Saturday, December 3, 2016

Consecration - Foundation Series

How is everyone, this fine December evening?

I'm sitting at the computer, Santa hat on my head, candles lit, hot chocolate on my left, and Bing Crosby's Christmas music in my ears.

Are we ready for this next part in the Foundation series? This part concentrates on marriage and our union with God...

A man and a woman join together, uniquely, as husband and wife, forming one new family. They are to each other unique in all the world.

They are absolutely and uniquely each others, dedicated solely to each other.
Genesis 2:24
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
1 Corinthians 7:4
For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

"With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

Take everything that's true of marriage and evaluate that singular call and those total demands and we begin to approach the kind of devotion God calls us to in our relationship with Himself.

Consecration - association with the sacred.
Hebrew = qudosh, sacred, holy, set apart for God.
Greek = hagios, same thought.

God calls His people to be in a relationship with Him that transcends and surpasses the devotion of marriage; a singular dedication of all that we are and have, every possibility for our lives, to be freely, joyously given over to Him and for Him.

1. A Living Sacrifice
Romans 12:1-2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

In light of who God is and what He's done for us; in light of this great salvation and His future, glorious plans for us with Him; the only thing that makes sense for us to do is to offer ourselves to God, body and soul, present and future, fully and reservedly, more so even than a husband or wife can commit him or herself to the other.

With our wills we wed ourselves to Him in a holy consecration.
With our bodies and all that we do, we worship Him.
With every asset we posses, we place ourselves at God's disposal.

2. Holy Affections
While consecration to God is our reasonable expression of worship, it's not always our heartfelt response... Consecration born of the affections of our heart is what God is after.

If consecration to God is seen only as duty it feels like a responsibility to be born, a duty to discharge, a debt to be paid. When we understand that wholehearted, body-consuming devotion to God is the means of our joy as well as God's glory, it takes on a whole new aspect.

Be transformed by the renewing of the mind.

Why does a husband stray from his wife? Why does a Christian stray from their God?
Because the affections of the heart aren't set on their Beloved.

To say "I do" to one person costs EVERYTHING, but what you gain will be worth ANYTHING you lose.

3. Consecration's Jealous Fruits
Jealousy is the appropriate desire of a husband for his wife, or God for His own, in what is meant to be an inviolable union.

Marital unfaithfulness and it's cousin, spiritual idolatry, are particularly grievous becaus they betray the singular devotion due one from the other.

God as Husband:
Isaiah 54:5
For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
Jeremiah 3:20
Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the Lord.'"
Ephesians 5:25-27
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Song of Songs...
My beloved is mine, and I am his.

God has a holy jealousy for us, like a husband has for his wife. His commitment to us is total, and ours should be the same toward Him.

-Have I accepted God's invitation to join Him in a holy union by repenting of my sins and accepting the reconciliation He's provided in Jesus?
-Have I acknowledged that God's free gift of grace in salvation introduces me to the costly life of self-denying consecration?
-What areas of life have I consciously consecrated to God?
-What areas of my life do I need to consecrate to God?
-What barriers do I need to install in my life to protect myself from temptations to spiritual adultery?
-On a scale of 1-10, how delighted am I in my relationship with God?
-What would help me delight more fully in the Lord?

Life lived on the Rock of God's Word is one of consecration.

Have a great rest of your weekend, and "see" you next week!

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