Sacrifice is a letting go of what is holding us back. Consecration is a giving to the Lord, the rest, which will move us forward. What will you sacrifice and what will you develop and dedicate this year?
Time to Reflect Back and Forward
I know for me, I always INTEND to reflect and plan well before the end of the year, but it never happens until January, so the timing is perfect for me. Remember that you get to reflect and plan for the new year at any time that is good for YOU. January 1st is an arbitrary day anyway. We can mark a new year from any day, not just the day the Gregorian calendar says!
Something I’ve been pondering is sacrifice and consecration, the definitions, and the differences.
Definitions of Sacrifice and Consecration
In a 1999 BYU Idaho Devotional, Elder Bednar said, “Consecration is related to but different from sacrifice. The word consecrate means to develop and “dedicate to a sacred purpose.” Sacrifice is what I will offer, surrender, yield, or give up. Consecration, on the other hand, is to fully develop and dedicate to a sacred purpose.”
In April 2022 General Conference in the talk entitled Our Heartfelt All, Elder Uchtdorf said:
“[Effort] requires letting some things go and letting other things grow.”
“To sacrifice means to give something up in favor of something more valuable. Consecration is different from sacrifice in at least one important way. When we consecrate something, we don’t leave it to be consumed up on the alter. Rather, we put it to use in the Lord’s service. We dedicate it to Him and His holy purposes.”
“This is how we offer our whole souls— by sacrificing anything that’s holding us back and consecrating the rest to the Lord and His purposes.”
My personal definition of sacrifice is a letting go of what is holding us back. Consecration is a giving to the Lord, the rest, which will move us forward.
Speaking about these things is different than living them. Living the law of sacrifice and the law of consecration is difficult! I personally have been wrestling with this in terms of my habit of not getting up as early as I want to. When I talk about it, when I think about it, it seems so early to get up when my alarm goes off. And then I live that experience and it is not easy for me. (Probably some trauma coming into play here.)
In 2 Samuel 24:24 King David disobeyed the Lord and an angel instructed him to make sacrifices in a specific place. The place was owned by someone, so the King went to purchase the land. It was offered for free, but David responded in Sacrifice is a letting go of what is holding us back. Consecration is a giving to the Lord, the rest, which will move us forward.
I have a large piece of artwork I had a friend make for me. It says “The prize is worth the price.” And this verse reminds me that I’ve been wanting my sacrifice to be easy.
“When it costs us but little to give, the treasure laid up in heaven is a small one.”
“We are not as other men. We are the Saints of God and have revelations of heaven. Where much is given, much is expected. We are to put first in our lives the things of his kingdom.”
A Personal Example
I’ve been wanting waking up earlier to spend time with the Lord to be easy. I’ve been focusing on how much energy it will REQIRE of me, instead of focusing on the possible rewards. Instead of focusing on who I will become in doing so.
This is a simple example from my life that highlights the difference between sacrifice and consecration. Waking up early to spend time studying scripture, in meditation and prayer would require me to sacrifice SLEEP. But it is also an invitation for me to consecrate my TIME and STUDY to the Lord’s kingdom. When each of us individually moves closer the Lord, we build Zion.
Reflect Back and Forward
So as we reflect on 2022 and look forward to 2023, I invite you to think about what is holding you back, and what might you consecrate to the Lord?
Journal Questions: (download here)
- Who do I want to become?
- What is holding me back? What would it require to sacrifice that?
- What do I need to move forward? What consecrated effort will help me in this process?
- Who will I become when I sacrifice and consecrate these things over the next year?
There are two ways to work with me in 2023.