they teach their children how to live godly lives. Husbands and wives serve God as they learn to love each other in the way that Christ loves the church, His bride. We live life though we are set apart.
That’s a Wrap
Yes, it is possible to be set apart to God today. We make the decision to be set apart FROM unrighteousness and set apart TO righteousness. We live to glorify God. We live separated from the world and separated to God.
While we may not make a vow that includes the length of our hair, we do vow to live a holy and blameless life, pleasing to Him. And we do this while we live life. We let others see what consecration to God is.
One thing I’m thankful for is God’s mercy and forgiveness. I guess that’s two things. And His grace. Okay, three things. I need these daily because though I strive to live a holy and blameless life, I often fail and need to repent. I need His mercy and forgiveness which He freely gives. Daily I seek His will for my life which is a continual consecration.
Related posts: What Does the Plumbline Have to do with Me? You might be interested in this as it talks about righteousness and judgment. You may also like What Does It Mean to be Separate from the World?
Do you have any challenges with living a life set apart to God? Do you think this is possible or impossible to do? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic of consecration. Please leave a comment for me.