Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
Being the last kid picked for dodgeball is the worst. Well, maybe not: it’s rivaled by looking around the cafeteria and not finding anyone who wants to sit with you. Or realizing you weren’t invited to the birthday party. Or sitting by yourself on the bus.
Feeling left out stinks. You’re conspicuously apart from everybody else and the fun that comes from fitting in.
In the kingdom of grace, there’s no left out—there’s only called out. You’ll find a beautiful verse in the Old Testament that sheds light on the unique nature of God’s family, and it occurs right before the Sea-Splitter acts again so Israel can move into their long-awaited land of promise. Mark Batterson points out that all the people have to do is consecrate themselves; God will take care of the wonder-working part. So often I forget and rearrange the order and the roles: “Hey, Daddy, You sit over there and watch me be awesome! Then I’ll be someone worth picking!” Why can’t I believe I was always His first choice? You were too.
So this idea of consecration… what is it? Remember that line in the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be Thy name?” It’s the hallowed bit, technically defined as to render sacred, to be holy, to be removed from common use, to be subject to special treatment, and to be forfeit to the sanctuary. It’s like Cinderella being plucked out of the ashy kitchen and set on a throne to rule as queen.
There are obviously mindsets she’ll have to leave behind and new ones to adopt. Monarchs don’t read up on “Ten Ways to Get Chimneysweeps to Notice You” anymore. Instead, they learn the gracious rhythms of royalty. There’s an intentional abandonment that comes with the crown.
What if we lived as consecrated people? Not afraid of standing out—embracing it. Stepping fully into our birthright as other. Remembering that the blood changes us for the best. If the whole Cinderella idea was too girly, consider that moment at the end of The Maze Runner series where good blood turns zombies back into people. (Sorry for the spoiler, but how else were they supposed to conclude that epic plot?) Serving girls, zombies, whatever. We were all individuals who couldn’t save ourselves from a bleak future, rescued by the rare Someone who could and set on a new path.
I won’t pull any punches and pretend like walking in consecration will be easy or convenient or filled with applause. (I mean, the King of the universe didn’t get that kind of parade, and we follow in His crimson footsteps.) In a culture swarming with desperate spiritual slaves (or zombies), watching redemption play out can cause offense. Ever heard the phrase, “Misery loves company?” This set-apart calling will inevitably attract critics, so it’s best to be prepared. Kitchen girls will laugh. Zombies will chase. Jesus urges us to count the cost before we begin.
I feel like January is especially suited for consecration. Why not? It’s a new year, and God’s all about working new wonders. How can I situate my mind, heart, body, and soul for the most uninhibited and joy-drenched kingdom effectiveness possible? The old thought patterns are stale. The old ways of speaking bring death. Where can I throw some windows open on the inside of me and let in the Light? Which posture welcomes the movement of heaven? And how shall we live set apart?
What might intentional abandonment look like in your life this year?