Sacrifice and Consecration- Personal Example

I shared at the end of my last study series about a fear I once had. This fear was that if I really tried to follow God, sooner or later He was going to ask me to sacrifice my creativity. He was going to point to all those silly, little stories that I loved to write and say “Enough of that childish stuff, you need to dedicate yourself to some real work now.”

That was a hard thing to face, because I had always considered my creativity to be an essential part of me. Surrendering it would feel like denying a core of who I am. As I spoke with God about these fears, He assured me that He had no intentions to make me sacrifice my creativity. In fact He pointed out that He is an extremely creative being Himself, and that I feel these creative longings because I am His son.

And then He did a most beautiful thing. He asked if I would allow Him to help me with my creativity. He asked if I would be willing to make a joint effort on the stories I write, one where I use my passion to communicate His messages. After all, why can’t a writer ask God’s advice on where a plot should go, or what a story’s theme should be?

So God didn’t take my stories away from me…but He did change them. And I have not sacrificed my creativity…but I have consecrated it.

And ever since that moment my writing has had so much more purpose, and my stories are full of so much more heart. When I write, I feel so much more enriched and complete. I feel that I am doing what I love, and that in so doing I am giving glory to God.

Sacrifice and Consecration- 2 Nephi 9:39, 3 Nephi 27:7

But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.

Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.

COMMENTARY

Ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee
Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name
Another way to understand consecration is that it is still your performance, but it is being rendered in the name of Christ. Examples of this would be giving a sermon in church, donating to a charity, or being a friend to someone in need. We do these things, and then we give God the glory for them, attesting that they were performed for the purpose of building up His name, and not our own.
That act of ascribing these works to God is what “sets them apart” from other good works that one might do. The question naturally arises: “Does God actually deserve the credit for what I did? Am I being falsely modest by ascribing it to His name?”
It’s an understandable query, but the answer to it is “no.” Once we recognize that God is the one behind our every good act, then giving Him the credit for them is only natural. Quite simply, no one does any good without the idea and desire for it having first been put in them by God, regardless of whether they realized it at the time or not.
Or as Jesus, himself, said: “Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God…the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.”
So let us do good actions, and let us be pleased with ourselves for so doing! But also let us remember to give to God the credit that He is rightfully due.

Sacrifice and Consecration- Acts 9:1-2, 19-22

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

COMMENTARY

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord
But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ
Saul was a very committed, very motivated man. He seems to have been a being of great power and capability, and one that struck fear into the hearts of the saints. Indeed he had a gift, but he put it to a terrible use.
When Saul was converted, two changes occurred in him, and I think it is important to note the difference between those changes.
First, he no longer breathed out “threatening and slaughter.” Indeed, some of the most beautiful messages of love and peace come from the epistles he later wrote.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:2- If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13- And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


It would seem that Paul sacrificed, or forever gave up, all of his hate and violence. He did not, however, become some meek simpleton. He was still just as committed, motivated, and powerful. Therefore it would not be appropriate to say that he “sacrificed” his gifts and talents. What he did do, though, was channel them to a new purpose. He consecrated, or set apart, these skills for the building up of God’s kingdom.
Coming to God entails sacrifice and consecration. Our evil parts are given away, but the good parts are repurposed for something higher.

Sacrifice and Consecration- Genesis 17:7, 18:19; Matthew 16:25

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

COMMENTARY

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord
God viewed the children of Abraham as set apart. God made a special covenant with them, and He expected Abraham to raise them in a particular manner. These covenant children were to be taught to follow the Lord, to maintain covenant marriages, and to be circumcised. The Bible carefully notes that Abraham faithfully adhered to each of these details with his own son. Even though Abraham did not end up sacrificing Isaac, by this obedience he consecrated Isaac to God.
Consecrated means to set apart for a holy purpose.
And if Abraham hadn’t consecrated Isaac to the Lord, then he would have lost his promise and eventually his son. Sooner or later death would have separated them and they would have no assurances in the afterlife. That is the way of the world. Each of us is given family relationships, but without some divine intervention all of them would be taken away by the grave.
The promise of heaven, though, is that we can forever dwell with those we love. The power of the grave is therefore defeated in the resurrection…but only if we are willing to turn ourselves and those we love over to the Lord.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
This, I believe, is the central lesson that the Lord was teaching Abraham when he asked him to sacrifice Isaac. Because Abraham did not try to withhold Isaac from God, God would preserve Isaac and return him to his father. Not just in that one moment, but in eternity.
I am a father myself, and right now my wife and I are the most important people in my young son’s life. I want to be with my son forever, though, and that means I need to raise him so that he will move from my embrace and into God’s. It will hurt when he matures and comes to rely upon God more than me, but that is how it has to be.
If we love something, our natural tendency is to keep it for ourselves. But if we do this we will literally love it to death, and then we will have it no more. We have to surrender that which we love to God. When we do, it is not lost, it is found in the hands of the only one who can preserve it to us forever.

Sacrifice and Consecration- Genesis 14:18-20, 22:10-13

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

COMMENTARY

And he gave him tithes of all
Lay not thine hand upon the lad…for now I know that thou fearest God

We commonly say that God required Abraham to sacrifice his son, but that is not true. What God required was for Abraham to be willing to sacrifice his son. It might seem a subtle distinction, but I believe it is significant.

  1. In the end, Abraham did sacrifice his tithes to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. Nothing was held back.
  2. In the end, Abraham did not sacrifice his son. He was held back from actually following through.

Now I don’t mean to discount the mental anguish that Abraham must have faced just by preparing to sacrifice his son. It surely was immense. Even so, it would seem that Abraham was able to recover from it. His life went on, and he continued faithful to the Lord.
I believe that much of the fear I have had in regards to sacrifice is that I don’t want God to break me by mistake. We have all manner of people who ask things of us: parents, teachers, friends, spouses; and even the ones that mean well sometimes ask more than they know, sometimes they hurt us in ways that they shouldn’t.
When we see this failing in those around us it can be easy to project the same fear onto God. What if he asks more of us than He should and accidentally damages us in irreparable ways? It is a misplaced fear, though, for He knows our own limits better than even we do! He knows what He should ask of us, and He knows what He should not. He will test us and He will bend us, but through it all He will maintain utmost respect for our tender hearts.

Sacrifice and Consecration- Question

In my last study I shared about a concern I used to have. I used to think that God would ask me to sacrifice all of the good things that I love. From the example of the scriptures I felt that there were three things that God asks people to sacrifice.

  1. Their sins. Such as when Jesus told the woman taken in adultery to “go and sin no more.”
  2. Their pleasures. Such as when Jesus told the rich ruler to sell his possessions and give to the poor.
  3. Their loves. Such as when Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac.

I was always at peace with the first two. I was excited to sacrifice my sins, and while I may not have been so “excited” to give up my worldly luxuries, I was resolved to the importance of it.

But when it came to that third, giving up the things that were good in my life, I felt a strong resistance. It frankly seemed wrong to me. God has since worked with me and helped to resolve my spiritual confusion. I now understand what things He asks us to sacrifice, what things He asks us to consecrate, and what the differences between them are.

I’ll share what I have learned, and also include all of the supporting scriptural passages. I would very much appreciate hearing any other perspectives on this in the meantime. Have you ever dreaded the sacrifices that God might ask of you? How have you resolved such fears? What was the outcome when you finally did?

Finding Our Purpose- Summary

Deciding to do this study topic was very easy. I felt like its message was already pervading so many of my other topics, and it was time to give it its due. This message means a great deal to me, I feel that life really begins only when one finds their calling and pursues it.

It’s easy to wish that I had begun my own calling earlier , but I know that I wasn’t ready before. Fulfilling your life purpose will never be a trivial thing. You need to be sorted out and on a firm foundation before you can do it, and getting to that place is always going to take some doing.

In the end it doesn’t matter so much when you arrive, it only matters that you do arrive. Now let’s examine the three core principles that I gleaned from this study.

Everyone Has a Purpose

I expect that my perspectives will evolve and refine over time, but this one I am sure that I will never stray from. I simply refuse to believe that there is anyone in this world who does not have a higher calling to fulfill. If you didn’t have a reason for being here then, simply, you wouldn’t be here. The fact of your existence is the proof of your purpose.
It is easy to be cynical and doubt that life has any higher meaning when we see so many people who do not live one. But just because people do not live a higher purpose does not mean that they do not have one, only that they are not living it. In the scriptures we hear of too many small and simple people becoming powerful emissaries of Christ for me to believe that anyone is too incapable to be an instrument for the Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:27- But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.
Jeremiah 1:5- Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee

Our Purpose Gives Glory

Even those tyrants who commit unspeakable atrocities came to this earth for a divine reason. Many of them were extremely powerful and extremely motivated and they could have been great. It is a terrible tragedy that they lost their way and used their capabilities for evil instead.
We all live in the midst of a battle of shifting luminance. We either add a light to this world, or else we plunge it deeper into darkness. God knows that there is more than enough of the darkness. If you still have any lingering doubts about whether you have a purpose, just ask yourself “could this world use a little more light or not?”
There will never be a time that we don’t need you to add your spark. It will always be better to add your glimmer, no matter how small you think it is. And if we wish to illuminate the world, all we have to do is let the light God put into us shine out. When we live the purpose He planted in our heart, then we are doing our part to brighten all the world.
Matthew 5:16- Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
1 Corinthians 12:26- And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

We All Need Help to Fulfill Our Purpose

Now sometimes we do want to make the world a brighter place, but then we feel that we are blocked. As I suggested up above, living out one’s purpose first requires being straightened out inside. If one is living in guilt, one cannot live their purpose. If one is living in suffering, one cannot live their purpose. If one is living incomplete, one cannot live their purpose.
There is no shame in admitting that we need help to do the things we are supposed to do. I believe many of us get confused on this point. If our calling is ours to live, doesn’t that mean we should be able to handle it all on our own? The surprising answer is no.
Because God does not give us a life to live. He gives us a life to live with Him. Therefore it is impossible to live the life that God intended for us alone, no one ever has. God’s purposes are beyond us, and they can only be attained by His miracles.
So if you have the desire to live your fullest life, but the inability to act on that desire, then the only question is whether you will seek the deliverance that you need. You know what healing to pray for, what resources to ask for, what lifting to plead for. Let go of any pride and humbly accept God’s help. It’s time for the two of you to start doing things together.
Exodus 4:11-12- And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord?
Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

John 15:16- Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.