What are the steps of consecrating your life to God? What if you fail in some of these steps? Are there any special rewards for consecrating yourself to God?
1. Dedicate your heart to God
To consecrate yourself to God is to answer His call to spiritual consecration. (Lev.11:44). It means that you have a deep inner longing to live holy and want to be changed into the image of Jesus. (2 Cor.3:18). To dedicate your heart to God is to make a conscious, willing decision to surrender your soul, mind, heart, and body to God. This decision must be one of free will, mindful of the cost thereof, and flowing from a deep affection for God. No one will be able to keep such a resolution by striving alone. Such a person will certainly give up, once it becomes hard or difficult along the way. You alone can make the decision to consecrate yourself to God. No one can force you into it. Even those who seemingly consecrate themselves to God outwardly, will quickly be found wanting and lagging behind passionate lovers of God – those who are consumed with a longing after God within.
2. Reflect on your motives
Since consecration is a personal choice, it is important to reflect on and search out the true motive of your heart. Is this desire truly from within, or is it possible that you are giving in to outward pressures? Do you feel to do this because others are doing it? Or because it is expected from you? Or because you want to show God how much you love Him? God knows your heart. Do not allow yourself to be troubled whether you appear to have the right motives. View your commitment to Christ as a priority, not a secondary option or passive experience. As said before, your love, desire and longing after the Lord must move your heart into such action. A heart ready for consecration is discerned by the love and desire it feels for God, in response to the love God has for such a person.
Once you have reflected on your motives for consecrating yourself to the Lord, it is time to pray through each one of those things the Holy Spirit reveals to you. Give thanks for each right motive in your heart. Give thanks for the grace to consecrate yourself, for the privilege to lay down your life. Then, also spend time in thorough repentance for everything that may hinder you in your consecration to God. Little passions, desires, and longings you haven’t yet let go of. Acknowledge every little thing, leave no stone unturned. The freedom repentance brings to a sincere soul is beyond description. It sets you free and loosens you from every hold of the enemy on you. Once we taste the joyous fruit of repentance, it becomes a compelling desire of every consecrated soul to live as such in God’s presence, and everything hindering such freedom becomes a burden to quickly rid oneself of.
4. Separate yourself from the evils of the world
John writes in 1 John 2:16 – For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. Consecration is not only on a spiritual level. It also involves the consecration of the soul and the body. Our physical bodies will always be drawn to the ways of the world. Consecrating yourself means to give priority to spiritual things over physical things. It will require intentionally avoiding things that may hinder you from connecting with God or take away from your time with Him. That does not mean we only have to separate ourselves from what is evil. There are plenty of things in the physical world that are good. On a basic level, e.g. food and water are good, because it provides the human body with the nourishment it needs to survive. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a meal. But, when food becomes a problem, it is wise to separate yourself from that which separates you from God. In a fallen world, even good things can be appropriated and used for ill purposes. Eating too much, or eating too little, or eating the wrong foods. Food is just one example. Other examples can be exercise, or gardening, or even ministry. Everything that becomes your main focus apart from God, is worthwhile inspecting and to discerning (of dalk “evaluating”) with renewed attention. Therefore, rejecting the evils of the world does not mean that you have to reject the good things of the world. It only means that you have to reject the part where worldly/earthly things become imbalanced in terms of their importance to you. It also means that worldly things must become significantly less important than spiritual things in your life. On a practical level, this means you will have to separate yourself from things the world promotes, when the Holy Spirit convinces/convicts you that those things are wicked. Simultaneously, it also means to make a decision to only follow God’s will for your life. Even when it seems that his will is conflicting with priorities the world may dictate to you even when these worldly priorities it sounds reasonable. This is especially true when it comes to the way we look at our finances, romantic love, how we spend our time, friendships etc.
5. Draw closer to God
When consecrating our lives to God, it is not enough to merely reject the wicked things and ways of the world. That in itself, has little power to transform us. Transformation of the human spirit and soul comes from drinking from the ‘source of life’. But how do we do that? Just like watching the wrong movies, going to night clubs, drinking, smoking and fellowship with the wrong friends can be called ‘drinking from the world’, we need to drink from God who is our source of spiritual life. Our bodies and souls naturally long after the world. Deep within though, our spirit longs for God. At first, it may seem labour-some to busy oneself with spiritual things. But there is a law of attraction working in us through the Holy Spirit. (Rom.8:26). The more time and dedication you give to the things of the spirit, the more the spirit within you will thirst after walking in the ways of God. The easier it will become to continually turn to God.
How do I do this practically?
Prayer is certainly the most important discipline. Studying the Bible, praying in the spirit and waiting on God are some other valuable disciplines to put into place. All of these require time. Any activity that encourages you to keep God as the central focus of your life, falls into this category.
Consecration is not a single, once-off decision. It becomes a way of living. Once you decide to consecrate yourself, you must be prepared to continue pursuing God for the rest of your life. In a way, our consecration will never be “complete.” We never “arrive” or achieve perfect righteousness, perfection or holiness. He asks of us to make the commitment of consecration and then to actively pursue it for the rest of our lives. We will certainly stumble as we walk the path, even fall. Proverbs 24:16 has an encouraging promise: For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.
Prayers of dedication
There are wonderful Scriptures that show us how to give ourselves to the Lord, also in prayer. Following are a few to start with. Do add your own Scriptures, and pray them often and repeatedly in dedicating your heart to the Lord.
1 Samuel 3:10 – Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
Psalm 27:8 – When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
Psalm 63:1-8 (TPT) – Thirsting for God – For the Pure and Shining One.
O God of my life, I’m lovesick for you in this weary wilderness. I thirst with the deepest longings to love you more, with cravings in my heart that can’t be described. Such yearning grips my soul for you, my God! 2I’m energized every time I enter your heavenly sanctuary to seek more of your power and drink in more of your glory. 3For your tender mercies mean more to me than life itself. How I love and praise you, God! 4Daily I will worship you passionately and with all my heart. My arms will wave to you like banners of praise. 5I overflow with praise when I come before you, for the anointing of your presence satisfies me like nothing else. You are such a rich banquet of pleasure to my soul. 6-7I lie awake each night thinking of you and reflecting on how you help me like a father. I sing through the night under your splendour-shadow, offering up to you my songs of delight and joy! 8With passion I pursue and cling to you. Because I feel your grip on my life, I keep my soul close to your heart.