“At different times,” Stan began, “we’ve talked about sanctification and what it means.”
“That’s right,” I replied, “and it seems to me that from what we’ve talked about, a fair definition of sanctification is being set apart for God and for His intended purpose or purposes.”
“That sounds about right,” Stan commented. “However, it took me quite some time to get the point.”
“For way too long,” Stan said, “I had the notion that what I wanted to do for God was what sanctification was all about. I went off on my own doing what I thought was best in being set apart for God.”
“Kind of like missing the first step of discipleship,” I commented, “the step of denying self?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Rather than being set apart for what God wanted, the actual fact was that I was setting myself apart for what I wanted to do for God. I was doing that for me, rather than being set apart for what God had for me to be and to do for Him, His will, and His purposes.
“For me,” he continued, “there was a crucial distinction I needed to realize. And that was for me to come to grips with the notion that sanctification is God’s idea, not mine.”
“God’s idea, not yours?” I replied. “In what way?”
“I think that sanctification is guided by the same basic principle as discipleship,” Stan said. “I have to deny, not exalt myself, I have to take up my cross in doing what God has for me, not what I have for me to do apart from God, and I am to follow Him wherever He leads, not lead myself wherever I want to go.”
“Was there a point when that realization became clear?” I asked.
“There was,” Stan answered, “the day I got to a certain point, looked around, felt lost, and the Holy Spirit asked, ‘Whose bright Idea brought you to this point?’”
“I had to admit it was my idea, and that it was not such a bright one!”
“Then what?” I asked.
“Confession and repentance to stop going my way and start going in the direction God has for me to go.”
For this is the will of God, your sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness, resulting in sanctification. Romans 6:19.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want to set me apart for you and your purposes. I confess that there have been way too many times when I have sought to set myself apart for you without even bothering to ask if that is what you want. Please forgive that foolishness. I need and I ask for all of the help you can provide in leading me, and in helping me to follow, where you want me in being yours in every aspect of my life. I want only to be set apart as you intend. That, too, is your desire; and it will happen as I deny self, take up my cross, and follow you. Please, Father, help. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: How would you define sanctification and what it means for your faith walk? How are you doing with that? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? Why or why not? If you sense there are changes in how you see being and doing what God intends, how can that happen? Can you do it on your own? If no, whose help do you need? Do you want that help? Why or why not?