“In the process of sanctification, the Spirit of God will strip me down until there is nothing left but myself, and that is the place of death. Am I willing to be myself and nothing more? Am I willing to have no friends, no father, no brother, and no self-interest— simply to be ready for death? That is the condition required for sanctification.” – My Utmost for His Highest
I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I had been feeling and experiencing lately until I read this devotional from My Utmost for His Highest. Have you ever felt a keen awareness of God’s hands chipping away at the walls around your heart as if He’s trying to get to the core of you? It’s painful, you feel yourself resisting, you feel exposed, you feel vulnerable, and you feel ever so dependent on His grace and mercy.
As God exposes my flaws, my shortcomings, my sins, it is altogether horrifying, deeply disappointing, and sobering. And as I try to rid myself of the things that He exposes, I find myself helpless, defeated and often frustrated. I am reminded of my youngest daughter who will diligently work on a project for a period of time and when she realizes she just can’t get it right, she cries out in frustration.
And then God brings me to my knees and makes it even more clear that I am indeed helpless, powerless and utterly hopeless…without Him. He reminds me that “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:20-21) It is in that moment of complete surrender that He is able to penetrate to the very core of who we are and make His dwelling there, the only place from which He is able to transform us.
I am aware that His grace is sufficient but instead of resting in my sinfulness, I find myself compelled to actively pursue God’s holiness. I seek to please God not as an orphan trying to gain acceptance into a family but as a child seeking to please her parent. It says in 2 Peter 1:3 that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” And further down the passage in 2 Peter 1:5-7, Peter explains that “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”
In my pursuit of holiness and a life of obedience, all I can do is the only thing I know how: To read His word and do what it says. It comes down to these two simple but essential steps. In 2 Timothy 3:16, God’s word is described as useful for “training in righteousness.” In James 1:25, the importance of His word is emphasized, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
In the process of pursuing, there is progress and as many preachers have put it, we desire progression, not perfection. During those times when I feel helpless and defeated, I will remember God’s promise and faithfulness as well as Paul’s words, “that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:4-6)
Have a blessed rest of the week!
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