Friday, July 30, 2010

14k Versus Alloy

A mighty tension exists between one's spirit and one's flesh. No one among us is exempt, at least not this amonger.
Rarely have I seen that tension more evident than in the faith versus works, works versus faith arenas.
Today, as I've been considering the scriptures penned by Paul to the Thessalonians, I am reminded again (and again) that sanctification is a process, as well as the domain of God alone. It's not wrought in me - or for me - by me.
My flesh doesn't much like that fact (or any number of others), but my spirit is greatly humbled by so amazing a plan.
The Westminster Catechism explains sanctification this way:
"...the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more-and-more to die unto sin, and to live unto righteousness." (For a wide collection of related, supporting scripture & thought, go here ...)
Again, my flesh doesn't always get that, or even like it. When I come across scriptures like the following one, I often want to grab shovel & ax and begin picking (and choosing) my way into my own sanctified goldmine.
"It is God's will that you should be sanctified."
1 Thessalonians 4:3
Surely if it's God's will for me it must require something of me? Surely?
Then I move on down the page to discover my shovel & ax are useless in this regard.
May God Himself - the God of peace -
sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body
be kept blameless at the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The One Who calls you is faithful,
and He will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
So why is it my flesh insists upon being it's own lord & savior; it's own method & means of being sanctified?
Probably because I can't (won't) believe He doesn't expect it of me. And there's the REAL trouble at it's root: can't or won't believe.
Besides, how do I know what constitutes sanctification in my life?
Were it up to me, I'd craft an ordeal of my choosing that most certainly wouldn't entail trouble or trial. It would, however & most likely, come off as sanctimonious - - a result that is NOTHING like the one He has (present tense) in mind.
In the end - for me - it's all about leaning into and onto Him. What's required is that I know Him and His word - the truth; that I believe Him and surrender. No shovel or ax required.
It's a job - His - that's undertaken from the inside-out, rather than the outside-in. If it were, then I'm consigned to whatever MY hand (and shovel & ax) can pick out - sometimes gold alloy, sometimes fool's gold, and sometimes a bunch of mud.
They are not of the world,
even as I (Jesus) am not of it.
Sanctify them by the truth;
Your word is truth.
John 17:16-17
... from the beginning God chose you
to be saved through the sanctifying work
of the Spirit
and through belief in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
More about the process:


Shirley said...

A topic I've explored a lot these past few weeks...the end result being that I finally understood the correlation between faith and works, and it being far different from what I had been taught all my life. It's quite liberating, actually...knowing that the onus isn't on me because I KNOW I would fail through my own efforts!

Rebecca said...

How well you've communicated your understanding of this important truth! I also like that you've linked to a couple of GREAT students of the Scripture/preachers. Ray Stedman is one of my favorites. (I didn't check if this link was for Ray Sr.--now deceased--or his son, an equally good communicator....

Nel said...

Thanks for sharing. Going to have to check out the links you left. So glad you're back. Hope you are getting settled!
until next time... nel

LisaShaw said...

Oh dear friend,

This is one I often meditate on, pray about and talk about with my husband.

There are two specific things you addressed that I sent out a hearty shout of AMEN!

"I am reminded again (and again) that sanctification is a process, as well as the domain of God alone. It's not wrought in me - or for me - by me."

"it's a job--His".

That's for sure! If it were up to us we'd be in and remain in a hot mess! Ok, I'll just point that finger solely at myself for I know that without HIS constant working all the stuff out of me (pruning)...sanctifying and consecrating me constantly my flesh (which always battles with the spirit); would win more often and then I'd may as well be in a hole BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD!

Thanks for sharing HIS TRUTH!


Debbie said...

Our humanness always seems to think we need to do it. But I know when I try I always botch it up and start getting all legalistic which is not pretty. I don't want any of that.

I've found the secret to growing in my faith and the whole sanctification process is abide in Christ.

When my flesh rears its ugly head, the spirit reminds me who I belong to and I 'sometimes' yield. When I don't a struggle ensues.

Gosh Kathleen, you always keep us on our toes thinking. Love it and love you.

Just a little something from Judy said...

The last few years God has been chipping away my old preconceived ideas and beliefs. He is showing me in very clear and sometimes painful ways, that this Christian life I am called to live is truly all about Him, and not about me. What, the "me" that I thought was so important and so necessary to all that He was doing? Yes, that is the "me" He was talking about. The fact though that He chooses to use me is absolutely a reflection of His Amazing Grace in my life. The bigger He becomes in my life, the smaller I become. Thus, I totally agree with the blessed words of this post. I find it painful at times, but also so very freeing. Thank you for another post written from your heart that spoke to my heart.

Loren said...

Sanctification....such a process and one that only the Lord can do in and through us with each step His glory is revealed to us and those who have the opportunity to see the changes taking place. Having a willingness, a surrendering spirit and a desire is the beginning of a wonderful gift from the Lord as HE begins the journey in us!

Love you Kathleen and can't tell you how your teaching touches me! I pray things are coming together for you!

Rita said...

I want to be the "real" gold, not the "fool's" gold. He's the only One that can see to that!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Thanks so much...I think I was getting ready to pick up my own ax!
Blessings...I pray your move has started to bring the joy it was intended to

I am going to go hide that ax!

Nel said...

You have an award to pick up over by me. "Blog of Substance"

until next time... nel