When I brood on the cross of Christ, I become a person who is concentrated on and dominated by Jesus Christ’s interests. My focus is taken off myself and my own holiness. I’m no longer trapped in my private, subjective viewpoint. I’m identified with my Lord’s view-point and interests.

Our Lord wasn’t a recluse or an ascetic; he didn’t cut himself off from society. He was so much in the ordinary world that the religious people of his day called him a glutton and a drunkard (Matthew 11:19). And yet our Lord maintained an inward separateness all the time. On a fundamental level, he lived in a world apart from this one. Everything he did, he did for the glory of his heavenly Father, devoting every thought and action to God.

We, too, must devote every ounce of spiritual energy God gives us to doing his work, letting nothing interfere; this is how we consecrate our lives to him. Sanctification is God’s part; consecration is our part. We have to deliberately decide to have God’s interests as our interests. The way to solve perplexing problems is to ask, “Is this the kind of thing that interests Jesus Christ? Or is it something the spirit of the devil would embrace?”

A counterfeit version of consecration is the conscious cutting off of certain activities and pleasures with the idea of storing up spiritual power for use later on. This is a hopeless mistake. The Spirit of God has prevented the sins of a great many people, yet there’s no emancipation, no fullness in their lives. The ascetic, reclusive religious life is entirely different from the robust holiness of the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ preached that we are to be in the world but not of it—detached fundamentally, not externally: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15).

Wisdom from Oswald

If a man cannot prove his religion in the valley, it is not worth anything.  Shade of His Hand, 1200 L