(A recycled post from last year.)
Over the past few weeks I have set out to write on sanctification for my book. Big word huh? Basically it means Christian growth - God's work in changing us to be more like Himself, preparing us for the glory to come.
I knew I hadn't had it all figured out. Nobody does. But really, I have nothing down. He shows that to me when I write. I'm always thankful.
The past month I have been more than icky towards my family. How ironic is it that when my six year old, who is still learning how to spell, writes a note meaning to say "You are the best" misspelled best to say "beast." Ha! There's truth in that. I've most certainly felt like "The Beast" lately.
And when I've lived in disobedience like I have been; knowing that I'm avoiding God, wrestling with my anger, He's been rejoicing over me.
You see I've seen my ugliness and every day I wake up and decide that "today I'm going to change!" I've fought admitting this to myself. I know that preaching a try harder/do better sermon to myself is not the way to go about it. You've heard me say it, yet I still do it.
Now I don't want to go on about my sin. I can be obsessive in my pursuit of getting better. I think most of us are. We spend our days either trying to figure out how not to sin or trying to figure out how to make things better after we have sinned. A pursuit of ourselves indeed.
I love what Tullian Tchvidjian says here. It's exactly what's been on my mind during the few quiet moments between sin obsessions:
"We spend too much time thinking about how we're doing, if we're growing, whether we're doing it right or not. We spend too much time pondering our failure and brooding over our spiritual successes. In short, we spend way too much time thinking about ourselves and what we need to do and far too little time thinking about Jesus and what he's already done."
We have an obsession with sin. We have an obsession with wanting to grow and be better. It's what consumes us. We are told to "be the best that we can be" and when we aren't we despair and question God. "I'm trying Lord! Why aren't you allowing me to succeed?"
What is the remedy for all of this? Are we to turn our focus towards others? Surely if we are busy serving others and conjuring up all we have to love them then we will be too busy being kind to think of ourselves. No, actually by doing this we are still self-focused. You can argue that and I will listen but the truth is that anything done out of our efforts is done for our own edification. Anything mustered up from a will to do better still comes from us.
Does that just make you want to give up? Throw your hands in the air and declare that if your efforts are void then you will just live for yourself?
Don't despair so quickly, friend. Though focusing on our sin or focusing on others may be outside of His will for us, our sanctification is not. Our change is truly His desire and it is truly a job that only He is big enough to do.
To remedy all of this, to truly live outside of our self, our sin obsession must be turned into a Savior obsession. Focusing on what's been done for us. Swimming in the grace that He has poured out on us, saving us despite our vile, self-seeking heart. Reveling in His unending love for us when we push Him aside in our self-reliance and desire to be number one.
He has loved you from the very beginning. Not since the day you were saved but since forever. He knew that you would belong to Him and has been desiring you...ALWAYS. He has desired you in your sin, not making it His obsession.
Let us obsess over a Savior who would do such a thing as give His life for us bringing us freedom from the very sin that we allow to consume us.
Be free and enjoy the feast He has prepared for you. Partake in His never ending grace. Take in a nice deep breath of the gospel and live in the holiness that is already yours through the Holy Spirit.