A CONCLUDING WORD
After we have gone through the five main points of consecration, we should be quite clear concerning the lesson of consecration. From the standpoint of the truth, we can say that everything pertaining to the doctrine of consecration is included in these five points. From the standpoint of experience, as long as a person is truly consecrated, he will also have these five points; the only difference we can point out is that some may have experienced these matters in a stronger way, others in a weaker way; some more evidently, others more hiddenly. These five points of consecration, therefore, were not conceived in our imagination to indoctrinate people; rather, the actual condition of a consecrated person is our basis for unveiling these points and making them explicit. I do hope that through these explanations and investigations there will be on one hand a development of the consecration that is already in one’s inner being, and on the other hand that the defects or lack of intensity of one’s consecration may be revealed, that by this, one will be enabled to pursue and progress continuously in this experience.
We must realize that it is not possible to hit the climax of any experience of life by experiencing it just once. We need to pursue continuously, so that our experience will increase gradually and become fuller, until it reaches the stage of maturity. Although some brothers and sisters have consecrated themselves, yet they have only had a beginning; they have not had much experience in consecration. They need to pursue continuously and deepen their experience in this matter.
If we want to enter into a house, we usually need to walk a certain distance, after which we step into the door of the house. But in spiritual experience it is just the opposite. You must step inside the door first, and then you begin to walk. All experience of spiritual life requires that we first step inside the door and pass through a crisis to have a beginning; we should then walk another distance and continue to go forward, to pursue, and to experience further. The crisis experience of some people is quite weak and without weight; so they must still continue to pursue. On the other hand, some people have a crisis experience that is strong and weighty. Yet they likewise need to go on continually and pursue a deeper consecration.
Although all five points of consecration are included in the normal consecration experience of a person at the beginning as though they were already attained, yet this does not mean that his experience of consecration is complete. It has just begun; it is simply an entrance through the door. There is still a long way ahead which he is required to walk in the path of consecration. Consequently we must be steadfast in our consecration in every environment and practice our consecration in every affair, and at every opportunity we must reconsecrate ourselves afresh. By so doing we can go straight forward in the path of consecration.
In Old Testament times the burnt-offering had to be offered every day, not only in the morning, but also in the evening. On every Sabbath, at every new moon, and during every festival, special burnt-offerings were required (Num. 28). Special burnt-offerings were also needed at times of great events (Lev. 8:18, 28; 1 Kings 3:4, 15; 8:62-64). One offering was not sufficient; offerings were required daily, at every festival, and at every event. The burnt-offering, therefore, is one of the most important offerings in the Old Testament. Due to this, the brazen altar was even specifically called “the altar of burnt-offering.” The frequency of these offerings typifies to us the need for making a new consecration every day. When we come to special convocations and special events, we need to make special offerings. If we would consecrate ourselves repeatedly in this way, the experience of consecration would be increased and formed in us.
Many of us have read the biography of Madame Guyon. Through the account of her life we see that she was one who was steadfast in her consecration, and one who advanced continually. Consequently, we can clearly distinguish the five points of consecration expressed in her when she was advanced in years. The basis of her consecration was as firm as a rock. Whenever there was a controversy between her and the Lord, there was a rock under her feet on which she stood continually. She said to the Lord, “Lord, You have bought me!” The motive of her consecration was just like the mighty force of rushing waters; therefore, her consecration remained sweet and absolute. In her autobiography she often mentioned that she renewed her marriage vows to the Lord. This shows that in her inner being she was constantly touched and constrained by the love of the Lord, for a marriage vow is an expression of love at its highest. From the human standpoint, the path she trod was one of much suffering, but to her it was exceedingly sweet; because of the love of the Lord, her suffering was transformed to sweetness. The meaning of her consecration was even clearer. Although she was sometimes at home serving her husband and caring for her child, yet she was one who really remained in the hands of the Lord. She was willing to take her hands off and put herself entirely into the hands of God. She said to Him, “O God, if You want to use me, to beat me, to press me, or to mold me, I want to be at Your disposal; even if You want to cut me into pieces and kill me, I am at Your disposal. I am not in my own hands; I have handed myself over to You.” This particular point is especially clear in Madame Guyon. The purpose of her consecration was not muddled at all. She was really one who through consecration let God work within her, carve her, break her, and press her. Her function, therefore, was expressed in a very full way—it shone as the midday sun. We consider that in the last three centuries she has provided more life to the saints than anyone else. Because she let God work in her the most, she had the most to minister to others. Although she is dead, yet to this very day we obtain help through her. Finally, the result of her consecration causes us to worship God even more. She had no success in the world, nor in her spiritual work were there any future prospects. She could say that she was just a heap of ashes; everything was gone. On the other hand, in the universe, before God she is ever producing a sweet-smelling savor to His satisfaction and to the joy of His people. The experience of consecration with her truly reached its full maturity.
Having gone through all these matters related to consecration, we are enabled to understand that consecration is not just a knowing of the right of ownership in the mind or a feeling of love in our affections, nor is it only an attitude and expression of ours toward God. Actually speaking, consecration itself is a part of life; and for that matter, it is a major part of life. The experience of consecration, therefore, is really the experience of life. The fullness of one’s experience of life depends on the fullness of one’s experience of consecration. Hence, if one pursues the experience of consecration, it will enable him to grow in life. Furthermore, since consecration is a part of life, then by following this life and living in this life, the law of life will cause the five points of consecration to be clearly and spontaneously worked out in us. When we first consecrate ourselves, our experience is similar to an embryo in the mother’s womb—one cannot distinguish the ear, the eye, the mouth, and the nose. As we grow in life, however, these five points related to the experience of consecration gradually become formed in us. Then we really have a feeling that we have been bought by God and that all our rights are in His hand. We become a prisoner of His love because His love has pierced our hearts. We become a sacrifice indeed, laid on the altar for God’s enjoyment and satisfaction. We will be those who have been thoroughly worked over by God and are then able to work for Him. Our future will truly be as a handful of ashes. All our ways of escape outside of God’s will shall have been cut off; God only will be our future and our way. At that time the experience of our consecration will indeed have become matured. May we all, by the grace of the Lord, pursue and go on together.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)