Consecration is going all in and all out for the All in All. – Mark Batterson from All in.
More than a hundred years ago, a British revivalist issued a holy dare that would change a life, a city, and a generation. That timeless challenge echoes across every generation: “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”
The original hearer of that call to consecration was D. L. Moody. When those words hit his eardrums, they didn’t just fire across synapses and register in his auditory cortex. They shot straight to his soul. That call to consecration defined his life. And his life, in turn, defined consecration.
It was Moody’s all in moment.
Maybe this is yours?
In The Circle Maker, the prequel to this book, I wrote about the importance of prayer. It’s the difference between the best you can do and the best God can do. You’ve got to pray a circle around the promises of God the same way the Israelites circled Jericho. And you keep circling until He answers. But you can’t just pray like it depends on God. You also have to work like it depends on you. You can’t just draw the circle. You also have to draw a line in the sand.
You are only one decision away from a totally different life. Of course, it will probably be the toughest decision you’ll ever make. But if you have the courage to completely surrender yourself to the lordship of Jesus Christ, there is no telling what God will do. All bets are off because all bets are on God.
L. Moody left an indelible imprint on his generation. In the late 1800s, his sermons contributed to a great spiritual awakening worldwide. And more than a century later, his passion for the gospel continues to indirectly influence millions of people through Moody Church, Moody Bible Institute, and Moody Publishers. Moody left an amazing legacy, but it all started with a call to consecration. It always does. And nothing has changed. The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.
Why not you?
Why not now?
Anytime God is about to do something amazing in our lives, He calls us to consecrate ourselves to Him. That pattern was established right before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and conquered the Promised Land.
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
Here’s our fundamental problem: we try to do God’s job for Him. We want to do amazing things for God. And that seems noble, but we’ve got it backward. God wants to do amazing things for us. That’s His job, not ours. Our job is consecration. That’s it. And if we do our job, God will most certainly do His.
Before I tell you what consecration is, let me tell you what it isn’t.
It’s not going to church once a week.
It’s not daily devotions.
It’s not fasting during Lent.
It’s not keeping the Ten Commandments.
It’s not sharing your faith with friends.
It’s not giving God the tithe.
It’s not repeating the sinner’s prayer.
It’s not volunteering for a ministry.
It’s not leading a small group.
It’s not raising your hands in worship.
It’s not going on a mission trip.
All of those things are good things, but that isn’t consecration.
It’s more than behavior modification. It’s more than conformity to a moral code. It’s more than doing good deeds. It’s something deeper, something truer.
The word consecrate means to set yourself apart. By definition, consecration demands full devotion. It’s dethroning yourself and enthroning Jesus Christ. It’s the complete divestiture of all self-interest. It’s giving God veto power. It’s surrendering all of you to all of Him. It’s a simple recognition that every second of time, every ounce of energy, and every penny of money is a gift from God and for God. Consecration is an ever-deepening love for Jesus, a childlike trust in the heavenly Father, and a blind obedience to the Holy Spirit. Consecration is all that and a thousand things more. But for the sake of simplicity, let me give you my personal definition of consecration.
Consecration is going all in and all out for the All in All.
My greatest concern as a pastor is that people can go to church every week of their lives and never go all in with Jesus Christ. They can follow the rules but never follow Christ. I’m afraid we’ve cheapened the gospel by allowing people to buy in without selling out. We’ve made it too convenient, too comfortable. We’ve given people just enough Jesus to be bored but not enough to feel the surge of holy adrenaline that courses through your veins when you decide to follow Him no matter what, no matter where, no matter when.
The Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard believed that boredom was the root of all evil. In other words, boredom isn’t just boring. It’s wrong. You cannot be in the presence of God and be bored at the same time. For that matter, you cannot be in the will of God and be bored at the same time. If you follow in the footsteps of Jesus, it will be anything but boring.
The choice is yours — consecration or boredom? It’s one or the other. If you don’t consecrate yourself to Christ, you’ll get bored. If you do, you won’t. And that is where the battle is won or lost. If you don’t go all in, you’ll never enter the Promised Land. But if you go all out, God will part the Jordan River so you can cross through on dry ground.
Stop trying to do God’s job for Him. You don’t have to do amazing things. You can’t do amazing things. Amazing always begins with consecration. It’s the catalyst behind every spiritual growth spurt, every kingdom cause, and every revival. And just as amazing always begins with consecration, consecration always ends with amazing.
When you look back on your life, the greatest moments will be the moments when you went all in.
It’s as true today as it was the day Abraham placed Isaac on the altar, the day Jonathan climbed a cliff to fight the Philistines, and the day Peter got out of the boat and walked on water.
The longer I follow Jesus, the more convinced I am of this simple truth: God doesn’t do what God does because of us. God does what God does in spite of us. All you have to do is stay out of the way.
It’s that simple. It’s that difficult.
Stay humble. Stay hungry.
If you aren’t hungry for God, you are full of yourself. That’s why God cannot fill you with His Spirit. But if you will empty yourself, if you will die to self, you’ll be a different person. As I wrote this book, I prayed that God would rewrite your life. It starts with giving the Author and Perfecter of your faith full editorial control. If you let go and let God take control, He’ll write history, His Story, through your life.