Sanctification and holiness are words that used to strike terror into my heart. As a believer I have always tried to pursue holiness, and I always seem to fail. It seems like no matter what I do I can’t escape sin and can’t get past my own brokenness and mess. Even in seasons where I am experiencing freedom from some sins, there always seems to be something else I need to fix or get better at. I’ve felt like I was on this endless tightrope of spiritual development that I kept falling off of and of which I couldn’t seem to find the end.
While God’s heart is most definitely for our sanctification and holiness, his perspective is far different than what I just described. You see, God knows that sanctification doesn’t come about through our efforts. I can in no way sanctify myself because in and of myself I have no holiness. The truth God has for us today is simply this: sanctification comes about by true relationship with our heavenly Father alone. Holiness is the direct result of openly and continually encountering the nature of a perfect, loving, and available God.
If we are going to experience the fruit of righteousness, we must learn to trust God in his plan for our sanctification. We must learn to trust that in encountering him we will experience freedom from our sin and healing for the wounds that drive us to the things of the world.
Psalm 37:5-6 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” When we trust God to bring about our righteousness by simply committing our way to him and trusting in him, we engage in a process of sanctification founded on encounters with his loving grace.
Sanctification is not meant to be this heady process of turmoil and striving that we so often experience. While it may be difficult, it is designed to be filled with the continually forgiving and loving heart of our good Father. It is designed to be based on experiencing Jesus that we might become more like him.
Spend time today seeking the heart of your heavenly Father. Commit your ways to him and trust in him. Ask him to reveal his heart for your righteousness. Ask him to guide you into a process of sanctification marked by his grace, love, and nearness. Stop seeing the process of sanctification as a never-ending timeline and instead center it wholly around relationship with your heavenly Father. May you experience righteousness and holiness today as you encounter the perfect nature of Jesus. May your day be marked by peace as you commit your spiritual development to the hands of the Potter. And may you be transformed into the image of Jesus as you engage in the process of sanctification based on relationship with a good, near God.
1. Meditate on the process of sanctification. Allow God’s heart as described in Scripture to stir up your desire to engage in relationship-based sanctification.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” Psalm 37:5-6
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
2. In what ways have you been striving for your own righteousness and holiness rather than receiving it from God? In what ways have you been looking at sanctification as a timeline or tightrope rather than as a relationship with a good God?
“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2:21
3. Take time to encounter the holiness of your loving Father. Open your heart and receive his presence. And in his presence commit to him the process of your sanctification. Allow peace and rest to fill your heart as the burden of striving for sanctification falls off in light of God’s glorious grace.
“But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” 1 Peter 1:15
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’ And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!'” Isaiah 6:1-5
I pray that 2 Peter 1:2-4 will fill you with the courage to have grace and rest in the process of sanctification. May your life be marked by God’s forgiveness and grace.
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
Extended Reading: 1 Peter 1 or watch The Bible Project’s video on 1 Peter.
May your life be marked by God’s forgiveness and grace.