Day 3…

As I read through today’s Draw The Circle devotional, Mark Batterson talked about consecration. Consecration, as he put it, is death of self. It is a lifelong journey of surrender in total dedication to God. It is the process of not holding anything back from God.

As Batterson puts it:

“I know there is a fear that if we give more of ourselves to God, there will be less of us less, but it’s the exact opposite. It’s not until we die to ourself that we truly come alive. The more we give to God, the more we have and the more we become. It’s only in losing our lives that we truly find them.”

He tells of great men God like Dwight L. Moody and Jonathan Edwards who, when fully dedicated to the Lord, did amazing things for God during their lives. He tells the story found in Joshua where the Lord tells the Israelites to “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” (Joshua 3:5) They did; and the Lord did: He parted the Jordan River and crossed on dry ground.

But I found myself bristling against some of what he said. For instance, the very last sentence of today’s devotional reads:

“If we give more of ourselves to God, God will give more of Himself to us.”

God gave all of Himself when He gave His one and only son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) How much more can He give!?! It also sounds like a formula for performance. The more we give = the more we get. There’s something about that which is true. But there’s something that’s not quite right, too.

What about those that struggle? You and I have issues. Face it. We do. We all are sinners. Each day. Every day. I am desperately in need of God and His grace. With the formula above, I could easily believe that if I fail at giving God my all today, or if I give something to him one day in complete surrender and then take it back the next day, I’m a complete loser and a total failure. There are thousands of folks walking around believing that today. Thousands.

Because Jesus succeeded, we can fail.
Because Jesus surrendered, I can fall short in my surrender and not feel like a loser.
Because Jesus won, I’m free to lose.

When I fully grasp the freedom found in Jesus and what was accomplished on the Cross, I am humbly compelled to live my live wholly and completely for God. It’s isn’t a matter of me willingly surrendering. It’s not a matter of the will. It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus… and surrender just happens.

Yes, it is still a process. But, for me, it is not a process of surrender, it is a process of fully realizing the love God has for me in Christ Jesus. As I fully comprehend this complete, satisfying, all-encompassing love that heals all wounds and fills all voids, I find myself more and more completely consumed by His love… and more and more completely in love with Him.

I become more and more completely His. If that’s being consecrated, then so be it.

Better Than Counting Sheep

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Colossians 3:16a)

As I’ve written many times recently, for the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been memorizing a passage of Scripture, Colossians 3:1-17. I finally finished a couple of days ago, and am still thinking about the verses as I go through my day. I normally recite it silently when I go to bed at night and when I first open my eyes in the morning.

Last night, I discovered one more thing about memorizing Scripture. Not only do you think about it constantly as you go about your day, being reminded of various verses in different instances. Not only does it seemingly permeate every fabric of your being. Not only do you find yourself reciting it over and over. But last night, as I tried to recite it yet again, I only made it through the first four verses before I fell asleep. When I opened my eyes this morning, I realized that fact, and began reciting again, beginning with verse 5. I made it all the way through, but I noticed myself ready to fall asleep again.

I’m not saying reading or thinking about the Word of God is boring. Far from it. But instead, there may be nothing better than falling asleep basking in God’s Word. It’s like falling asleep in the Father’s arms.

It’s much better than counting sheep!

Especially Chosen…

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…” Colossians 3:12a

In his devotional book, Hidden in Christ, James Bryan Smith tells the story of Tim and Lori Gillach, who were sitting on the couch one evening when a thought came to Tim and he asked Lori, “What do you think God has put us on earth for?” After thinking, Lori answered, “To be parents.” Tim agreed. They are exceptional parents of two children, Smith relates, but that night, felt led to do more. At this stage in their lives, being a parent again would involve adoption.

So Lori began the research. After much searching, she discovered that baby girls in China were being abandoned to orphanages in large numbers. She did her research, which led them to plan the adoption of a little girl. Lori made the long journey to China, taking various forms of transportation, lasting a number of days. Finally, Lori met her little girl, which she and Tim had already named Chloe. Chloe had a shaven head because of lice and was thin. Lori immediately took Chloe into her arms and began the journey home. When Lori and Chloe reached their home airport, Tim and the other two kids were waiting with a sign that read, “Welcome Home Chloe!”

Chloe is now a grown young woman, and she knows, as many adopted children know, what it really means to be chosen. She is cherished and she knows it. She was in a dark place devoid of hope, and is now in a place of virtually boundless blessing.

In the verse above, when Paul says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people…”, he refers again to what God has done for us in Christ. We were in a dark place, without hope and destined for death, but are now alive in Christ. We were ALL chosen by God. “For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave his Son…” (John 3:16) He went to extreme lengths to demonstrate His love. We are loved with a boundless, undying love, and as I said yesterday, there’s nothing we can do about it! We cannot sin enough to stop it. We cannot run away from it. And we did nothing to earn it or merit it. God loves us because that is who He is. We are chosen, plucked from a world of darkness, and brought into the light of His Son… a world of hope and boundless blessing.

As Colossians 3:12 above says, we are holy and dearly loved. We are holy not because of our behavior (certainly not!), but because we are chosen. If we are Jesus-followers, we are children of God, with the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us. We are sacred. That is what holy means: sacred, uncommon, set apart for special use. You may have a family heirloom that is very special and you treat it differently than your other possessions. And just as you wouldn’t throw it into a mud puddle, a life full of sin isn’t befitting us either, since we are sacred, chosen, and dearly loved children of God. It is beneath us.

Really grasping the love of God is a game-changer for me. Knowing that I please God and that He loves and accepts me has changed me. I don’t have to try to earn God’s acceptance. I don’t have to clamor to please people. I am a child of God with Christ living in me and I live in the unshakeable Kingdom of God. I know my identity. I know who I am. I know whose I am.

And I am chosen, holy and dearly loved.

So are you.


I know I have a part to play in this thing called faith. I know that the Bible says:

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT).

But as strange as it sounds, I looked up the word “be”. There were a number of definitions and uses, but the one that fits its use in the Scripture above would be the same as used in the phrase, “Be careful” or “Be happy”.

The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary says that “be” is used to describe the identity of a person or thing; or used to describe the qualities of a person or thing; or used to describe the condition of a person or thing.

Identity. Qualities. Condition.


Because of Christ, my identity is holy. I have been chosen (you have been, too) to be set apart as an instrument of grace, to bring glory and honor to the One who did this for me. I am a child of God. That is my identity. I am BEING holy.

Because of Christ, the Holy Spirit of Christ now dwells within me. I am being transformed from glory to glory into the image of Christ. It is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me. I am no longer comforming to the pattern of this world but my mind is being renewed (little by little). I have the mind of Christ. If you are a follower of Jesus, you do too! I am not perfect. But I’m not who I used to be. The old is gone and the new has come. Those are my qualities. I have Christ dwelling within me. I am BEING holy.

Because of Christ, I eternally reside in the Kingdom of God. I have a home in heaven that awaits me. It will be glorious, to be sure. But that’s not all. Eternal life happen in the here and now! I am a participant in the divine nature of God! I get to watch God work in me and in the lives around me! No matter what happens to me or the world around me, I know that the Kingdom is unstoppable and unshakeable. No matter what Fox News or any other report says, in spite of the world around us, God’s Kingdom is not in trouble. The ending has been written! It’s victorious, and despite what happens in my world today or tomorrow, I am victorious, too! Unshakeable. That’s my condition. I am BEING holy.

The part I have to play in this journey of faith is to “be.” BE holy. Because of Christ, you and I are.

Good News indeed!