Sacrifice and Consecration- Summary

I had very personal reasons to do this particular research. Which makes sense, this is a personal blog. But even if my situation was different from yours, I do believe that the principles we have discussed are generally useful.

The differences between sacrifice and consecration are an excellent example of how the gospel is both wonderfully simple and delightfully complex at the same time. To satisfy both laws all one has to do is give to God whatever their conscience moves them to give. One’s duty is not any more complex than that.

But behind that simplicity there are systems and reasons. Behind the “what” we are supposed to do there is always the “why” we are supposed to do it. I am grateful for a God who recognizes that we will be naturally curious, and takes the time to explain things to us. My faith is reaffirmed whenever I go to the scriptures, and there discover that He already wrote the answers before I even conceived of the questions.

We Sacrifice Our Obstacles

Jesus might have done away with animal sacrifice, but that does not mean that sacrifice itself was done away with. That law is still in full force. The only difference is that instead of giving up our animals, we give up whatever things obstruct us from fully following God.
Most obviously this means our sins. We sacrifice anything that he has declared unworthy, anything that makes us feel guilty. We also sacrifice our excesses. For example, there is nothing wrong in entertainment and media…though we need to keep these indulgences within moderation.
This is not all, though. At times our conscience will prompt us to perform other sacrifices, too, even of things that are not inherently evil. I once had a dream to become an artist. I tried my hand at it and found it did not provide me the joy and fulfillment that I had hoped for. Artistry is a very right thing for some people, but after some soul searching I concluded that it was not right for me. I let that dream go.
3 Nephi 9:19-20- And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

We Consecrate Our Talents

There are things that we do not need to sacrifice, but that we do still need to offer to God. These offerings are called “consecration.” It means that we will set apart this thing for His work and His glory. This fundamentally alters the thing that we offer, but it does not destroy it.
Our talents are an example of something that we consecrate. Each of us has unique abilities and skills, and we are meant to use them for building up God’s kingdom. He does not ask us to give up the things that we were born to do, but He does ask us to do them in the way that He intended.
For myself, I have decided to consecrate my writing to God. Any novel that I intend to publish will purposefully be written with His messages at its core. It will be designed as a tool for promoting His kingdom and helping His children. But this is just the right choice for me and it might not be the right one for you, even if you are a writer. It is a personal thing that you have to work out with God.
2 Nephi 9:39- 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.

Consecration Preserves Forever

In the end our talents die with us. That which we perform on Earth, one day we will perform no more. And if we used our talents to obtain worldly wealth or glory, then all those will be lost when we pass on.
But if instead we used our talents to give a goodness to the world, that good will persist after we are gone. And if we used our talents to give glory to God, that glory will yet remain with Him because He is undying.
And God has declared that it is His intention to share His glory with us, and so that glory which we gave to Him will be returned to us in the hereafter. It would seem that karma does not end in the grave.
The more we understand consecration, the more we will want to commit our lives to it. In fact the idea is that we commit our whole selves to God, which then allows Him to restore us back in full measure. Each of us will live again, but only those who consecrate will have their heart waiting for them on the other side.
Matthew 16:25- For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

That They Might Have Joy- Personal Example #2

One of the motivations for this study was that I have been feeling an increase of joy over the past year and wanted to examine the reasons why. As I’ve considered the matter I have identified three basic reasons. Today I’ll discuss the second.

I’ve always been fascinated by the act of writing. I wrote stories all through my teenage years, I loved crafting essays in college, and even in my careers as a software development I do a form of writing every day. Surprisingly, though, I never thought of myself as “called” to write until a year-and-a-half ago.

March of 2018 I was attending a spiritual retreat up in the mountains where I had a lot of pondering and prayer. God spoke to my heart with many sacred messages, and one of them was an invitation to take my old hobby and make it a spiritual vocation.

I distinctly felt that God took pleasure in my writing. The thought occurred to me that He is a supremely creative being, and my own desire for creativity is a sign of my being His son. It was time to start taking that gift seriously.

As a result I began a blog where I examine the principles of storytelling and publish short stories. I also began working in earnest on a novel, one which communicates the deepest feelings of my heart. And last of all I began this second spiritual blog six months ago.

My skills still have a long way to go, but the fact is I am already so much more fulfilled by doing that which I feel was I was born to do. If what I write is good for anyone else, that is delightful. But already it is enough that what I write is good for me.