“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” - (Mark 12:30).
Our greatest privilege is to hunger after God and seek Him with all our heart. There is nothing else more fulfilling than living wholeheartedly for Him in this life, but so few live lives that provoke us to this kind of radical lifestyle. Even many in the unconverted world are looking for people who have such a passion that no sacrifice will stop them in their pursuit.
One example just recently is the 64-year-old long-distance swimmer, Diana Nyad, who broke the record with a 53-hour, 110 mile Cuba-to-Florida swim. This was her 5th attempt and her life-long dream of 35 years. Against all odds, including jellyfish, age, distance and sharks, she came on shore welcomed by crowds snapping photos, with the simple message, "We should never give up. You are never too old to chase your dreams." Diane was passionate, radical, and determined. It was on national news. A newspaper article said that this was an inspiration to Baby Boomers everywhere!
If one person can inspire multitudes through passion in swimming, shouldn't we as Christians influence many who are lost by our wholehearted consecration to God?
But in order to do this, each one of us needs the heart revelation that God loves us wholeheartedly. We need our heart to be awakened to this incredible truth. God is not asking us to do something that He himself does not do. He loves us first. Our wholehearted God is wholehearted towards each one of us. He gives us grace to receive His love and to give it back to Him. The revelation of this incredible love of God is the very launching point for a consecrated life of total and wholehearted abandonment.
Consecration to God is something we see little of in a world that is looking for excitement, quick fixes, and glamor. Where are those that can say?
“I want God and nothing else in this world. I want to go as far as it is possible for a human to go in seeking after God and living abandoned to Him. My heart pants after God (Psalm 42). I want to provoke others to jealousy by my choices day-by-day and hour-by-hour to live for God and Him alone.”
This is the kind of life that will touch the world with the reality of what it really means to be a lover of God. The world has only a false glamour because it doesn’t really satisfy. It promises high rewards, but it only leads to disappointment and death. But what does it mean to live a consecrated life? What are some ways to begin to live like this?
A Consecrated Life
Every December here at IHOP we have a “OneThing” conference. Around 25,000 young adults descend upon Kansas City, with about 30,000 by web stream, to seek after God wholeheartedly. Why? This generation is tired of lukewarm Christianity. They are looking for the real thing, the one thing to give their lives to that will truly make them alive inside.
When you give God your all, life changes. God is looking all over the earth for those who are consecrated, those who will pray, those who will give their 100%. Recently we has a couple in their 90's, Frank and Marie Drown, speak to a group in our home. They were missionaries in Ecuador for 34 years. Frank is the one who recovered the bodies of the five missionary martyrs reaching the Alca Indians in Ecuador in 1956. Jim Elliot and Nate Saint were two of them. Perhaps you know of Jim's wife, Elisabeth Elliot, who has written many books. Frank shared the details of this heart-wrenching experience with tears.
Frank and Marie have lived consecrate lives. To this day they speak a message of consecration and sacrifice. It was a joy to listen to ones who had lived out commitment in the face of danger and all odds, reaching headhunters with the love of God. They shared with joy, and we experienced the overflow of consecrated lives.
What does it mean to be consecrated? Consecration is a voluntary act of committing oneself to worship, prayer, and service to God. The word “consecrated” literally means:“to unite by force with the sacred.” John the Baptist lived a consecrated life.
“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of God suffered violence and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).
There is an overflow of a consecrated life. You can’t hide it. Others see it, are drawn to it, and want it. Some are convicted and others hate it because it points out and rebukes the luke-warm and the dead. Spiritual violence is the expression of our willingness to pay any price of self-denial in seeking and obeying God. This is consecration. This is what revival is all about - a personal dedication to Jesus and no other; a commitment that is lived out only by grace and the power of God. Can you say to God?
“I’m hungry. I want more! Take me into the consecrated life. Nothing else satisfies. Make my heart alive in you and nothing else. Show me how to truly live for your glory.”
We are in the most intense time in human history. The pressures are mounting. In light of this, God wants us to walk in the greatest anointing this world has ever seen. We must be consecrated to God in times of crisis. We must separate ourselves from sin and unto union with God. How can we do this? We must set aside time for focused seeking after God, fasting, and devotion. We reap what we sow (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). The impact of focusing on God produces:
- A purposed heart - A desire in the heart to draw near to Him.
- A changed lifestyle - A lifestyle and behavior change. You spend your time, energy, and money in different ways.
- A reaping of consequences in God -When our actions change, we reap positive consequences in our relationship with God.
We just studied the book of Daniel here at the international House of Prayer. I encourage you to do the same. See Daniel studies. A serious study of this book can move you into a much more dedicated lifestyle.
Daniel was an example of a consecrated life. He separated himself unto God and lived differently than others. He positioned his heart after God and prayed three times a day. He fasted. He sought after God when no one was watching. His life was marked by miraculous deliverances (lion’s den, fiery furnace), visions and dreams, and God's favor. His life was alive to God’s purposes. He and John the Baptist led a consecrated life that has challenged and overflowed throughout the generations.
God is beginning to challenge the young to a life of prayer and devotion. Here at IHOP, I see young people from all over the world living a life of consecration in prayer day-by-day and hour-by-hour. It is overflowing to the nations, to the lost, and to people groups around the world. What God is starting worldwide in devotion and prayer is only building momentum. The world needs Jesus, and He is the only answer to a humanity that has gone terribly wrong.
Here are some simple ways to start:
- Cut out the unnecessary -Begin where you are, and ask God to help you focus and cut out those things that are not necessary.
- Make times for fasting and pray -Put it in your schedule, and consecrate these times to the Lord.
- Study Biblical examples -Study the book of Daniel and other Biblical characters who lived lives of devotion and consecration like John the Baptist, Moses, Paul, Joseph, etc.
- Pray through the Sermon on the Mount -Read and pray through the Sermon on the Mount on a regular basis (Matthew 5-7). It is all about a dedicated lifestyle.
- Receive grace to walk it out - You can't do it yourself. You need the Holy Spirit's help. Realize that none of us is fully committed yet. Don’t condemn yourself when you fall. We are all on the road. But we can walk day by day in all the light we receive. When we make a mistake, we push “delete” and start again. We need God’s grace for consecration. Join or like my Intercessors Arise International Facebook Page for regular prayer quotes, international prayer alerts, and motivation in prayer.
- Live in expectation - Receive God’s love in your own heart, and know that you will reap positive consequences by living a consecrated life.
Will you not recommit your life to Jesus today? Let Him take you by the hand into a life of consecration step-by-step, a life of total commitment. The joy of the Lord will be your strength, and He will give you daily grace to walk it out.
There is no greater joy than full surrender and a consecrated life. There is an overflow of blessing from a consecrated life.
Misty Edwards sings about this at a OneThing Conference. May God provoke us, young and old, to a wholehearted abandonment to God and His purposes.
“God designed us so that experiencing His love is the most pleasurable reality available to the human make-up. We were created to love God with all our heart. When we do not love God with a passionate heart, then our emotional life is out of balance. Life doe not work without pursuing this. We were created in such a way that we cannot live in wholeness without the pursuit of being wholehearted for God. If we have nothing to die for, then we have nothing to live for. Many in the body of Christ are suffering from spiritual boredom because they are not passionate in their pursuit to love God.” - Mike Bickle
*This Article Published 9/24/2013