Matthew 11:29 – Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Consecration and discipleship is bondage to Jesus Christ alone.
As we are consecrated for His purposes, God has called us to make other disciples in the Great Commission. To make a disciple however, one must first be a disciple. Only disciples can make disciples. We reproduce what we are. Only growing leaders grow leaders. Over time, words change. The weight of a word may increase or deteriorate depending upon the culture in which it is used. So Scripturally what is a disciple? The literal meaning of the word disciple as used in the New Testament is “learner or pupil.” Jesus said in Luke 6:40, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher (NKJV).” Making disciples necessitates training and learning. – this is part of consecration.
Jesus said in Matthew 22:37, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (NKJV).” This is known as the Great Commandment. Most Christians today are content to love God with heart and soul dismissing their minds from the pursuit. But true disciples love the Lord with all they have, including their minds. Being a disciple then means that knowledge is required, and knowledge is the fruit of the mind. It can thus be stated then that “The Great Commission” can only effectively flow out of the life of one practicing “The Great Commandment.” Love for God with heart, soul, and mind compels one to impart the knowledge that is gained to others who are seeking out the truth. This is what it means to be a disciple.
Much contemporary teaching and preaching accommodates Christianity to “me and my world,” applying Scripture to our personal needs without first making sure we understand it. Application is essential, but it can be overemphasized if people never learn the truth they should apply. We cannot live “Christianly” without knowing Christianity, any more than we can build a bridge without knowing engineering. We can’t apply what we don’t know.
Our safe and prosperous Western culture draws us in, making us after its own image. But transformation away from the world and into God’s mold is possible. Paul commanded such transformation and instructed us how to attain it. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). The means of a transformed life is a renewed mind – a mind shaped by God’s revealed truth in Scripture. That is what consecration is all about. The ongoing process of renewing our minds begins with learning the elementary truths of God’s Word, then allowing ourselves to be shaped by what we learn as we apply it to life. The Greek word for renewing is anakaino. This word meant to “gut out a house” in the first century. The way we are transformed is by God going into our minds and ripping us of all the wrong thinking we had before Christ, and then filling our minds with the pillars of the Word of God.
As has often been said, Western Christianity is a mile wide but an inch deep. Os Guinness writes that the church in America has more people, money, and other resources than the church in any time or place in history, but less impact. Yes, he is talking about us. And Jesus told us that to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).
Yes, we glorify God by godly living, but godly living proceeds from godly thinking. Lazy and irrational thinking does not glorify God. A real lover of God and disciple of Jesus uses and develops the mind.
Will you ever mess up? Of course. But you must go back to repentance. God is more pleased with our failures mixed with repentances than our virtues tainted with pride.
Read Ephesians 1:5-6. You are accepted in the Beloved – it was God’s good pleasure to accept you through Christ.
Why are you still trying to earn your acceptance with your own works?
“If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be READY for the Master to use you for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 2:21
In America, we have taken the word “if” our and just tell people they are special. We are only ready to be used of God when we cleanse our lives of sin and disobedience. If I won’t use a fork with a green slob on the end of it, why would our perfectly heavenly Father use us when we are in hardness of heart and not cleansed for His purposes?
In 2 Cor. 7:1, Paul hits it hard: purify yourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit. Purifying the body includes paying attention to what we eat and drink, staying away from harmful things, getting proper exercise and enough rest, and not engaging in immoral sexual behavior. Purifying the Spirit includes our words, thoughts, attitudes, actions, and desires.
Consecration is not a passive process. We have to act. We put filters on our computers to block viruses, filters on home heating systems to remove dust and allergens, and oil filters on cars to remove the junk so the car performs and lasts. But we often do not do much to protect our body, our mind, or our heart.
There are three parts to this:
Identify – each of us has harmful stuff in our life that causes damage. The first step is to identify it, then capture it – just as your liver is designed to identify harmful substances, capture the toxic material, and remove it from your system so it does not cause illness. No matter what toxic material is in your life, you must see it for what it is.
Remove – once we know the harmful things we are exposing ourselves to we can remove them. Some things just need to go – like a cancerous tumor needs to be removed. Colossians 3 tells us to remove whatever hinders us from living a life that pleases God. Removing toxic behavior requires you to put up guardrails, draw hard lines you won’t cross, and get rid of everything that causes you to stumble or fall. You must remove yourself from compromising situations and reduce the opportunity for sin.
Replace – it is one thing to stop doing hurtful things – to remove temptation and put up boundaries. But living a holy life requires us to replace the bad with good, and replace the don’ts with do’s. Matthew 12:43-45 reveals what happens when we try to clean up all the bad things and neglect to replace them with good. It’s like trying to give up sweets without replacing them with a healthy alternative, or trying to quit smoking without replacing it with a habit. Eventually the bad habits return with a vengeance! It is time to put off the old and put on the new. Wrong thinking must be replaced with right thinking. Criticism must be replaced with encouragement. Anger must be replaced with love and tenderness.
Psalm 119 tells us that purity can only be established in our lives through the Word of God. If we stay in the Word, we can remain pure – there is no other way!