Being saved happened to you in a single moment: being "sanctified" is something that happens to you continuously. Sanctification has to do with your daily walk.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 reveals God's intent on this matter: "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely..."
The word "sanctify" can mean "holy." And the importance of holiness cannot be underestimated. The Bible says "without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
There is something very important about sanctification that we must never forget: we have a part to play. God does not sanctify us without our cooperation. We must learn to work "with" God so that He, in turn, works "in" us. It can only be this way because God is love, and true love does not force its will upon another. Thus God invites us to participate with Him in this matter of our sanctification.
And how do we work "with" Him? We engage in those things that contribute to our growth. Is this not also true of our physical growth? If we want to be physically strong and fit, we exercise, get enough sleep, adopt a proper diet. And the same is true on the spiritual side. We grow in the Lord as we implement certain practices that open the door for God to work in our heart.
What are those practices? We begin to meditate on scripture, pray, fast, as well as incorporate the other disciplines into our lives. The great saints of the past understood the necessity of these practices. They were men and women of prayer, meditation, and fasting. They knew the importance of these practices and engaged in them often.
John Wesley fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays. It was not a long, lengthy, starvation-type fast. He simply skipped lunch and sought the face of God - instead of feeding his own face! I read where he fasted from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon on those days. That's not long - but it was certainly beneficial to Mr. Wesley - and eventually to the rest of the world! All of us understand that if we would grow physically, we must eat. The same is true in the spiritual world. If you would grow spiritually, you must feed on the Word of God. Many Christians fail to see this. They conclude that going to church, or saying a prayer before lunch, will suffice. But this is a poor diet for the soul.It also explains why our churches are in such pathetic condition, filled with Christians who cannot rise to the occasion, and do do not have the impact they were destined to have. The new you is there, but, like a new baby, he must be fed, nourished, and exercised. If this is not the case, you will "fail to thrive."
There is probably not a book in the world that can help you understand the necessity of the spiritual disciplines than what has been called the "8th most important book in the 20th century" - CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE, by Richard Foster.
I like this part! We live in a dark world filled with chaos, under the threat of terrorism, infested by drugs, and filled with lust. The whole world, the Apostle John said, lies under the control of the devil (see 1 John 5:18)And you and I, though we are "sinful," have been "saved," are now being "sanctified," and now we learn that into this godless world we have been...SENT!
Jesus put it like this: "As the Father has sent Me, so have I sent you..."Think of what this means for your life. You are not "just" a police officer, a high-school teacher, or a plumber. You have been commissioned and sent. You are just as ordained as your pastor! His ministry behind the pulpit is no more important that yours. You have a calling on your life just as he has on his.C.S Lewis once wrote that Christianity is a "fighting religion." He went on to say that the Christian believes that God made the world with all of its beauty- but something has gone terribly wrong with the world. But, Lewis added, God now insists that that which is wrong with the world is to be set aright. And that's where YOU AND I enter the picture. We are called to "fix the world," so to speak.
Jesus said of His motley crew that they - you and I - are the salt and light of the world. Salt is used to make food taste better. And that is precisely what we Christians are to do - make life taste better. Where you are employed should be a better place because you are there.
We are also "light," Jesus said. And as such we are called to let our light shine in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Our good works are the result of the touch of Jesus upon our life. He has affected us, turned us into new creatures who are launched into the world everyday with the good news of the gospel - and zealous for good works.
I once heard a story about 4 business men rushing to catch a rain after work. As they ran toward the train, they turned a corner and collided with a table covered by apples, manned by a 10-year old blind boy. He was selling the apples to raise money for his school books. When the men knocked over the table, the apples went in every direction. The men picked themselves up and rushed to the train, leaving the little blind boy to fend for himself. Once on the train, one of the men was conscience stricken by what he had done. He told the others to have his wife pick him up later, and then made his way back to the boy's table. "Here, young man," he said to the boy, handing him a 20-dollar bill. "This should cover the cost of your apples." The businessman started to walk away when the young boy hollered at him: "Sir, are you Jesus?"
Fellow believer, you and I are to be Jesus to this dark wold. We are to shine in the midst of this fouled-up, screwed up, upside-down world. We are to live as over-comers, having a positive impact on those around us. You can do this: it's IN you!
WE ARE SENT
A few years back at roll call, minutes before we hit the street, my Sergeant told me he wanted me to go to a local elementary school that day and have lunch with the kids. At first I was hesitant, not wanting to be told what to do. But I soon repented and when lunch time rolled around, I headed to the school. About 200 kids were at lunch, and after getting my plate I sat down in front of the only kid who did not have a plate of food in front of him. Noticing he had no food I asked him why.
He said his mother had forgotten to give him lunch money. I asked him if he was hungry, and breaking into tears he said, "I'm sooo hungry.." I quickly found a teacher and the problem was solved. I then realized why I was there. I walked to a corner, trying to conceal my tears. In that corner the Father spoke to me: Son, you didn't want to come here today. But I knew that kid would be here - and that he would be hungry. I SENT you here to see to it that he got to eat...
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