Have you been faced with a decision to lay down something precious?
A beautiful dress, a guy you love and desire to get married to, a job, a friendship… something you treasure, but somehow you feel an urge in your spirit to let it go.
Maybe because it doesn’t align with God’s will for your life, or for reasons you don’t even know.
Sometimes, we try to silence the prompting and move on with our lives. Or we argue, giving reasons and excuses why we can’t let that precious thing or person slip off our hands.
That’s one of the things that stands between a man and his/her friendship with God.
On the other hand, if you trace the lives of those who walk with God, who are friends with God, whose relationship with God you envy, they are men and women of CONSECRATION. They are people who have laid down something and are willing to lay down more for the sake of a continual pursuit of friendship with God.
We’ve been learning from the life of Abraham.
In the first week, I told you there are 3 Cs I discovered from his life that made him a friend of God. We saw his Confidence in God, and then his Communion with God. This week, we’ll be discussing His Consecration to God.
Consecration and Burnt Offerings
Consecration means to make holy or to dedicate to a higher purpose… and the higher purpose we are called to dedicate to is God – and His word.
In Romans 12: 1, the Bible says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Abraham understood that he and all that belonged to him were all for God. No wonder why when God told him to “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22: 2), “Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.” (Gen 22: 3)
I believe Abraham remembered God’s promise of raising generations through this covenant child – Isaac. He remembered his years of waiting and trusting God for this dear son. And now, he had to go offer him as a burnt offering.
Leviticus 1: 6-17 and 6: 8-11 teach us how burnt offerings were done. The animals sacrificed as burnt offerings were wholly burned with fire except in cases where a part was reserved for the priests.
The early rising, sailing, cleaving the wood, and going 3 day’s journey to slay his son of promise proves Abraham’s deliberate and complete obedience to God. He was a man of deep consecration. A Bible commentary lists out these 7 consecrations of Abraham:
1. To leave his native land 12: 1
2. To leave his own kindred 12: 1
3. To follow God’s leading 12: 1
4. To separate from lot 13: 5-18
5. To give up his plans for Ishmael 17: 15-27
6. To cast out Hagar and Ishamel 21: 9-21
7. To offer up Isaac 22: 1-19
So how do we apply these lessons from Abraham’s consecration to our pursuit of a friendship with God?
3 Essentials For A Life of Consecration and Pursuit of Friendship with God
1. Your treasured possession
God demands and expects the best from us. Even in the old testament, when they sacrifice animals, they always have to bring the best. You remember the sacrifices of Cain and Abel, in Genesis 4: 3-5 “… that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect…”
Abel brought the firstling, and the fat thereof – the best of the best. But for Cain, we didn’t see something peculiar about his offering. God took note.
It is one thing to offer something to God, it is another to give our best. The best of our skills, time, possessions – anything and everything. And always, those things you offer will cost you something. It might cost you temporary comfort, sleep, food, some relationships, or possessions you’ll have loved to have. But whatever you offer with your whole heart to God is not in vain. They are like seeds planted; that will germinate and bear fruits. You read the stories of great men and women, and you see them share stories of laying down everything to God blindly, even when their loved ones regarded their decisions as foolishness.
May we not be like that young man in Matt 19: 21-22: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”
This man desired to follow Jesus, but he wasn’t willing to consecrate his treasured possessions. He would have gained back much more than he gave out – on earth and in eternity – and made a mark in this world for the Lord, but he cherished his treasures more than a friendship with God.
What is that precious thing you possess or pursue? If God asks you to lay it down, will you be willing to do that?
2. Your willingness, God’s concern
Sometimes, God wants to see the intensity of your pursuit of Him. Do you desire Him with all your heart? Or is there something more precious to you than Him?
I recently read a story written by pastor Zac Poonen:
I met a brother once who was willing to take up any vocation except full-time Christian service. I told him that it was this r reservation that kept him from being clear about God’s plan for his life. When he finally yielded all to the Lord, he immediately gained a deeper assurance of God’s will. God did not call him to full-time Christian service, but He wanted him to be willing.
God wants us to be willing!
Pastor Zac went on to write:
Many who come to God under the pretext of wanting to know His will really want only His approval of a path they have already chosen for themselves. Hence, they receive no answer from Him. How soon our problems of guidance would be solved, if only we gave ourselves without any reserve to our Lord saying, “Lord, I am willing to accept anything, if Thou wilt only assure me that it is Thy will. Choose Thou for me, my Lord. I have no choice of my own in this matter.” It was Abra ham’s willingness to go anywhere and to do anything at any time for God that made him the “Friend of God.”
3. Your life, a living sacrifice
God doesn’t primarily want our money, gifts or time. What He wants most from you and me is our lives. You remember Romans 12: 1 we read earlier, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
When you understand that YOU belong to God, it’s easier to consecrate everything you possess to Him.
No sacrifice should be too great for Him who gave Himself for us.Harry Ironside
1 thought on “An offering, your treasured possession, and a lasting friendship with God”
To get the best from God, we must be willing to offer our best to Him.
God doesn’t just demand our best, but deserve our best.
More grace for your ministry Chiamaka