Kamis, 17 September 2009
THE LOST MESSAGE OF CONSECRATION
THE LOST MESSAGE of CONSECRATION
-by Lee Grady.
From reading some old books I've discovered a missing spiritual
dimension. The Lord is inviting us to reclaim it.
A few months ago I went on a special diet. I put aside all newly
published books and limited my reading to a small collection of
Christian classics, mostly devotional works by Andrew Murray,
Watchman Nee, E.M. Bounds, Charles Spurgeon, A.B. Simpson
and Corrie Ten Boom. I knew God had a message for me in those
I had noticed a similar theme in all these books, but it took me a
while to crack the code. These writers from the 19th and 20th
centuries wrote from a spiritual depth that I rarely see in the
church today, and I wanted to know their secret. I slowly began
to figure things out while reading A.B. Simpson's book, A Larger
Christian Life, which he wrote in 1890 when the Holiness
Movement was at its zenith in the United States.
Simpson often preached about Abraham's offering of his son Isaac
on the altar at Mount Moriah, and he called Christians to the place
of self-sacrifice. Mount Moriah, Simpson wrote, "signifies the deeper
spiritual experience into which the fully consecrated person must
come. In this act of obedience, the sanctified self is laid on the
altar just as Isaac was."
I read similar comments about consecration, or full surrender, in
Watchman Nee's The Release of the Spirit, which was first
published in China in 1955. Nee taught us that the path to
spiritual fruitfulness—and to true, intimate knowledge of the
Lord —is the brokenness of the outward man. He explained that
God uses tests and trials in our lives to break our selfish nature
so that Christ's nature can flow through us.
Nee wrote: "No life manifests more beauty than the one who is
broken! Stubbornness and self-love have given way to beauty in
the one who is broken by God."
Perhaps the reason I find so much nourishment in these old words
is that I don't hear much today about the crucified life, suffering,
brokenness or surrender. We rarely talk of altars and we avoid
altar calls. We don't invite people to a deeper spiritual realm
because few even know about such a place; often even our leaders
are too busy using God to boost their egos or to amass personal
Today's shallow, "evangelical lite" culture focuses on self, self and
more self. Christian books today are mostly about self-improvement,
not self- sacrifice. We teach people to claim their "best life now"—
and to claim it on their terms. Our message is one of self-
empowerment: God wants to make you happy, so just add a
little bit of God to your life (on your terms of course) and He will
bless you, prosper you and make all your dreams come true.
How strange that message seems when contrasted with the old
hymns Christians used to sing back in the days of holiness
revivals. This song written by Adelaide Pollard in 1907 seems
eerily foreign today:
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay;
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
The woman who penned those words was an itinerant Bible teacher
who was discouraged because she didn't have the funds to make
a missionary journey to Africa. She found great comfort when she
put all her plans and desires on the altar and freshly surrendered
to God's will for her life. The song that sprung from her anguish
blessed millions, but today it has lost its popularity because we
simply don't relate.
I believe we must reclaim the forgotten message of consecration.
It is not enough to know Christian doctrines or to paint a nice
Christian veneer on the surface of our lives. God wants our hearts.
We must embrace the cross daily. It is not enough to simply avoid
the sins that our Christian culture says are the "worst"; we must
also allow God's knife to slay the pride, the self-will, the self-
confidence and the self-glorification that our backslidden Christian
I invite you to reclaim this lost message by praying a "dangerous
prayer" of consecration. Let God assume the throne of your life
while you abdicate. You can pray something like this:
"Lord, You are the potter and I am the clay. Forgive me for my
selfishness. I consecrate my life to You afresh today. I give You
permission to break me, mold me, bend me and make me
according to Your perfect will. This is all the work of Your grace.
I choose to embrace whatever circumstances You must send into
my life in order to rid me of pride and self-will. I choose to live
on Your altar. As I empty myself, I ask You to fill me with Your
Holy Spirit. Amen"
-J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.