If you’ve sought major change in any area of your life, you may have become disappointed to discover that God’s priorities for bringing about change are often different than our own.
You may come to him seeking freedom from pornography, wanting to be rid of your insecurity, hoping for a noticeable shift in your sexual desires, needing your broken heart healed, or pleading for a restored marriage.
You’ve prayed. You’ve waited. And still you’re waiting.
Doesn’t God care?
He does. Oh, he does.
I believe there are times God is like a good triage doctor treating a patient with multiple life-threatening wounds. He will sometimes leave one area of our lives unhealed for a time because something else needs attention first.
To us, the problem that demands immediate attention is the one causing us, or someone we love, the most pain. God cares about our pain, certainly. But he will not allow it to set his priorities. Like every good doctor, the Great Physician knows that sometimes that which hurts most is not what is most life-threatening.
Since the time of Jesus, many hop off the operating table because God does not bow to their demands. Not getting the results they are after in the timeframe they anticipated, they seek a second or third or fourth opinion until they find one that tickles their ears (2 Tim. 4:3). I’m not pointing fingers. I want my way, too. I am childish and demanding. There is a way that seems right to me, and I want it now.
What are we to do when our struggles go on and we’re tempted to give up?
We have two choices:
Abandon the journey or consecrate the journey.
To consecrate this journey to him means entrusting both our pain and our process to God. Consecration means setting something apart for the Lord, opening it to him unreservedly.
This can be difficult. For me, this is the ground where I wrestle with making him my main desire, over and above the results I’m after. To be clear, I’m honest with him about what I want because I don’t need to pretend I’m pious and strong (he knows me better than I know myself), but consecration means that ultimately I submit what I want to his discretion, deciding I choose him even if it means I do not get the other things I want.
But this isn’t just gritting my teeth and making myself submit. Because consecration involves opening myself to him, he is with me even as I wrestle. As I choose to open this part of my life to him again and again, something shifts. Not all at once perhaps, and not always perceptibly at first. My outer circumstances may even look very much the same, but something in my inner life shifts.
When we can consecrate our yet-to-be healed or still-unchanged places to God, everything can take on new meaning:
- Both victories and failures can become opportunities to experience God’s grace.
- Resisting temptation can become an act of worship.
- Leaving desires unmet can become desperation for God’s nearness.
- Neediness and vulnerability can become doorways to deeper friendship in the body of Christ.
- And the journey itself—however long it takes and no matter how outwardly successful it may or may not seem—can become an opportunity to grow more intimate with Jesus.
- Consecration means giving up my rights to have the life I want, and instead gratefully receiving the life he grants, knowing that he himself is the life I truly desire.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (John 15:5-9 ESV)
Question: What helps you consecrate (to set apart, to entrust) your journey to God? What are some practical steps toward consecrating our journey to him? Leave a comment below.