Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Does Faith Look Like - Being Sanctified

Maybe you thought I forgot about this series?  Just been a bit busy, what with all the new baby + two older kids + going back overseas + life in general that's been happening.  I've tried to keep writing, which amounts to a lot in my journal/Bible.  I figure this whole writing thing was God's idea anyway, so He will make sure I'm struck with an idea that needs to get out there.

So, here we are!

For several weeks now, my best friend and I have been texting about the way the walk of faith is worked out.  I struggle with long held prayer requests that seemingly hang on without answer.  Thankfully, she knows those heart-felt desires and in her counsel to me, helped me see this struggle differently.  Her advice, in summary:

When you are praying for change, you have to embrace that God has already answered you.  You have to believe the Lord has broken those ties in the spiritual realm.  It may take awhile to see it in the physical/natural realm, but if you keep His completed work in mind, it will make the waiting go a little easier.

What she is touching on here was a concept I learned long ago: we are all "in process."  The fancy "church-y" name for it is sanctification.  That means how we live out the changes God is making in us.  While we may be freed of certain things at the moment of salvation, other things take time.  Today, A.W. Tozer, in his book The Knowledge of the Holy, gave me another way to think of this process of how the Father shapes us into the image His Son.  He states, 

...the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like...That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us.

Tozer is obviously saying we must have a right view of God to be right with Him.  I agree but want to take it a step further.  Sanctification is not just having a right view of God, but about getting more and more right with Him.  You see, if we start out with a wrong perception of God but still seek Him, He will eventually correct us.  It may take many painful episodes, seasons of suffering and needed discipline, but eventually, if we stay committed, He will bring us out of our wrong way of thinking.  He will reveal Himself as He did to Moses - as the Great I AM.  In that revelation, He will show us the right (and best) way to live, think and love.  That's important because: 

The better of view we have of God, the purer our connection to Him.

The more correct our perspective on Jesus, the more we can embrace the life He lived, died and rose again to give us.   When we accept Him doing His work, we are adopted into His family and that brings with it a whole host of benefits we can't get without Him.

When I first learned the word "sanctification," it scared me.  I figured this would be a long, arduous and stressful process.  I've come to find I don't have to be afraid of it.  I'm not perfect and God loves me too much to leave me that way.  The end result of His work is going to be better than I can do myself, I just have to see it through.  He is gentle and humble, a much better Teacher than the enemy who seeks to punish (even destroy) me.  This belonging to Christ, being a part of His Kingdom, gives Him power to make a difference in my life.  That power, through His corrective, sanctifying work gives my life purpose and meaning, more than I could ever find on my own.

Correction makes what is real in the physical what is already real in the spiritual.

Whatever you are facing today, I hope this makes what God is doing a little easier to swallow.  Sanctification is not meant to be punitive, or make you feel bad.  It's not about condemnation.  He is just moving you closer into His orbit, making you more of the person He designed you to be.

It's a cleansing of spirit, mind and body.  And hey - don't we all like to be clean?

Wherever you are, embrace who you will become instead of how He is getting you there.  Learn what you can about Him in this process.  If you are waiting on change in someone else, remember your own journey and how long it took to get right with God. 

It is a beautiful experience and you are being made more beautiful because of it.  I promise, you will see it!

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