The seeker after holiness is told that he must consecrate [set apart, devote] himself, and he endeavors to do so. But at once he meets with a difficulty. He has done it and yet he finds no difference in his experience; nothing seems changed, as he has been led to expect it would be, and he is completely baffled, and asks the question almost despairingly, “How am I to know when I am consecrated?”
The one chief temptation that meets the soul at this juncture is the same that assaults it all along the pathway, at every step of its progress; namely, the question as to feelings. We cannot believe we are consecrated until we feel that we are: and because we do not feel that God has taken us in hand, we cannot believe that He has. As usual, we put feelings first, and faith second, and the fact last of all. No, God’s invariable rule in everything is, fact first, faith second, and feeling last of all; and it is striving against the inevitable when we seek to change this order.
The way, then, to meet this temptation in reference to consecration, is simply to take God’s side in the matter, and to adopt His order, by putting faith before feeling. Give yourself to the Lord definitely and fully, asking the Holy Spirit to show you all that is contrary to Him, either in your heart or life. If He shows you anything, give it to the Lord immediately, and say in reference to it, “Thy will be done.” If He shows you nothing, then you must believe that there is nothing and must conclude that you have given Him all. Then recognize that it must be the fact, that, when you give yourself to God He accepts you; and at once let your faith take hold of this fact. Begin to believe, and hold on to it steadfastly, that He has taken that which you have surrendered to Him. You positively must not wait to feel either that you have given yourself, or that God has taken you. You must simply believe it, and reckon it to be the case. And if you are steadfast in this reckoning, sooner or later the feeling will come, and you will realize that it is indeed a blessed fact that you are wholly the Lord’s . …
But if the soul still feels in doubt or difficulty, let me refer you to a New Testament declaration which approaches the subject from a different side, but which settles it, I think, quite as definitely. It is in 1 John 5:14-15, and reads, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” Is it according to His will that you should be entirely surrendered to Him? There can be, of course, but one answer to this, for He has commanded it. Is it not also according to His will that He should work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure? This question also can have but one answer, for He has declared it to be His purpose. You know, then, that these things are according to His will; therefore, on God’s own word, you are obliged to know that He hears you. And knowing this much, you are compelled to go farther, and know that you have the petitions that you have desired of Him
Inspired by Amber Penney
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