Consecration of our Safety, Security, and Health :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

Consecration of our Safety, Security, and Health

Forrest McPhail
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Is your life consecrated to God? What does a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) look like? The topic of consecration, of giving ourselves to God, is a broad topic. I would like to focus our attention on consecration as it relates specifically to comfort and security, particularly as applied to cross-cultural missionaries. Everyone rightly motivated for missions wants to be consecrated to God. Most would probably consider themselves consecrated to Him the best they know to be. But few take time to meditate on what consecration really means.

Many believers seem strong in Christ until an unexpected and debilitating illness strikes, their financial security is jeopardized, or they feel vulnerable or threatened. When such times occur, all of us are tested and affected by these tests. The struggle may be even more intense if our lives have been comfortable and secure for a long time. The testing can be very hard on us emotionally and spiritually. Many (perhaps most) of us tend to idolize emotional and material comfort and security more than we realize.

Consecration includes a willingness to take risks.

Some avoid the possibility of serving cross-culturally because they don’t want to be at risk. They don’t want to submit themselves or their families to greater health risks. After all, they have heard the stories. They might not want to be financially dependent upon churches or individuals that might stop giving at any time. Situations where vulnerability to persecution, crime, or even physical abuse also present risk. Unless the risk-adverse come to the place where they give these things to the Lord and commit themselves to His care, they will never be available to serve in the Lord’s harvest fields. Praise the Lord that some find victory over these fears!

Consecration is a basic requirement for missionaries.

Consecration is non-negotiable for serving Jesus Christ. To serve as a cross-cultural missionary, one must confess before God and man a willingness to face suffering, and even death, for the advancement of the Gospel in unreached and less-reached places. Once a missionary does this and commits to go, God’s people usually respond to this heart of sacrifice and willingness to do hard things. They support missionaries in prayer and giving. No church should consider sending a missionary who is not yet consecrated to Christ in this way.

Consecration is continual.  

While some of us may have experienced a powerful watershed moment of consecration, most of us find that consecration is not a once-for-all matter. The consecration of our health, financial security, and physical safety are areas of life that must be given to God again and again as each new test or affliction comes. How can we do this? We must fix our eyes on the One who is our greatest example of consecration, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the greatest example of consecration.

The Gospel of John emphasizes the full consecration of Jesus to do His Father’s will. Jesus was fully devoted to say and do only what pleased His Father. This wholehearted desire of Jesus brought glory to the Father. The Father’s will for God the Son was to experience shame and suffering for the sins of the world in ways far beyond our comprehension. The Son knew this and fulfilled His Father’s will, trusting His goodness, sovereignty, and plan in everything. John demonstrates this theme throughout his Gospel.

The Son of God became man to do the Father’s will, even though it included known unimaginable suffering:

12:27–28a Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’1

See also John 3:16, 3:34, 8:42, and 10:17–18.

Jesus focused on doing the Father’s will in everything, no matter life’s circumstances:

5:19, 30 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise ... I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”

See also John 6:38, 7:16–17, 8:28–29, 12:49–50, 14:10, 24, 17:4, and 19:30.

Jesus kept His gaze upon the glory to come.

Jesus frequently spoke of how He was going to return to the Father, to heaven, to His former glory:

13:1, 3, 31 Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end ... Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God … When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.”

See also John 12:23, 14:2–4, 16:28, and 17:13.

To pursue consecration to God is to pursue Christlikeness. To be like Jesus is to be fully devoted to the will of the Father. This includes all of life’s circumstances, all things physical and spiritual. It is to remain fixed in our hearts upon our eternal hope and not merely the present.

Jesus calls us to follow Him in consecration to the Father.

12:24–26 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

We will receive honor and glory through Jesus. Self-denial, the battle against the flesh, will end one day.

At times, we all resist consecration as Peter did.

The risen Jesus questioned Peter’s love and had him confirm his love to Jesus three times. After this, Jesus said to Peter,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” You follow me (21:18-22).

Peter struggled with the promise of loss of liberty and physical suffering foretold by Christ. But maybe greater still, he struggled with “fairness,” the possibility that others who serve Christ might not be called to the same level of suffering.

Peter needed consecration. He needed to understand his need to submit his will to Christ. He needed to be able to pray daily, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Matthew 6:10). He needed to put down selfish ambition by the grace of God. And so must we.


Jesus says, “Follow me” in consecration to the Father’s will, being willing to experience self-denial in whatever way brings God glory. Dying to self to serve God and bring life to others is the way of Christ.

When you just arrive on the field, and you are overwhelmed with all things new and difficult and your young family gets devastated with illness, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When your living conditions are far less than desirable or comfortable, or nowhere near as secure as you would prefer, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When you are suffering with unusual illnesses that leave you debilitated for months, or even have affected you long-term, limiting your ability to accomplish what you have earnestly planned for, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When the burden of obtaining visas for your family and all of the red tape seems unbearable, “Follow Me.”

When you grow old and the limitations are too many, and you have to consider retiring from the field where you have loved to serve, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When, in order to effectively serve, you live in a place under constant threat of violence or abuse, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When the electricity goes down or the water runs out—again, “Follow me.”

When you long for children and suffer a miscarriage, even more than one, or you are not able to bear children at all, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

Worn down by the heat, or dust, the urban sprawl, or pollution, or physical intensity of your circumstances, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When our children suffer, or our spouse is diagnosed with something life-altering, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

When suffering fears about those afflictions or traumas that might occur because of the vulnerable situation you are in, Jesus says, “Follow me.”

Growth in consecration requires growth in trusting and following Jesus in every circumstance of life. Has God spoken to you about something you need to consecrate to Him today? Give it to Him.


1 Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), Copyright © 2008 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.