“Designated for a consecrated life.” I love that word, designated! Thesaurus gives these synonyms: chosen, elected, selected, voted, nominated.

When I came across designated in Romans 1:7 (Amplified), my heart exploded in praise. Paul wrote, “To [you then] all God’s beloved ones in Rome, called to be saints and designated for a consecrated life: Grace and spiritual blessing and peace be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

So…to you then, all God’s beloved ones in Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Colorado, California, throughout the world…we are called to be saints and designated for a consecrated life! And that means we’re entitled! Yes…entitled to grace and spiritual blessing and peace from our Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ!

If that’s true, why are we down in the dumps, overcome by worry and heartache, living alienated from the abundant life Jesus’ death and resurrection provided for us?

I think we haven’t caught the exhilaration of that truth—designated for a consecrated life. Think about it…designated for a consecrated life! How can we be satisfied with anything less?

Would you describe yours as a consecrated life? Have you wondered what it is? Have you known people who displayed it?

I was just a little girl of seven when I came to Jesus, asking him into my heart as my Savior. I’d been taught that he was the only begotten Son of God and that he loved me so much, he died on a cross to pay for my sins, rose again on the third day, and returned to Heaven where I’d live with him forever.

Growing up, I loved Jesus and wanted to please him. I felt satisfied with my average Christian life. When I landed my dream job at eighteen writing for our local newspaper, I found more than my calling to write. The Lord placed in my path three friends who displayed astonishing devotion, faith, and joy. Their extreme reliance on Christ gave me clues to that dimension of life Jesus called abundant.

Although Louise Barker was twenty years older, we became instant friends. Widowed at a young age and left to rear her thirteen-year-old son Byron alone, she displayed courage that reflected her devotion to the Lord and complete dependence on him. Her strength intrigued me, and her unwavering confidence in Jesus inspired me to draw near to him.

Returning from interviews, I often paused to chat with the newspaper’s receptionist, Freda Rose Wilhoit. I’d also become friends with her daughter, Donna, who was my age. As Freda and I shared our lives and concerns, she’d say, “I can’t wait to see how God works this out!” I’d never known anyone with such faith—faith that covered her with peace, no matter the circumstances. Freda introduced me to the writings of Andrew Murray. I read Absolute Surrender more than once, hungry for a faith like hers.

The happiest person I’d ever met, Harry Jones—a banker and civic leader—often stopped by the newsroom. He was always smiling and upbeat. I didn’t know him well but I sensed genuine joy. Although curious, I never asked him about the source. Years later his wife Cissy told me that early in their marriage, while involved in a group Bible study, they had fully surrendered their lives to the Lord. That explained the joy, but before hearing their story I only knew I had an unquenchable thirst for that overflowing joy and an ache to grow in my Christian walk.

While teaching a couples’ Sunday school class, I read aloud the focus verse for the week. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Although I’d read the verse many times, the meaning suddenly filled me with awe.

What an extraordinary way to live! The words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart acceptable in God’s sight!

What an extraordinary way to live! The words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart acceptable in God’s sight! Click To Tweet

I began seeking the Lord with all my heart. That met his only condition: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). I wanted to know what Jesus said and how he expected me to live. Reading through the gospels, I paid attention to his words. Using a concordance I did word studies on areas of need in my life.

Reading Christian books I came across puzzling terms that I learned mean the same thing: Christ-controlled personality, total commitment, full surrender, yielded life, lordship. How could I make those concepts a reality in my life?

I discovered the absolute requirement to experience abundant life is total surrender—giving my life completely to Christ, no strings attached. When I yield—fully commit all I am and have to the Lord and give him total control—the Holy Spirit produces fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

On an unforgettable spring morning, with a gush of tears I prayed surrendering my life to the Lord—past and present; future hopes and dreams; strengths and weaknesses; career and family. Instantly flooded with joy and peace, I had much to learn about living the surrendered life, but I’d taken the first step toward an incredible adventure exploring Christ’s abundance, the overflow of a consecrated life.

Have you caught the exhilaration? You were designated for a consecrated life!

Have you caught the exhilaration? You were designated for a consecrated life! Click To Tweet

Oh, you don’t feel worthy? We’re not worthy! But feeling has nothing to do with truth. We were designated for a consecrated life! How can you experience that? Start with this simple prayer.

Lord, I surrender my life completely to you—myself, my spouse, my children, my career, my home, my possessions, my finances, my talent, my time, my treasures, my ambitions, my past, my present, my future. I want to follow you wholeheartedly. Take the throne of my life, and reign in my heart as Lord of all. Fill me with your Spirit so my life overflows with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. Use me for your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Please tell me how living fully surrendered to Christ impacts your daily life. And I’d appreciate your sharing this with your friends!

(Adapted from Cabbages and Kings—Reflections on Living Abundantly in Christ)

© Dianne Barker 2019

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