Sanctification

Tuesday Devotional: 2 Peter 1

bibleRead 2 Peter 1:3-11

Projects usually have an estimated time of completion, and ultimately are completed.  A destination has an estimated time of arrival, and can ultimately be reached.   The transformation of an individual from sinful indifference toward Jesus Christ to a life forgiven and overcome by his spirit is neither a job that we work to complete nor a destination at which we arrive in this lifetime.  The process of spiritual transformation that occurs in a person through the work of the Holy Spirit is ongoing.  It never ends as long as life remains.  It is not gained by striving, and we do not enjoy the completed work in this life.  We are often unaware of the process of this work, although we continue to participate in throughout our lives.  The complexity of taking a sinful heart of man and recreating the holy heart of Jesus Christ in a person takes persistence, trust and time.  While there is nothing that we can offer God in the actual rewiring of our heart into one compatible with his, we are not absent or excluded from the process.  On the contrary, we are essential in this radical transformation.

Our role is not to produce the change.  Our role is to present the opportunity for change.  Our role is to give the Holy Spirit every opportunity to work out our salvation and rework the tendencies and desires of our heart.  In this role we cannot afford to be complacent or inattentive.  We must never assume that the work has been done.  We must never lose the heightened awareness of potential opportunities for change.  We must never assume that the destination has been reached.  If we ever find ourselves believing these lies we can be sure that we have effectively brought our transformation to a complete stop.  As we change and grow into the life of Jesus Christ we must not waste time trying to calculate the progress made or the progress to be made.  As we are transformed we must be aware of only one thing: that our work is not done and we are not there yet.

So, until then, until we breathe our last, our goal each and every day is to seek out opportunities for the Holy Spirit to reveal more of the spirit of Christ in us.  This search for opportunity will contradict our opinions, our plans and our preferences.  It will press us in ways that we are not used to being pressed.  However, in these moments where our heart and character are pushed into discomfort, the spirit of Christ will be able to reveal itself and prove the promises of Christ that we all can change, and we will all be made like him.  A disciple’s heart is never satisfied, content with ground already travelled.  A disciple’s heart is daily hungry for more. More intimacy with the life of Christ. More transformation in his image.  To a disciple, the challenges of this world prove the transformation of our hearts in the way we hunger for everything other than what the world has to offer us.  As we race to close the distance between us and the life and spirit of Jesus Christ, we will become completely unaware of our surroundings and our progress.  We will forget the course.  We will forget the race.  We will forget the clock.  We will run further than we thought we could and longer than we had planned to run. We will arrive without realizing that we have.  The race will be a fading memory to, at the end, being with him forever without ever having to run again.

Tuesday Devotional: 1 Thessalonians 4

bibleRead 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

The process of sanctification is ongoing, and once begun, cannot stop.  The basis of sanctification is the radical departure from our sinful nature into the complete and holy nature of God the Father.  This process does not happen overnight nor does it happen without challenge and suffering.  This process is often slow and often arduous.  However, although each step is a painful tear from the world with which we have until this point been so comfortable and satisfied, each step also reveals more and more validation that the process is not only necessary but is ultimately liberating.  As we move closer and closer into a union with the spirit of Christ himself in our daily lives, we likewise move closer to the realization of the hope towards which we ultimately strive.  That hope is the realignment of this world as it is with how it was intended to be.  That hope is also the realignment of our spirit from its current state back to its created purpose.  This original creation was intended to be one with the Father in every aspect.

The process of sanctification cannot be rationed; it is always more.  To be merely content with where God has brought us “so far” is a loss.  Resigning to the fact that he can do little more with us is absolute failure.  The spirit born anew in Christ always strives to go farther and search deeper than before.  This desire for more does not arise out of a desire for mere activity.  It arises out of the realization that the more we align ourselves with the spirit of Christ the closer we will be to him.  This closeness is what produces the “wings of eagles and feet of deer” in us that allow us to soar above and beyond, or run gracefully through, the suffering of this world.  This closeness has the power to calm every storm.  The desire to do more and more with Christ is not just busywork.  The desire to do more and more is proximity.  The more we strive to be like him, the more will be one with him.