THINGS TO CONSECRATE
The first thing we should consecrate are the people we love. If a man does not love the Lord more than his parents, wife, children, and friends, he is not worthy to be the Lord’s disciple. If you have consecrated yourself to the Lord, there should be no one in this world that can occupy your heart and nothing that can capture your heart any longer. God saves you in order to gain you wholly. Many tears pull you back. Many human sentiments bid you to return to them. Many heartbreaks persuade you to turn back. You have to say, "Lord, all my relationships with men are on the altar. My relationship with the whole world is over."
When the wife of a brother was sick, and others asked him to pray for his wife, he said, "God has not told me to pray for her yet!" When another asked whether he would grieve if his wife died, he said, "She has died to me already." Another brother had a good friend, and God wanted him to drop this friend. He could only obey. He told the Lord, "If You want this, I am willing to give it up."
God has given Christ to us as our overcoming life so that we would not only know His will but also obey it. We must never think that the overcoming life only delivers us from sin on the negative side. The real overcoming life enables us to fellowship with God and to obey His will on the positive side. God gives us His overcoming life so that we can meet His goal, not so that He can meet our goal. No Christian can hold on to any person. Tonight if the people we love are not consecrated, we cannot satisfy God. The people have to go. We must say, "Whom do I have in heaven but You?/And besides You there is nothing I desire on earth" (Psa. 73:25). We must say, "I will serve the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my soul."
I loved Miss M.E. Barber because she was a person who truly loved the Lord with all her heart, all her mind, and all her soul. After she died, I found the following note in her Bible next to the verse, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matt. 22:37): "Lord, I thank You that there is such a commandment." We often think that it is a grievous thing that God has so many commandments. But we should say, "Lord, I thank You that there is such a commandment."
Even if the Lord has given someone to you, He will not allow you to be attached to him or her. He will not allow you to be attached to your wife, your children, or your friends. Even the Isaac that God promised had to be put on the altar. Many Christians have failed because their hearts are captured by people.
We have to consecrate not only people but also affairs. We often make up our mind to do many things and are determined to accomplish them. But we have not sought after God’s will in these affairs. A brother was determined to make the top grade on his graduation examination and to rank at the top in his college class. All of his time and energy were spent on his studies. After he entered the overcoming experience, he committed this matter to God. From that time on, he was willing to follow God even if it meant coming in last on his examination.
Brothers and sisters, you may feel justified in putting all your time into your career, but if you do not have an intimate fellowship with the Lord, your career will not profit anything. You cherish some hope for your career and are not willing to let it go. You have some kind of expectation in your job which you are willing to fulfill by any means. If you act in this way, you have to consecrate yourself. You cannot allow one thing to entangle you. There are many brothers and sisters whose pursuit of education becomes their hope; they hope to excel above others. This is a hope mixed with pride. I am not saying that you should drop out of school, but I am saying that you should leave everything behind if the Lord calls you.
There was a brother who was an orphan, who grew up in a poor family. He drew beautiful calligraphy and was also very good at music. In the orphanage, while others were learning woodcraft and masonry, he was able to enter high school. He received awards every term. After he finished two years of college, the school decided to send him to St. John’s College in Shanghai for two years and then to America on the condition that he come back after his study abroad to serve his school. Both his mother and uncle wrote letters to congratulate him. Two months before he was scheduled to leave, he was saved, and many of his former hopes were shattered. At the same time, he consecrated himself to the Lord. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said he had made up his mind to go and was ready to sign the agreement. He told me, "You have been my classmate for eight years. Have you not known of my aspirations all along?" When we were about to part, I said, "Today, we are still brothers. But I fear that when you come back from America, you will no longer be my brother." At that word he went to the Lord and prayed, "God, You know my aspirations. I know that You have called me, but I cannot drop my aspirations. However, if it is Your desire, I am willing to go to the villages to preach the gospel." After his prayer, he went to the principal and told him that he had decided not to sign the agreement and would no longer be going. The principal asked whether he was sick, and he answered, "The Lord has called me to preach the gospel for Him." Four days later, his uncle, cousins, and mother came. The mother said in tears, "Since your father died, I have struggled all these years with the hope that you would one day come out ahead of others to support me. Today you have a chance, yet you are throwing it away." The mother kept crying, while the uncle went on to say, "Before you entered this orphanage, I was the one who raised you. I also took care of your mother. Now you owe this to both of us. Your cousins do not even have the money to go to school, and yet you want to throw away this great opportunity." They also came to me and said, "Mr. Nee, you do not need to support your parents, but he will have to support us." Our brother was pressed on both sides. He asked the Lord what he should do. Then he realized that he owed men but little, but that he owed the Lord much more. He promised to support his mother and uncle, but he also told them that he could not satisfy their aspirations and had to obey the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, we all should consecrate our affairs to the Lord. I am not saying that all of us have to give ourselves to be preachers. I am saying that all of us have to consecrate everything to the Lord. What is consecration? What does it mean to offer ourselves up? It is to declare, "Lord, I will do Your will." Many people think that consecration is offering up oneself to be a preacher. No, we consecrate ourselves to do God’s will. Many people realize through a genuine consecration that they should be faithful in their business and supply the need of God’s work. As a result they give up their preaching work. Many others are motivated by the present needs and the needs in frontier lands to devote themselves to the preaching work. During the past few years, we have been short of co-workers. If God is to work among us, many brothers and sisters will give themselves to serve the Lord full-time in the near future. They will find that they must consecrate all of their affairs to the Lord.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, Chapter 12, by Watchman Nee)