Curse or Consecrate

Curse or Consecrate

Tagged With: ,

Three months before graduating from law school, I decided I did not want to be a lawyer.

Two years of interning for a plaintiff’s attorney had shown me that the adversarial system brought out my worst characteristics: pride, aggressiveness, and a compulsive desire to win arguments. I feared that if I spent my life practicing law, these qualities would grow even worse.

Chains thumbnail (200x200)So there I was, about to obtain a degree I no longer wanted. The more I agonized over the situation, the more I looked at my law degree as a form of bondage … a trap … a dead end. I grimly looked ahead to a career that held no promise of enjoyment or fulfillment.

Paul’s Choice

The Lord overturned this attitude one Sunday morning when my pastor preached from the book of Philippians. The apostle Paul wrote this epistle from prison. He had been placed in chains because of his determination to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:13-14).

As my pastor explained, there were only two ways that Paul could deal with the chains that bound him to his prison. He could either curse those chains, or he could consecrate them.

To consecrate something means to declare it sacred, to devote it irrevocably to the worship and service of God. Paul chose to consecrate his chains to Christ. Trusting that God was always working for his good (Phil. 1:18-21), Paul could sincerely pray, “This is your situation, my Lord. Show me how I can use it to please and honor you.”

Paul’s choice to dedicate his situation to God contributed to a chain of events that turned the world upside down. It also protected Paul from self-pity and gave him such great freedom that he mentions “joy” or “rejoicing” fourteen times in this letter—which is written from prison!

My Choice

As I listened to that sermon, I realized that I had been cursing my law degree for months. I had been doubting God’s care, grumbling in my spirit, and looking for an avenue of escape.

After the worship service, I walked to the altar and knelt before the Lord. I confessed my sinful attitude and asked God to forgive me for the negative, unbelieving thoughts I had nurtured for months. Then I explicitly consecrated my law degree to him, promising to use my legal training to serve him and any clients he would bring to me.

When I left church, I felt a peace I’d not known for months. Three hours later I received a phone call from a complete stranger, who introduced me to the concept of biblical mediation and arbitration.

Fifteen months later, I helped to found the Christian Conciliation Service of Montana, which eventually grew into Peacemaker Ministries. I had the privilege of serving that ministry for thirty years and seeing God use it to reconcile people around the globe.

I have consecrated many other difficult issues to the Lord over the years, but have rarely seen him move so swiftly to solve my dilemmas. Even so, I’ve always been blessed with a clear conscience and peace of mind when I committed my chains to him.

What About You?

What kind of chains are you faced with today? A difficult marriage, rebellious teenager, or critical in-law? A job that seems to be going nowhere (or no job at all), or a co-worker who delights to irritate you? A prolonged illness or the unavoidable decline of aging?

Whatever your chains are, you have only two choices: you can either curse them or consecrate them to the Lord. May God give you the same grace he gave to Paul, so that you too can say, “This is your situation, my Lord. Show me how I can use it to please and honor you.”

– Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

  • Who provided the ultimate example of consecrating a difficult situation to the Lord? (Luke 22:42; Luke 23:46)
  • What kind of chains have you been feeling lately? How have you dealt with them?
  • What good has God accomplished by allowing his people to struggle and suffer at times? (Gen. 50:15-21; John 15:1-3; Rom. 5:1-5; 2 Cor. 1:3-5; 1 Pet. 2:18-21)
  • What would it look like, in practical terms, for you to consecrate your situation to the Lord today?

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2013 Ken Sande

Get this from a friend? Subscribe now!

Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
6 Responses to "Curse or Consecrate"
  1. Thank you for this providential post. My husband is a pastor of a church that just recently went through a very ugly split. The whole ugly process of gossip, slander, friends stabbing you in the back and then they started their own church with those that left. In the same community! It has been a hard year and half. I have gone thru much mourning and questioning why. Especially on the relational end between Christians! To put it mildly, I have put up a wall and been in a self protection mode. Even to the point of not wanting my husband to be in ministry any more. Honestly, I have lost my desire and passion for my local church. So, this post on curse or consecrate has prompted me to start a conversation with my husband on what this looks like practically for us as a family as we muddle thru God’s will and plan for our lives. Any helpful suggestions to add to our conversation?

  2. Our response to any given situation will always depend on the circumstances and challenges we face. With me it usually starts with a change of attitude: instead of resenting a difficult situation or just wishing it would go away, it means thinking, “OK, Lord, how can I use this situation for good?” If someone has wronged me, instead of cutting him off or gossiping about him, I can pray for him, go and take responsibility for my part of the problem, offer forgiveness, and even look for ways to bless that person (Rom. 12:17-21). I can see the situation as a pruning time, asking God to help me identify attitudes, expectations, and worldly desires he wants me to put aside. It can mean seeing that a painful challenge is actually an opportunity to set an example for my children on how to trust God, maintain a hopeful attitude, and keep working at something even when I don’t see immediate results. It can involve many other elements … it all depends on the situation and what we believe God is seeking to do through it. For more practical principles, see the “Relational Wisdom/Peacemaking and RW” section on this web site, as well as my book, The Peacemaker (especially chapter 12).

  3. Next time I’m faced with the situation I’m going to remember this prayer: “This is my situation, my Lord. Show me how I can use it to please and honor you.”
    That is so powerful to me!!

  4. Tremendous teaching! It’s so easy to curse rather than consecrate.
    One thing I would add to this is the fact that we may have made the wrong decision somewhere along the way. It may not be sufficient to “consecrate” our current situation. We may need to turn from it, and allow God to set us once again on the right path. We may be required to choose a different career. We may be required to choose a different lifestyle. After consecrating our situation to God, we must be willing to allow HIM to remove us from it. HE removed me from a 6-figure job, to half-way around the world, where I am currently unemployed, (which I have consecrated to HIM) in order to remove the tendencies that I had. HE has removed me from a situation that in time, would have most likely destroyed my marriage, and taken me further and further away from HIM. The stress of the responsibilities was simply too much for me, and it became obvious to me that HE wanted me removed from that place.
    Walking in obedience is a fabulous place to be! I have never been at such peace, and my marriage has never been as fulfilling!
    Thanks Ken, and thanks GOD!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *