The birth of a revolution
The birth of a revolution
We want a revolution in the church.
We have been discerning that God is stirring up people’s hearts to follow him more passionately, but before that can happen, there needs to be surrender to Him. As mentioned in last month’s article, we need to know God and His holiness, hear God, and obey God. If you have an interest in mission, then consecration is something you need to invest in, because mission isn’t about what we do, it’s about Christ living through us.
Consecration can often be misunderstood. Joshua says to the Israelites in Joshua 3:5, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Another meaning of consecration would be complete dedication. When we think of complete dedication, it’s easy to think about what we have to give up. If I’m going to be completely dedicated to training for a marathon (so I’m told), I have to examine the food I eat, my relationships, use of free time, sleep – the list goes on. If I’m going to be completely dedicated to God, I’ll also have to look at all aspects of my life, and consider what adjustments have to be made to put God first.
Julian of Norwich was a 14th century anchoress, that’s someone who lived a solitary life in a small cell attached to a church. Hidden away, she devoted herself to a spiritual life. What emerged from her experience was a book entitled, Showings. In it, Julian recounts sixteen revelations she received from God. Together, these revelations paint — with incredible depth and beauty — the love of God for Julian and for us. Her consecration, or devotion and dedication to pursuing God, opened the door for her experience of God.
While we may not be ready to live in a cell attached to a church, consecration is as much for us as it was for Julian. At the end of Chapter IV in the shorter version of Showings, Julian writes:
“God wishes to be known, and it pleases him that we should rest in him; for all things which are beneath him are not sufficient for us. And this is the reason why no soul has rest until it has despised as nothing all which is created. When the soul has become nothing for love, so as to have him who is all that is good, then it is able to receive spiritual rest.”
Consecration is much more about the “goal”, than the giving up. For Julian, giving up everything of earthly value was worth it because she gained everything she truly needed and desired – Jesus!
Another way the “goal” has been described is with the analogy of the “pearl of great price”. In Matthew 13: 45 it says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” The thing we’re looking for is our deepest desire; attaining it isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a joy.
Consecration is the groundwork needed to receive a fuller revelation of Jesus. In the process, we’ll discover what needs to be surrendered.
Undoubtedly, people will read this article and ask, “Is consecration really necessary? I’ve already given my life to Christ. I already go to church and small group. What more is there?”
In return, I’d say that we should be discontent with where we’re at until our lives resemble the biblical narrative a lot more. Colossians 2:9,10 says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”
So, where are the salvations, the healings, the freedom, the sacrificial living, reconciliation and social transformation? At a personal level, where is the fruit of the Spirit? Where is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, purity, holiness? The fullness of Christ should be self-evident in his people. If it’s not, then we need to ask whether Jesus is our greatest desire. Do we want him? If the answer is “yes”, then take the time to consecrate yourself. The promise to us is simple: God will meet us because he has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph 1:3)
Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology, talks about how all our actions should be done in Christ. He says, “To become a Christian is to enter the newness of the age to come, and to experience to some degree the new powers of the kingdom of God affecting every part of our lives. To be ‘in Christ’ is to be in that new realm that Christ controls.” (p 843) Are you hungry for a revolution?
In the lead-up to Missions Fest Vancouver, we are inviting followers of Jesus in the region to enter a season of consecration. Starting on November 25, Mission Central will be posting weekly devotionals written by local pastors to help us reflect on what it means to live the surrendered life and its connection to mission. Our view is that there is no mission without the surrendered life. Since we’re all called to participate in Christ’s mission, that means that the surrendered life is essential for all of us. If we’ve entered “the newness of the age to come”, we should anticipate both the power and presence of Christ in our day-to-day lives.
Consecrated – On November 14 we’ll be hosting a ministry time for pastors with Darrell Johnson. Tickets required.
Tuesday Prayer Time – Join us on Zoom at 12 pm to pray for God to transform our churches. Link is at Mission Central.
Devotionals – Visit Mission Central starting November 25 for weekly devotionals.
Mission Central and Missions Fest Vancouver exist to foster collaboration and networking of people who are passionate about serving Christ in his mission.
For more information, visit www.missioncentral.ca.