Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Take My Life, and Let It Be Consecrated

Season:  Be Still

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks an important question. 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do the words that come out of your mouth reveal that your heart is fully dedicated, surrendered, to God? Are you filling your mind and your heart with the Word of God so that what comes out of your mouth will be messages for Him? 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, January 8.

This version of “Take My Life, and Let It Be” is from Nancy’s new piano CD called Be Still. During our current series, also called "Be Still," Nancy’s digging in to the rich meaning of the hymns on this CD.

Here’s Nancy. 

Nancy: I hope you’ve been enjoying this taste we’re giving this week of the new piano hymn CD called Be Still. I so enjoyed recording this. It’s taken me back to my childhood and growing up years, to be playing the piano and be playing these great hymns—many of which you don’t hear very often today.

Some of you have been asking if the piano score will be available so that others can play it, and the answer is, “Yes, it will be." It’s in production right now, and in the next several weeks it should be available at ReviveOurHearts.com. Go there, or contact our ministry, and ask when you can get a copy of that. (This will be available early February.)

The arrangements have been adapted, so they’ll be piano only. Hopefully those will be things you’ll enjoying playing and using in some of your churches.

There are different kinds of hymns that have different kinds of thrusts and emphases. Some of the hymns that I most enjoy are those that express a heart of consecration. They’re sometimes called hymns of aspiration, songs or hymns of longing, expressing to the Lord our desire to be closer to Him—to know Him, to walk with Him, to be consecrated fully to Him. 

That’s one of the ones we want to look at today. We talked yesterday about Frances Ridley Havergal and her great hymn “Like a River Glorious.” Frances was a committed believer. She was serving the Lord, but when she got to her mid-thirties, she felt that something was still missing in her Christian life.

It was then that she discovered a little book called All for Jesus. It talked about the importance of allowing Jesus to reign over every nook and cranny of our lives. As she read that book, Frances came to a fresh and complete consecration of herself to Christ as Lord.

Years later she wrote of that experience. She said it was on Advent Sunday, December 2, 1873:

I first saw clearly the blessedness of true consecration. I saw it as a flash of electric light, and what you see, you can never un-see. There must be full surrender before there can be full blessedness.

Did you get that? “There must be full surrender before there can be full blessedness.”

A short time later Frances spent several days visiting in a home with several other people. There were ten people staying in that home. Some of them were unconverted; some of them were not walking with the Lord, and Frances prayed, “Lord, would you give me everyone in this house for You?”

She began witnessing to them and one-on-one challenging them with the claims of Christ and ministering to them. Before she left, each one of them had made a commitment of their lives to Christ. On the last night of her five-day visit, she was too excited to sleep, because of what God was doing in all these people’s lives.

She stayed up most of the night writing what has become known as this great consecration hymn, “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” This term “consecration” or “consecrated” is not one that is part of our everyday language today—sadly. It needs to be more a part of our language.

But it’s a concept that’s often found throughout the Scripture, to be consecrated. We talk about offerings being consecrated to the Lord in the Old Testament. Many times the Scripture says, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great things.”

Consecration means “to declare or set apart as holy, sacred; to dedicate solemnly to a service or a goal; to sanctify.” It means to dedicate one’s life, one’s time, one’s possessions—whatever—to a specific purpose. Consecration is not just something you fall into or that happens to us by osmosis. It’s an intentional, deliberate, continual act of offering up our lives as a sacrifice to the Lord.

We want to be set apart for His kingdom purposes.

I think sometimes we have this image that consecration sounds like such an old, fuddy-duddy word; that it’s just for a few really holy people who are specially consecrated to the Lord . . . people like me who just teach the Bible and live in their little holy conclave or whatever. 

But consecration is not just for a select few. It’s for every believer. It ought to start at the point of our salvation, where we say, “Lord, I am yours. You gave Yourself for me, I give myself to You.” As we consecrate ourselves and our lives and our stuff and our families—and everything—to the Lord, we’re just giving back to Him what He has given us.

It all belongs to Him. It’s not ours. We’re just acknowledging, “Lord, I’m Yours! It’s all Yours!” So consecration is both an obligation, because it all belongs to Him . . . My money is all His, so I consecrate it to Him to be used for His purposes. But it’s not just an obligation, it’s also a great privilege to give back to God what rightfully belongs to Him.

In consecration we see love’s demand, and we see love’s delight. It’s required of us, but it’s a privilege to give ourselves to God. I think in this whole thing of consecration that there’s both “point” and “process,” as is true with other aspects of the Christian life.

Here’s how Frances Havergal said it. She said, "Full consecration may be in one sense the act of a moment"—a point in time. That’s what happened to her when she read that book, All for Jesus. She came to a fresh point of consecration of her life to the Lord. It may be the act of a moment.

And in another sense, consecration may be the work of a lifetime—a process, an ongoing daily process. She says, “It must be complete to be real, and yet if real, it is always incomplete.” We’re offering up ourselves up completely to the Lord, but there’s always more to offer up to the Lord. It’s incomplete.

It’s a point of rest and yet a perpetual progression. Point and process.

I want to take the moments we have together today and walk through with you the lines of this great consecration hymn by means of asking some questions so that we can make personal these lines of this hymn. And more importantly, so that we can make personal our own consecration to the Lord.

Now, I’m just reading or sharing with you in this session selected questions from a larger piece we have available at ReviveOurHearts.com. It’s a PDF that you can print out. It takes each line of this hymn, and it asks some questions to help you make it practical.

It’s something you can take and meditate on, use it in your quiet time, or perhaps share it with others in a small group or study group. It's so we can ask, “Is every part of my life consecrated to the Lord?”

For example, we take the first line: “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” And here are a couple questions to think about:

  • Have you made a volitional, unconditional lifetime surrender of your life to Christ? That’s what it means to be a Christian, to fully, wholly belong to Him. Is that true of you?
  • Are you seeking to live out that surrender on a daily basis? Are you consciously consecrating? "Lord, take my life. Let it be consecrated to You. It belongs to You. This is the life You’ve given me. I give it back to You.” Is that your heart?

And then in the next line she says, “Take my moments and my days; let them flow in endless praise.” It’s one thing to say, “I give You my life,” but then our life is composed of various parts. So she goes through and details more specifically what we’re consecrating, or offering up, to the Lord—dedicating to Him.

The first thing is my time. Is your time consecrated to the Lord? “Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.” Here’s something to think about:

  • Do you live with the conscious realization that all your time belongs to God? All of it!

Or have you merely reserved a portion of your time for the “spiritual category” of your life? “I’ll give the Lord an hour on Sunday morning. I’ll give the Lord three minutes to pray before a meal or maybe family devotions, but this time is mine. I need my time.”

Now, we wouldn’t say it that way. But are you consciously giving up to the Lord, dedicating to Him, your time—realizing that it all belongs to Him—your moments and your days?

Here’s another question:

  • Are you purposeful and intentional in your use of time, seeking to invest your days—and your moments—in ways that will bring glory to God? Do you even think about that? 

That’s part of living a consecrated life—our time being consecrated to Him.

And then, she talks about consecrating to God the members of our body. She says, “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.” I thought about that phrase while I was recording this CD, playing the piano. My prayer was, “Lord, take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. This is not for me; this is not about me. This is for You; this is because I love You, and I want to declare my love for You.”

“Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.”

"Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee,” she says. Have you yielded the members—the parts—of your body to God as instruments of righteousness, as Romans 6 says? Your hands, your feet, your eyes—every part of you—used for God and His purposes?

Do you use the members of your body to express the love of Christ to others? “Let them move at the impulse of Thy love.” Your hands can be used for serving others or for tender touch for your children. Are you using the members of your body to express the love of Christ to others?Here’s another question.

  • Are there any members of your body—eyes, ears, hands, feet, mouth—that are being used for selfish purposes? Or even to sin against God? 

Paul says in Romans, “This should not be! You belong to God, if you are in Christ. Let your members be presented, dedicated, consecrated to God as a living sacrifice, as instruments of righteousness” (see 6:13).

Then she says, “Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King.” Remember, Frances was a talented musician. She could have gotten a lot of self-acclaim and self-glory, but she said, “No, I’m going to use my voice only to bring glory to my King.”

“Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.” How about your tongue? Has that been consecrated to the Lord? Are you consecrating it—dedicating it—daily? That’s what the psalmist was doing when he prayed, “Lord, set a watch before the door of my mouth. Don’t let me say anything unholy” (see Ps. 141:3).

  • Do the words that come out of your mouth reveal that your heart is fully dedicated—surrendered—to God? 
  • Are you filling your mind and heart with the Word of God so that what comes out of your mouth will be messages from Him? 

That’s what she’s saying: “Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.”

Where do you get messages from God? You open this Book. You get into it, and you get it into you. You get so filled with Scripture that when you get challenged or when you speak or when you’re pressured . . . and I don’t just mean when you’re on the platform speaking. It’s easy to speak the truth of God then. 

But when you’re under pressure, when you’re being pushed, when somebody at work is pressuring you because of your faith, when your child is getting on your nerves, or your mate’s getting on your nerves, or you’re getting on your nerves . . . what comes out of your mouth?

Is it messages from God because your heart is so filled with His Word? Do you intentionally use your tongue to speak of Christ and to encourage others in their walk with God? “Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.” A consecrated tongue so that I will be speaking of Christ, looking for opportunities as I’m out and about doing business, shopping, talking with people that I run into, working with vendors or other staff or family members?

  • Do I use my tongue to speak about how wonderful Christ is and to point others to a relationship to Him—to encourage them in their walk with Him?

Then she talks about consecrating our possessions to God. She says, “Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold.” Does that remind you of a story in the Scripture? Where the widow had just a little bit of money left—a couple of  coins—she gives every last thing she has?

Frances says, “All my money, all my stuff, my possessions—it’s all Yours. I don’t want to hold any of it back for myself.” Toward the end of her life, Frances Havergal wrote to a friend and said,

Take my silver and my gold [that hymn she had written years earlier] now means shipping off all my ornaments [her jewelry]—including a jewel cabinet which is really fit for a countess—to the Church Missionary Society.

I retain only a brooch for daily wear, which is a memorial of my dear parents; also a locket. I had no idea I had such a jeweler’s shop; nearly fifty articles are being packed off.

And you think, Well, if you give it all up—you’re giving it all away; you’re sending it off for the money to be invested in the church missions (she sent it to the church missionary society)—that would be really hard! But she ended this letter saying,

I don’t think I need to tell you, I never packed a box with such pleasure.

There’s freedom that comes from releasing our grip, releasing our grasp and saying, “Lord, it’s all Yours.” Now, does that mean God wants you to go home today and pack up all your jewelry, everything, your silverware, your china, or your furniture and send it all to the mission field? If God puts that on your heart, you’ll find great joy in doing, but it doesn’t mean that God will lead everyone to give in exactly the same way.

It does mean that in our hearts we understand that it all belongs to Him and that we are just stewards of it.

If He lets us use it, it’s for His glory, His purposes, but not for our own good. It’s for His good and for His glory. It also means that if He puts His finger on something and His Spirit prompts us, you need to give that.

I’m, again, in what is a just a perpetual process of de-cluttering. I go through my house and realize how many things I have—clothing items. There are things I don’t wear, things I don’t need that are just sitting there—de-clutter.

There’s such a freedom that comes, as the Lord prompts, from giving stuff to be used for kingdom purposes—not just holding on to it. “I might need that in forty years!” Well, you might not live forty years and then your children are going to have to go through all this stuff and figure out what to do with it. Do it now as God’s prompts. So the question is:

  • Do you give generously and sacrificially and gladly to the Lord’s work and to others in need? 
  • Are you a wise steward of the material resources that God has entrusted to you? 

“Take my silver, take my gold. Not a mite would I withhold.”

And then she talks about consecrating her mind to the Lord. “Take my intellect,” of which she had a considerable one. Remember we talked about how bright she was and about how many languages she knew and all the Scripture she memorized? She had an amazing intellect.

But she says, “Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose." It’s consecrated to You. You may say, “Well, I don’t have much of an intellect. I’m not that bright. I can hardly speak English, let alone all these other languages. What would I have to give God?” Give God what you do have.

  • Are you bringing every thought into captivity, to the obedience of Christ? 
  • Are your thoughts consecrated to the Lord? 

So many of us as women are plagued with thoughts that are not according to the Word of God—thoughts of self-loathing, thoughts of pride, thoughts of fear, thoughts of anxiety. “Take my mind, Lord, take my thoughts, let them be consecrated to You.”

  • Are you exercising your mind to get to know God and His Word better? Reading, thinking, applying yourself. Or are you frittering away your life with computer games or with pursuits that may be fun but have no eternal value? 
  • Are you using your mind to get to know God and His Word?
  • Do you habitually think of things that are just and pure and lovely and of good report and virtuous and praiseworthy, as Philippians 4:8 tells us? Or do you spend a lot of time thinking about things that are unwholesome or negative or impure or just empty—vain. 

“Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose.”

And then she says, “Take my will and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.” Does that remind you of what our Savior said? “Lord, not My will, but Yours be done.” Do you seek to know and to do the will of God in the practical daily matters of life?

  • When you read the Scripture or hear it proclaimed, are you quick to say, “Yes, Lord,” and do what it says? Or do you just keep going your own way, doing your own thing? 
  • Is there anything God has shown you to be His will that you’ve been neglecting, or you’ve been refusing to obey? 

“Take my will, make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.”

And then, take my heart, my affections. “Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.” What about letting Jesus have your affections—your heart? Letting Him reign and rule over your emotions? Are you allowing Him to rule over your affections, your emotions, your responses?

Are your desires, your appetites, your longings under Christ’s control? “My heart, it shall be Thy royal throne”. . .consecrating my heart to Him.

And then this whole matter of relationships. She says, “Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store." Who I love, what I love, how I love—my relationships. Lord, I pour it all out to You. As I mentioned yesterday, Frances Havergal never married, but she did have a number of marriage proposals.

There was one man that she loved deeply, but he didn’t share her faith in Christ. She knew that she couldn’t obey the Lord and marry an unbeliever. So she turned it down. She said, “Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.” Do you love God more than every other earthly relationship?

How do you know? It’s a daily thing, saying, “Lord, do You mean more to me—do You matter more to me—than any earthly relationship? Have I made an idol out of any person?” I’ve talked with some women who so long to see their husband get right with God that he has become an idol. Or some women who so long for their children to be restored from being prodigals that their children have become idols.

Yes, you pray. Yes, you long. But do you long for Christ more than you even long for a godly husband or godly children. Do you realize that God wants the hearts of your mate, your children, and your friends, your family members, even more than you possibly could?

  • Are you holding onto any friendships or relationships that God may want you to relinquish, as Frances Havergal had to do in the case of that one suitor? 
  • Do you love God more than you love yourself? 
  • Do you seek His interests, His reputation, and His pleasure above your own?

Well, in that last line she says, “Take myself . . .” That’s how she started out. "Take my life, Lord,” and then she went through all these different parts, consecrating them to the Lord. Then she ends where she started: “Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.”

In fact, one of Frances’ little books is called Kept for the Master’s Use. It’s an expression of our heart to be fully consecrated, devoted, to the Lord.

  • Is there any part of yourself—your plans, your relationships, your possessions, your emotions, your career, your past, your future—that you are knowingly holding back from God?
  • Have you settled the issue that the ultimate purpose of your life is to please God and to bring Him glory?
  • Is it the intent of your heart, by God’s grace, to live the rest of your life wholly for Him and His pleasure, rather than for yourself and for your pleasure?

Throughout the course of her life, Frances often reviewed these words as a means of renewing her own personal consecration to the Lord. I would encourage you to get hold of that PDF that we have available to you at ReviveOurHearts.com, print it out, maybe fold it and stick it in your Bible. Just review through the lines, the couplets, of this hymn and these questions that you can just be asking yourself: “Is my life fully consecrated to the Lord?”

“There must be full surrender before there can be full blessedness,” she said. “Trust and obey. There’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Trust your life to Him. He is worthy. He can keep your life—He can hold it. He can safeguard it.

If you hold onto your life, you will lose it. If you give lay it down, if you give it up to Christ, you will gain that back—and so much more. As the apostle Paul said, “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1).

That’s what worship is. It’s not singing songs, ultimately. It’s saying, “Take my life, Lord, and let it be consecrated to You.” That’s our true worship. "Present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness" (Rom. 6:13). Take my life, Lord, and let it be consecrated to You. 

Leslie: Well, I appreciate that hymn in a whole new way after hearing today’s teaching from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She showed us the background to the hymn, “Take My Life, and Let It Be,” and she asked a series of really important questions about how the words of that song apply to our lives.

The version of that song we just heard is from Nancy’s new CD called Be Still. Nancy played the piano on this CD of hymns. The purpose of the album is to point your heart to the Lord’s peace. Nancy truly hopes your soul will be still before the Lord as you listen.

We’d like to send you a copy of this CD as our way of saying “thanks,” when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Your gift will help this broadcast continue each weekday. The ministry is possible because of listeners like you.

When you call with your donation, ask for the CD Be Still. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or look for this offer at ReviveOurHearts.com

Tomorrow, we’ll hear about a hymn writer who watched her husband die as he tried to save a drowning child. I think you’ll recognize the hymn she wrote after this tragedy. Nancy will tell you more about it tomorrow, on Revive Our Hearts. 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

 

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.