Scripture Reading: 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Rom. 6:13, 16; 12:1-2; 6:19, 22
Tonight is the last evening of our conference on "The Overcoming Life." There is one thing that we have to mention tonight. The previous messages would not take us very far if we only stopped at last night's message. However, we could not have addressed tonight's subject earlier, because it would not have been right to do so. However, tonight, we have to speak on the matter of consecration.
The first thing we have to do after we have experienced the overcoming life is to consecrate ourselves. Of course, this should be the first thing that a person does after he is saved. However, many people have never consecrated themselves even though they are saved. Therefore, after they have entered into the experience of the overcoming life, they have to consecrate themselves. There are some who consecrated themselves to the Lord after they were saved. However, they have risen and fallen throughout the years, and they are not as fresh as they once were. Therefore, they also need to consecrate themselves. I dare not say that consecration is the first step or first expression of our overcoming. I can say only that since the Lord died for us and lives for us, the first thing we should do after we overcome is consecrate ourselves.
Some have said that we should consecrate ourselves before we overcome and that we must consecrate before we can overcome. However, Romans 6:13 says, "Neither present your members as weapons of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as alive from the dead, and your members as weapons of righteousness to God." This shows us that consecration comes after experiencing the overcoming life. This is an obvious fact: A person cannot consecrate himself before he experiences death and resurrection. Only those who have died and resurrected can consecrate themselves. During the past few days, we have been speaking of our crucifixion with Christ and of His living within us. We are those who have died with Christ and who are living with Him. Hence, from Romans 6:13, we see that a Christian consecrates himself after he has experienced the overcoming life. If a person has not experienced the overcoming life, he cannot consecrate himself, and even if he did, God would not accept his consecration, because He does not want anything that is related to Adam or death.
If we have not experienced the overcoming life, our consecration is not reliable. Today we may consecrate ourselves and tomorrow we may forget about it. Today we may make a vow before the Lord, telling the Lord that we will do this and do that, but tomorrow we may forget all about it. There was a missionary who attended seven Keswick Conventions. She said that attending the Keswick Convention every year was like winding up the spring inside a watch. The watch would slow down, and she would wind it up again. Every year she went for a "winding up," and every year she found herself slowing down again. This is the way with many Christians. They make big promises before God, but when they go away, everything is forgotten. This is why I say that we cannot consecrate ourselves. We do not have the strength to consecrate ourselves.
If we have not experienced the overcoming life, God will not receive our consecration even if we do consecrate ourselves, because everything we have is from Adam and is dead. We say "thank you" to the unbelievers and refuse to accept their gifts. The same is true with God; He cannot accept our gifts. Only that which is from the Lord can be consecrated to the Lord. Anything that comes from ourselves cannot be consecrated to the Lord.
We must realize that the first thing we should do after experiencing the overcoming life is consecrate ourselves to the Lord. Now is the time to consecrate ourselves to the Lord. Now there is an opportunity to consecrate ourselves to the Lord. If we do not consecrate ourselves now, we will draw back, and we will fail again in a few days
THE BASIS AND MOTIVE OF CONSECRATION
Consecration is spoken of not only in Romans 6 but also in Romans 12. Why do we have to consecrate ourselves? Paul exhorted us through the compassions of God. What are God's compassions, and what are God's mercies? Romans 1 through 8 speaks of God's compassions and mercies. Doctrinally speaking, chapter twelve immediately follows chapter eight. God's compassions and mercies are covered in the first eight chapters. Formerly we were sinners, and God's Son came to shed His blood for our sins. Chapters three and four are on the blood; chapter five is on forgiveness, while chapters six through eight are on the cross. On the one hand, the blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins; through the blood we are forgiven. On the other hand, the cross is for the crucifixion of the old man; through the cross we are released. Thank the Lord that He was crucified on the cross to die in our place and He is now also living in our place. Based on these compassions and mercies, we are exhorted to consecrate ourselves to God.
Brothers and sisters, God created us with a purpose, and He also saved us with a purpose. God's intention is that we express the life of His Son and partake of the glory of His Son. In eternity past God had a purpose; He did not want just an only begotten Son, but many sons. Hence, Romans 8:29 says, "Because those whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers." God predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son. Then He bought us and redeemed us so that He could gain us. He gains us in two ways. On God's side, He sent His Son to die for us and to redeem us. As far as our redemption is concerned, we are His slaves. Thank God that He has bought us! We are those who have been purchased by God. God said to Abraham, "And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed" (Gen. 17:12). Hallelujah! We have been begotten of God, and we have been bought by God.
We have been bought by God, and we belong to God. Yet He allows us to go free. As far as His sovereign right is concerned and as far as redemption is concerned, we belong to God, but He does not force us to do anything. If we want to serve mammon, He allows us to go, and if we want to serve the world, He does not stop us. If we want to serve our bellies, God does not stop us, and if we want to serve idols, He allows us to do so. God does not make any move; He waits until one day we say, "God, I am Your slave not only because You bought me, but also because I want to be Your slave willingly." Romans 6:16 speaks of a most precious principle of consecration. Please remember that we are not God's slaves merely because of the fact that He purchased us. "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, his slaves you are whom you obey?" On the one hand, we are His slaves because He has purchased us, but on the other hand, we are His slaves because we want to be such voluntarily. Brothers and sisters, as far as the law is concerned, we became His slaves the day that we were redeemed. But as far as our experience is concerned, we become His slaves only after we consecrate ourselves. As far as God's sovereign right is concerned, we became His slaves on the day we were redeemed. But as far as experience is concerned, we become His slaves the day we willingly tell the Lord, "I consecrate myself to You." "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, his slaves you are whom you obey?" (v. 16). Therefore, no one can be God's servant without being conscious of it. We have to consecrate ourselves before we can be His slaves. This consecration is a matter of our own voluntary choice. God does not force us, nor does Paul force us. He exhorted us and beseeched us. God will not force us at all. He wants us to willingly consecrate ourselves to Him.
Brothers and sisters, the overcoming life has much to do with salvation. When we were saved, we spontaneously had the desire to consecrate ourselves. The life we received compels us to consecrate ourselves. Every saved person has the feeling that he should live for the Lord, yet he does not have the strength to do so. Many things ensnare and frustrate him from living for the Lord. But thank God that He has given Christ to us so that we can consecrate ourselves to Him. When we were dead in sin, we could not consecrate ourselves to Him. If we continue to live in sin after we are saved, we still cannot consecrate ourselves to Him. But now that Christ has become our life and our holiness, we can willingly consecrate ourselves to God.
Mr. Panton once told about a black slave girl who was about to be auctioned. Two men were bidding for her, and the price was going up. Both of them were evil men, and the slave girl knew that she would suffer no matter whose hand she fell into. She wept and grieved. Suddenly another man showed up and joined the bidding. The first two men could not offer as much as the third one, and the girl was eventually bought by him. Immediately, he called in a blacksmith and broke her chains and declared that she was free, saying, "I did not buy you to be my slave. I bought you to free you." At that word, he walked away. The girl was bewildered. After two minutes she came to her senses, and she ran up to the man and said, "From this day forward until the day I die, I will be your slave." Brothers and sisters, this is the love of the Lord towards us. We are constrained by this love to tell Him, "From this day forward, I will be Your slave." Brothers and sisters, God has bought us, crucified us, and raised us up. Since we have tasted of His compassions and mercies, we should consecrate ourselves to Him.
Romans 6 tells us to consecrate ourselves, that is, our members to God, while Romans 12 tells us to consecrate our bodies to Him. These two consecrations include many things. During the past eleven days, we spoke about letting go and believing, and we pointed out that we will meet God's requirement and live out His life when we do these things. God's requirement is that we consecrate ourselves absolutely to Him. This requirement is an all-inclusive requirement. But we cannot do it by ourselves; we can only do it by the Christ who lives within us. Formerly we could not do it, but we can do it now because of Christ. We have received His mercies; therefore, we can consecrate ourselves.
When a Hebrew man bought a slave, the slave had to serve the master for six years. In the seventh year, the slave could go free. However, if he said that he loved his master and would not go out free, the master would bring him to the judges and the doorpost and bore his ear through with an awl. Then the slave would serve his master forever (Exo. 21:2-6). Brothers and sisters, God has saved us and bought us with the blood. He did not purchase us with corruptible gold but with the precious blood of His Son. Many Christians feel that they have to serve God for their conscience's sake. But when we see the Lord's preciousness, we will voluntarily and willingly consecrate ourselves to Him. When we tell the Lord that we are willing to be His slave, He will take us to the door and the doorpost, and He will bore our ear through with an awl. The doorpost is the place where the blood of the Passover lamb was applied. Today we are being led to bleed there as well; we are being led to the cross as well. We love the Lord and choose to be His slave forever. Because we know that He loves us, we are willing to serve Him forever. We have no choice but to declare, "Lord, You have loved me and saved me and released me! Lord, I love You and cannot help but serve You forever!"
THINGS TO CONSECRATE
The first thing we should consecrate are the people we love. If a man does not love the Lord more than his parents, wife, children, and friends, he is not worthy to be the Lord's disciple. If you have consecrated yourself to the Lord, there should be no one in this world that can occupy your heart and nothing that can capture your heart any longer. God saves you in order to gain you wholly. Many tears pull you back. Many human sentiments bid you to return to them. Many heartbreaks persuade you to turn back. You have to say, "Lord, all my relationships with men are on the altar. My relationship with the whole world is over."
When the wife of a brother was sick, and others asked him to pray for his wife, he said, "God has not told me to pray for her yet!" When another asked whether he would grieve if his wife died, he said, "She has died to me already." Another brother had a good friend, and God wanted him to drop this friend. He could only obey. He told the Lord, "If You want this, I am willing to give it up."
God has given Christ to us as our overcoming life so that we would not only know His will but also obey it. We must never think that the overcoming life only delivers us from sin on the negative side. The real overcoming life enables us to fellowship with God and to obey His will on the positive side. God gives us His overcoming life so that we can meet His goal, not so that He can meet our goal. No Christian can hold on to any person. Tonight if the people we love are not consecrated, we cannot satisfy God. The people have to go. We must say, "Whom do I have in heaven but You?/And besides You there is nothing I desire on earth" (Psa. 73:25). We must say, "I will serve the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my soul."
I loved Miss M.E. Barber because she was a person who truly loved the Lord with all her heart, all her mind, and all her soul. After she died, I found the following note in her Bible next to the verse, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matt. 22:37): "Lord, I thank You that there is such a commandment." We often think that it is a grievous thing that God has so many commandments. But we should say, "Lord, I thank You that there is such a commandment."
Even if the Lord has given someone to you, He will not allow you to be attached to him or her. He will not allow you to be attached to your wife, your children, or your friends. Even the Isaac that God promised had to be put on the altar. Many Christians have failed because their hearts are captured by people.
We have to consecrate not only people but also affairs. We often make up our mind to do many things and are determined to accomplish them. But we have not sought after God's will in these affairs. A brother was determined to make the top grade on his graduation examination and to rank at the top in his college class. All of his time and energy were spent on his studies. After he entered the overcoming experience, he committed this matter to God. From that time on, he was willing to follow God even if it meant coming in last on his examination.
Brothers and sisters, you may feel justified in putting all your time into your career, but if you do not have an intimate fellowship with the Lord, your career will not profit anything. You cherish some hope for your career and are not willing to let it go. You have some kind of expectation in your job which you are willing to fulfill by any means. If you act in this way, you have to consecrate yourself. You cannot allow one thing to entangle you. There are many brothers and sisters whose pursuit of education becomes their hope; they hope to excel above others. This is a hope mixed with pride. I am not saying that you should drop out of school, but I am saying that you should leave everything behind if the Lord calls you.
There was a brother who was an orphan, who grew up in a poor family. He drew beautiful calligraphy and was also very good at music. In the orphanage, while others were learning woodcraft and masonry, he was able to enter high school. He received awards every term. After he finished two years of college, the school decided to send him to St. John's College in Shanghai for two years and then to America on the condition that he come back after his study abroad to serve his school. Both his mother and uncle wrote letters to congratulate him. Two months before he was scheduled to leave, he was saved, and many of his former hopes were shattered. At the same time, he consecrated himself to the Lord. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said he had made up his mind to go and was ready to sign the agreement. He told me, "You have been my classmate for eight years. Have you not known of my aspirations all along?" When we were about to part, I said, "Today, we are still brothers. But I fear that when you come back from America, you will no longer be my brother." At that word he went to the Lord and prayed, "God, You know my aspirations. I know that You have called me, but I cannot drop my aspirations. However, if it is Your desire, I am willing to go to the villages to preach the gospel." After his prayer, he went to the principal and told him that he had decided not to sign the agreement and would no longer be going. The principal asked whether he was sick, and he answered, "The Lord has called me to preach the gospel for Him." Four days later, his uncle, cousins, and mother came. The mother said in tears, "Since your father died, I have struggled all these years with the hope that you would one day come out ahead of others to support me. Today you have a chance, yet you are throwing it away." The mother kept crying, while the uncle went on to say, "Before you entered this orphanage, I was the one who raised you. I also took care of your mother. Now you owe this to both of us. Your cousins do not even have the money to go to school, and yet you want to throw away this great opportunity." They also came to me and said, "Mr. Nee, you do not need to support your parents, but he will have to support us." Our brother was pressed on both sides. He asked the Lord what he should do. Then he realized that he owed men but little, but that he owed the Lord much more. He promised to support his mother and uncle, but he also told them that he could not satisfy their aspirations and had to obey the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, we all should consecrate our affairs to the Lord. I am not saying that all of us have to give ourselves to be preachers. I am saying that all of us have to consecrate everything to the Lord. What is consecration? What does it mean to offer ourselves up? It is to declare, "Lord, I will do Your will." Many people think that consecration is offering up oneself to be a preacher. No, we consecrate ourselves to do God's will. Many people realize through a genuine consecration that they should be faithful in their business and supply the need of God's work. As a result they give up their preaching work. Many others are motivated by the present needs and the needs in frontier lands to devote themselves to the preaching work. During the past few years, we have been short of co-workers. If God is to work among us, many brothers and sisters will give themselves to serve the Lord full-time in the near future. They will find that they must consecrate all of their affairs to the Lord.
We have to consecrate not only people and affairs but also all objects. There are people who have to consecrate their jewelry. Others may have houses or clothing they have to consecrate. Some may only have a very small thing to consecrate, but they cannot allow this small thing to become a hindrance to them. Some may be holding back a few gold rings or some pearl ornaments. There is nothing legal about this, but if we want to live a consecrated life, gold ornaments probably have to go, fashionable clothes have to go, and perhaps our money has to go. Many people have been squandering their money and are not pleasing the Lord. Many others have been saving their money and likewise are not pleasing the Lord. Squandering has no place in the eyes of the Lord, just as saving has no place in His eyes. We should not spend our money all at once; we should transfer it to the Lord's account. In the New Testament, nothing is said about tithing a tenth of what we have; the only thing that is spoken of is putting everything in the Lord's hand. The first day we take home our wages, we should tell the Lord, "God, all of this money is Yours. Give me back what I need for my household expenses." It is not a question of using a certain amount and then saving the rest for God. I dare not say that God will or will not take all you have at times. But I would say that if we have truly consecrated everything to God, what is consecrated belongs to God.
Many brothers and sisters have furnishings in their homes, clothes in their closets, or possessions in their hands that are unbecoming of God's children. Once the Lord touches these things, we have to consecrate them. We have a few elderly brothers and sisters with us today. You have to be careful how you write your will. Whatever you write will show the kind of Christian that you are. God has saved us. Since all of our money belongs to God, we should not put the money back into the world. If we plan for our children and allow them to take our money back to the world, we are not doing the right thing. God has separated us and our possessions from the world. We should not allow them to go back to the world. When the Israelites left Egypt, they did not leave one animal in Egypt. The same should be true with us. Of course, we cannot do this, but thank God that everything is possible with Him. Philippians 4:13 says, "I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me." This means that as soon as the Lord energizes us, we can do all things. It is impossible for us to offer up all things, but we can do it by the One who empowers us. Since Christ is our life, we can do it.
Many young brothers and sisters can consecrate what they have when they do not have that much. When they become richer, their offerings become less. If the Lord gains our heart, He should gain our wallet as well. If the heart closes up, it means that the wallet is closed up. If the wallet is not open, the heart can never be opened.
We should consecrate people, affairs, and objects, but the last thing we should consecrate is ourselves. We have to consecrate ourselves to God. We should say, "God, I consecrate myself to You to do Your will." Brothers and sisters, we do not know what lies ahead of us. But we know that God has a will for every one of us. It may not be blessings, and it may not be sufferings. But we have to consecrate ourselves to His will. We should be willing to accept His will, whether it comes with blessing or suffering. Many people are willing to be used by God; they are filled with the Spirit and live the overcoming life continuously because they have consecrated themselves to the Lord.
What kind of consecration is this? It is a consecration in which we present our bodies as a living sacrifice. The Bible never speaks of the consecration of the heart; it only speaks of the consecration of the body. No one who has consecrated himself can leave his body unconsecrated. We have consecrated our whole being to the Lord. Henceforth, our mouth is not our own. Our ears are not our own, and our eyes, hands, feet, and even bodies are not our own. From now on we are merely the Lord's managers. From now on our feet are the Lord's, and we cannot use them for ourselves any longer. When a young man died, his old father charged the pallbearers to be very careful, because that body had served as the Lord's temple for twenty years. However, we should not wait until we have died for our bodies to be consecrated to the Lord. Today the Holy Spirit is already living in us. First Corinthians 6:19 says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" One hymn says, "Let my hands perform His bidding;/Let my feet run in His ways./...All for Jesus! All for Jesus!/Let my lips speak forth His praise" (Hymns, #444). This is the meaning of consecration. This is what it means to consecrate our body. No one should say that his body is his own. Every single day of our life is for the Lord, and our whole body is for the Lord; we are merely His managers.
Once in another country, someone was passing the offering plate on a Sunday morning. When the plate came to a thirteen-year-old girl, she repeatedly asked that the plate be lowered. When the plate was lowered to the ground, she stepped onto the plate. She had no money, and therefore, she decided to offer herself up.
Today we should not only consecrate people, affairs, and objects to the Lord but also consecrate ourselves to Him. Every Lord's Day when we put the money into the offering box, we should put ourselves into it as well. When we hold ourselves back, God does not want our money. God will not have "ours" unless He first has "us." God must have us first before He will have ours. There are many people who will consecrate themselves to the Lord, and the Lord will not necessarily ask them to be preachers. He may want some to be good businessmen. Every corner in this world needs light, and we cannot choose our own work. We should say to the Lord, "From now on I resolve to do Your will."
THE RESULT OF CONSECRATION
What is the result of consecration? The first result is described in Romans 6, and the second result is described in Romans 12. Many people do not know the difference between the two. Actually, there is a great difference. The consecration in Romans 6 is for one's own benefit; it is to bear the fruit of righteousness. The consecration in Romans 12 is for God's benefit; it is for the accomplishment of God's will. The result of consecration in Romans 6 is deliverance from sin to be a slave of God in order to bear fruit unto sanctification. This is what it means to live out the overcoming life day by day. The result of the consecration in Romans 12 is not just God's pleasure but the proving of God's good, well-pleasing, and perfect will.
Brothers and sisters, it is not enough just to let go, believe, and praise. There is one final matter: We have to put ourselves in the hand of the Lord before He can express His holiness through us. We did not have the strength to consecrate ourselves in the past. But after entering the overcoming experience, we can consecrate ourselves. Please remember that we were not able to put ourselves in God's hand in the past. Now it is no longer a question of being able or not being able; it is a question of being willing or not being willing to put ourselves in His hand. Formerly, it was a question of inability. Now it is a question of unwillingness.
There was a brother in Australia who had consecrated himself fully to the Lord. When he was on a train, a few friends decided to have a card game. Three people were present, and they were short one person, so they invited him to join in. He answered, "Sorry, friends. I do not have my hands with me. These hands are not mine but Another's. They are merely placed on my body. I dare not use them."
From now on our hands, feet, and mouths belong to the Lord. We dare not use them ourselves. Every time temptations come, we have to say that we do not have our hands with us. This is the consecration of Romans 6. When we consecrate ourselves this way, we will be sanctified and bear the fruit of sanctification. Hence, consecrating ourselves is the first thing we should do after the overcoming experience, and it is also the firstfruit of the overcoming experience.
The consecration in Romans 12 is something for God. It says that we should present our bodies a living sacrifice to God. It also says that such a consecration is holy and well pleasing to Him. Hence, we have to remember that the consecration in chapter twelve has the goal of serving God.
Chapter six is for personal sanctification, while chapter twelve is for the work. Chapter six speaks of consecration, and it also speaks of sanctification and the fruit of sanctification. Chapter twelve also speaks of holiness or being holy. What is sanctification, and what is holiness? Being sanctified or being holy means to be separated unto a certain person for his own use. Formerly we were affected by many objects, people, and affairs. Formerly, we were living for ourselves. Now we are living for God alone.
Once I was coming back home from Hsiao-feng Park. I was about to board a bus but the driver told me to get off. When I looked carefully, I found that it was not an ordinary bus, but a chartered bus. Every Christian should be a "chartered" person. Unfortunately, many Christians are "public" Christians. However, we are not public, but "chartered," fully reserved for God's will and separated. Romans 12 shows us that our jobs, husbands, children, money, and treasures are all for God alone; they are reserved for God's use. When we are for God alone, and when we present ourselves to God alone, we should believe that God has accepted us because this is what God is after. God's goal is not that we would be zealous for a little while. If a man does not consecrate himself to the Lord, He will not be satisfied. Unless a man consecrates himself fully to the Lord, God is not satisfied. God is not satisfied until man anoints the Lord with the ointment. He is not satisfied until we cast all the living that we have into the box (Luke 21:4). Everything has to be offered up to Him.
Brothers and sisters, thank God that we are raised from the dead. We have received mercy from God. This consecration is well pleasing to God, and it is reasonable. Every Christian should consecrate himself; it is wrong to assume that only special Christians should consecrate themselves. His blood has purchased us, and we are His. His love has constrained us, and we live for Him.
Please note the kind of consecration that is spoken of here. We are living stones. Although we consecrate ourselves, we remain living. We are living sacrifices. The sacrifices in the Old Testament were killed by the knife, but we are living sacrifices.
The result of the presenting is in Romans 12:2. "Do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect." This is our ultimate goal today. During the January conference of last year, we saw that God has an eternal purpose, which is accomplished through His Son. God created everything through Him for this purpose. Redemption is for this purpose, the defeat of Satan is for this purpose, and the salvation of sinners is for this purpose. We have to know God's eternal purpose before we can accomplish what God wants us to accomplish. We are not here merely for the salvation of sinners; we are here for the accomplishment of God's eternal purpose. Every kind of work must be linked up with God's eternal purpose.
If we do not consecrate ourselves, we will never realize that this will is good. Today many people are afraid of the very words, "God's purpose"; many people feel uneasy about these words. Christians are afraid of hearing about God's will. However, Paul said that after a man has presented his body, he will prove what is God's good, well-pleasing, and perfect will. We can sing about the goodness of God's will! We can say hallelujah because of the goodness of God's will! God's will is good and not malicious. His will is for our profit and without malice. We are too short-sighted. God's will is good. A brother once prayed a very good prayer: "When we asked for bread, we thought that You would give us a stone, and when we asked for fish, we thought that You would give us a serpent. When we asked for eggs, we thought that You would give us a scorpion. But when we asked for stones, You gave us bread!" We often do not understand God's love. We do not understand His will. We do not realize that His thoughts toward us are good and excellent. We may complain about many things when they come upon us, but after a couple of years, we have to praise Him for these things. Why should we not praise Him today instead?
God's will is not only good but also perfect. All of God's will toward those who love Him is profitable. If we know this, we will not reject His will. Presenting our bodies to Him is holy and well pleasing to Him. Moreover, we will find His will well-pleasing to us and find that His will is good and perfect.
Tonight is the last meeting, and I will ask you to do one final thing, that is, to say to the Lord, "God, I am wholly Yours. From now on, I will not live for myself."
Brothers and sisters, we have seen all of the conditions for overcoming, and they are behind us now. Consecration is the last item in the overcoming life; it is also the first thing that we should do after experiencing the overcoming life. Once we have consecrated ourselves, we should believe that God has accepted our consecration. Once we have consecrated ourselves, we will become a consecrated person. We may feel hot or we may feel cold, but as long as we have truly consecrated ourselves to God in our heart, everything will be all right. I say this in order to help us not live according to our feelings. In Chefoo a brother consecrated himself to the Lord, but he felt that something was wrong between him and the Lord. He thought he had to consecrate himself again. I told him that after a girl is married and finds that she is at odds with her husband one day, she does not remarry her husband again. Even if there is something wrong between the Lord and us, we can only consecrate ourselves once. From that point on, we belong to the Lord, and we can only be for His use.