Monday, May 19, 2014

Consecrated, Lord to Thee

                Consecrated- what does it mean? What does it look like to be consecrated? These are questions I found myself asking over the weekend. When I think of something consecrated, I think of the vessels that were used in the Temple. These items were specifically designed to do a specific work for the Lord. When I looked up the word in my concordance, the first mention of consecration is found in the book of Exodus. God tells Moses to set apart Aaron and his sons, and the generation of sons that will follow to be His priests. God tells Moses that not only will Aaron and his sons be consecrated to Him, but the priestly robes will be given to them and they will be consecrated in them.
                “And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his son’s after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.” Exodus 29:29 (KJV)

                As I read these words I thought about my flesh. My outer garment is not just the clothes I wear, but it is also the outer shell that I walk around in. My garments are garments of flesh, and even the flesh that covers me is to be consecrated to the Lord. Consecrated, if we are to get the whole picture of what it truly means, means to be a vacant and empty vessel that has been devoted and set apart for God alone. This vessel is then filled with the abundance of the Holy Spirit who comes and fills the void that has been emptied, making us perfect and new vessels for His glory.
                The key to being consecrated is to be empty. Peter writes to us in his first epistle that we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that {we} may proclaim the praises of Him who called {us} out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) God has chosen us, just like He chose Aaron to become priests for His purposes. We have all been given a calling, an anointing by God to do the work that He has created us for. But, we have a new Aaron. We have Jesus Christ, who has become High Priest over all. He has given us, his sons (and daughters) the garments of service to operate in the office of His priests.
                But what exactly is this royal priesthood and what does it have to do with being consecrated to the Lord? The priesthood is defined as the office to which one offers spiritual sacrifices to God. The priests wore special robes, special garments to set them apart from the other people in Israel. We have the Holy Spirit who has become our garments, for the purpose of setting us apart from everyone else. We are consecrated; we have been set apart for the sole purpose of worshiping God, and serving Him only. But, we have allowed our priestly garments to become defiled with sin, with disbelief, and yes, even rebellion. We know what He has called us to do, and to be. We know the priesthood He has placed us in, and the gifts and talents He has given us to perform these offices. Yet, we do not do them. We do not walk in the garments of priests; we walk in the excuses of our flesh.
                We must empty ourselves of all that is not of God. Our pride, our desires, our dreams, anything that is not of God, anything that God has told you to separate from, to remove, must be removed. Jesus urges us to take this office of our priesthood seriously, to not allow the defilement of sin to stain our garments. He tells us that if our “hand or foot causes {us} to sin, cut it off and cast it from {us}. It is better for {us} to enter into life lame or maimed rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if {our} eye causes {us} to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.” (Matthew 18:8-9)

                I am a consecrated vessel that has been robed with the priestly garments of service for the sole purpose of God my Father. Yet, I find myself, day after day, making excuses for the stains I get on my robes. I tell my Father, “I am only human”, or “Well, I am a sinner.” But today, as I said these words once again, I heard the Lord say to me, “You were once, but not anymore.” Our humanness is not an excuse we can use to cover up the fact that we do not take sin seriously. We are to be emptied of ourselves. Fully and completely emptied of everything we are. We are to be spiritual beings walking around in fleshly garments which have been set apart for the sole purpose of service to God. (Romans 12:1) We are to be spiritual beings residing in these garments of flesh.
                We are a chosen generation, yet we play around with sin. We dance around it, nibble on it and use the excuse, “Well, I am a sinner.” No, we are no longer sinners, can we not see this? We are now sinners saved by grace. We have been set apart for a special work. We are to strive to stay away from sin. “You have not resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:4) Have you? Have you resisted to bloodshed to not sin against your heavenly Father? I know I haven’t! We use the excuses that we are only human, that we are just a bunch of sinners, to justify the sins we so easily fall into.
                We are consecrated, holy vessels, cleaned and washed with new garments placed upon us. We no longer are to walk in the sinful flesh, but in the new priestly garments that we have been given. We have been called out of darkness and into the marvelous light of His glory. Our garments are no longer to be defiled with sin. Consecrated means to be empty, to be fully filled with God, yet we only give Him our hands or our feet. We give Him our hearts, but not our thoughts. We are deceiving ourselves. “We are only human” and “I am a sinner” are the excuses we are using to defile the garments that Jesus Christ paid so dearly for. What did Jesus say to every sinner that came to Him? “Go and sin no more.” But here we are, here I am, walking in the fleshly garments of sin, instead of the priestly garments of our Holy God.
                Let us not forget that we have been changed. We have been washed, cleansed and purified for service to our God. We are to be growing away from sin, and striving to stay away from it. We are to be growing into these priestly garments, instead of staying in the tattered ones we came to Him in. If we are to be called a royal priesthood, then we should look and act like one. We need to be serious about our sins. I’m not talking about the sins of others. I am talking about my own sins- your own sins that God sees. God is only concerned about your sins. He is only concerned about my sins- not everyone else’s- just mine. The only heart He sees right now at this moment is the individual one. He wants us to grasp the true knowledge of what it means to be a royal priesthood, set apart and consecrated for His glory and for His purpose. I have not strived to bloodshed yet, resisting sin- have you?

 Let us come today before our Holy God and offer the sacrifice of a consecrated life. Let us come before our God today and empty ourselves of self and allow Him to set us apart to be the royal priesthood under the control and direction of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Even if it means we enter heaven’s gates blind and limping! To You O Lord be glory, forever and ever. Amen and Amen.