Consecrated in Truth
As I learn more about the word consecration, I've found that inside the word resounds a protective sense, a deep resilience, like sentinels on guard. Does not God protect his consecrated ones with a great array of heavenly hosts? To see this word in a defensive sense strengthens our faith, for as we are consecrated into the Lord, he protects his children at all cost—even at the cost of his own life.
In the Gospel of Matthew we get a sense of this protection. Chapter 18 verse 10 is attributed to the popular idea of guardian angels: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." We Christians are his little ones and his army is on guard for us. God doesn't just and say, "You're mine, but now you're on your own. Protect yourself!" No, he does all in his power to keep his "little ones" safe. And just what is not in God's power?
Having set us aside for his work, he clothes us in a protective shield as he sends us back into the world. We are now his hands and feet. It is our job to help him consecrate the rest of the world through his love. This has been his plan from the beginning. Ever since we left the Garden, it has been his great joy to have us return to him, so we may walk with him again forever. But as we head home, we help him consecrate the world as insufficient as our abilities are.
"But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth."
Because of the consecration that we underwent in our baptism, do we feel that sense of protection from the wiles of the Devil? We should. We must. That which is consecrated to God has his deepest protection. He guards us despite the outward onslaught and the inward corruption that batters us daily.
But there is one thing that is out of his control: our will. When we say to ourselves, "See this great fortress built around me. I built it," then the castle becomes of our own making and we exclude our Maker. We become trapped rather than free. We are trapped because then it is our responsibility to restore the deteriorating bulwarks—a task that is beyond our power. This work takes all our effort. We are slaves to the work rather than being free. Even Jesus knew he must hand the reigns of his human will to his heavenly Father. To be free we must call out to the Father with Jesus: "Yet not my will, but yours be done."
We must not exclude him from the design. If we do so, then the tide will breach our ramparts from all sides and the enemy will pour in like a flood. But when he is the master architect, we are shielded, consoled and free to do his work—to love others.
Jesus prays to the Father asking him to "consecrate [us] in truth." We are Jesus' own flesh and blood. He is the foundation of truth. He is the living word of God—the logos, the living representation, the archetype of all life. Through our protective association, a perfect grafting as Paul explains, we are safeguarded as much as baby Jesus was when he in all his incapacity was in his infanthood.
Our consecration in the truth of Christ shields us as we return into the world to preach his good news and to do his will. It is his living will that protects us in our Christian infanthood. Are any of us anything but infants in our faith? Yet as small as we are, he still hangs the burden of his work in our hands. Even as little and humble ones, we are capable of consecrating the world. What faith! What honor! What dignity we are given by God to do the precious work of loving and forgiving others.
Now if we could just give those who we encounter on the streets, in the alleys, and those on our own couches that same trust and dignity that he bestows upon us. Then we would truly discover our purpose on the earth.
When we seek to reunite God with his children, when we evangelize, when we love others and help to gather his flock, we should have the deep confidence that our lowly, humble and pitiful work will be granted the same depth of protection that even baby Jesus was given as he fled with poor Mary and Joseph into Egypt. He was cared for perfectly and so will you be as well.