Tag Archives: christianity

Sanctification-Purpose

photoPottersHands_1600x1200.9994505_stdHow mysterious to think that we were made in the image of God. Do you ever feel like  we are such failures that there is no possible way I resemble any part of God. This however was God’s main purpose when He created us(Mankind) in the Garden. In Gen 1:26 it reads, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”” This was God’s purpose then and it is His purpose now.

We were made in His likeness, having the nature of God, the characteristics, personality, emotions and will, so that we could have fellowship and communion with God. Unfortunately this was short lived as sin entered mankind through Adam, and we became separated from God. Adam and Eve decided to have it there way. They became self centered and wanted autonomy as the ate of the fruit promising them that freedom. It was because of this sin original that now all mankind is born into sin, and our image no longer reflects God.

But God

But God does not change, and His purpose for us does not change either. Although through Adam we all were made sinners, “Therefore as one trespass led to condemnation for all men” Rom 5:19a.  Jesus stepped in and makes us righteous, “so one act of righteousness leads to justifications and life for all men” Rom 5:19b. So what does this have to do with sanctification you ask? It is because God is still creating us in His image. We have, as Christians a new birth. We are born again. His original purpose is the same it is just being carried out through Jesus and not through Adam.

Conformed in His Image

It says in Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Also in 1Cor 15: 49  Paul writes  “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”   In Gal 4:19 it reads  “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!”

Sanctification.

This is the end result of sanctification. We are being set apart, made holy to be transformed, reborn, recreated, into His image.  Paul promises that all things will work together for His purpose to this chief end. Fortunately or unfortunately this is usually not an easy transformation. One of God’s most effective ways in conforming us is to allow failure, bring trials and hardships, to strip away self so that our image decreases as Christ’s image increases. So let us be reminded oh Christian that on our road to sanctification there will be road blocks, hazards, and obstacles in our way. Know that they are there working for our good to conform us into the image of our God,  because that is His purpose.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Sanctification

Growing Pains

caution-hard-lesson-ahead-300x276

Do you ever realize that spiritual growth usually comes along with some sort of trial. It seems to be some necessary process for growth that it is paired up with pain, heartache, hardship or loss. I recently had a such an experience and spent the last couple of days trying to sort it out.

I have written recently about the idea that I like to be liked, in this post. I know I am probably not alone in this, because who doesn’t? I however may take it to a different level because I think I care too much what others think of me. That being said, I recently found out that people whom I have known for many years, and I thought were my friends are talking about me behind my back and  the comments were not complimentary. This hurt me on two different levels, one being that people who I thought were my friends are obviously not. Secondly that there are people out there that I like and called friends who don’t like me back. This causes me a lot of confusion and disappointment

After the initial sting of hearing these comments I spent time contemplating what I said, did, or  didn’t do that caused this, and what I can do to rectify it. As I was thinking on  these things, I thought of something my boss said to me the other day. She said “I don’t trust anyone, or any person that is”. I thought, how sad to go through life thinking this way. However, after this current situation I thought maybe she has a point. I have a habit of letting people into my life too easy and I open up and let down any defenses I may have. I am a person who wears his heart on his sleeve and will tell you how I feel, and it will be evident how I feel by my actions and facial expressions. Maybe I should be more guarded like my boss and not trust anyone, this way I won’t get hurt.

The more I thought about this however I realized there is a lesson to be learned in all of this. I continue to realize that I put my trust in people and my satisfaction is in their approval. The funny thing is, there is no where in scripture that says our hopes and approval should be in others, rather it is to be in Jesus and Jesus alone. Time and time again we are told to love others, not have others love us. We are told to count others more significant than ourselves, but no where does it say make others love you. This is pride speaking, I am making myself more important than I am. I am finding my worth in others, or as Paul puts it, I am putting my confidence in the flesh. He goes on to say in Phil 3:8 “indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

I have failed at this miserably, I continue to count things I do as worth, and my confidence is in my flesh and the approval of others is the measuring stick of my worth. So although I feel as though I have lost friendships and the pain is still fresh. I have learned that is because my trust was in the wrong place, myself. I had made myself and others too big .Where my faith and confidence should be in Jesus. I know I will let others down and others will let me down. As my boss said “I don’t trust  anyone, or any person that is”, but she finished this statement by pointing skyward and saying,”There is only one I trust”. This is words to live by. I wish it just didn’t have to feel this way in order to learn this lesson.

6 Comments

Filed under Religion, Sanctification

In The Know

studyI want to be, and enjoy being an answer man. I am inquisitive by nature and like to know how things work and why things are the way they are. I also like to know the answers to questions so I spend time researching things in my area of knowledge. If I don’t know an answer to something, I will go and find out so I will have the answer for next time. My motives for this can go in many different directions and that will be for another time. For this post however I just want to point out the fact that I seek knowledge.

A Cliché that brought me to an epiphany

A friend of mine recently wrote a blog the other day discussing a cliché in the Church. He went on to tell of its uselessness and even its possible falsehood. His post was on the Saying “No God No Peace Know God Know Peace”. At first I agreed with a lot of what he was saying. It wasn’t until the next day that a light bulb went off in my head. Do I know God I asked myself?. A little background on myself. I read the bible approximately 30-60 min a day. I take notes on what I learned. I go to church 2 times a week with pen and notepad in hand. I read extra-biblical books on knowing scripture and on the whys and hows of the Christian faith. I spend time listening to podcasts of those who defend the faith, and I can do a decent job of explaining the evidence of what I believe and why I believe it. My mantra was learned from the verse 1Pet 3:15 “ but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”

Oh, We need to know Him Light bulb

On the surface many, including myself would say I know God. However, the one thing that separates the Christian faith from other religions. is that Christians are not bent (or shouldn’t be bent) on following a set of rules. The Christian faith is based on having a personal relationship with its creator, Jesus Christ. In His own words He says  “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15. Here Jesus is saying that we should know Him the same way He knows the father. Hmmm, maybe I know more about Him than actually know Him.

It Is About Relationship

I realized I have been spending too much time learning about Him and becoming His answer man instead of knowing Him. In the same way we are to know our spouses, our children, our friends we need to know our savior. We don’t read books on what our kids do and want. We don’t reference the internet to inquire what our wives or husbands would like for dinner, no of course not. We spend time with them learning what they like, watching what they do and we build a relationship with them that hopefully lasts a life time. This is how we should be spending time with Jesus. I realized I had my priorities a little confused, I would spend 85%-90% of my morning devotions reading the bible and 10%-15% of my time in prayer. I should probably reverse that. On top of that my reading was usually for information and knowledge rather  bettering my understanding of the one who gave his life for me so that I may have eternal life.

Jesus requires that we know him and not just know about Him. He goes on to say in John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  and in John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand”

So let us not lose sight as I have, that we are not to know about Christ, rather to know Him personally, intimately so we will know His voice. Let us abide in Him and Him in us so that we can know His will for us and “Know Peace, because we Know God”

3 Comments

Filed under Christian living, Religion

Just Have Faith

2238609065_3aeaca853d_z

Today While at Church the Pastor on a few occasions said, we just need to have faith, and we just need to believe. I have heard these remarks many times before, but it struck me differently today. How many times have you heard people say when going through a difficult time “Just have faith”? I would guess probably many times, but what exactly does that mean and is it that easy to obtain such a faith that it can bring you out of the lowest of lows and during moments of seemingly unceasing pain.

I think we throw around these phrases a little to glibly.  I have gone through times when it feels like God isn’t  there at all, and if He is He sure isn’t listening. Times of prayer that go on seemingly unanswered and times when life doesn’t make much sense. I also have friends that have hit rock bottom and don’t know where to turn to next to get relief from the hardships of life. I know I don’t want to  hear, and they probably don’t want to hear “Just have faith” and things will get better.

The word “Just” makes it seem like it is something easy to obtain. It’s like telling someone who wants to climb Mt Everest, Just go climb it. This dismisses the amount of training involved, the expenses to do it, the time off to do it and having a team of experts to help you along the way. I think faith is similar to this. It takes time to understand who and what you are putting your faith in. It takes time to learn that God is faithful to us and that we can trust Him. But this takes time like in any relationship. It takes time to build trust before you put your faith in that person. So too in putting faith and trust in God in order to believe in Him and in His word.

Let us not then loosely say” just have faith”, and “just believe”. Let’s replace it with learn how to trust in God. Spend time in the bible to learn of His character and how others who did put their faith in Him even during the hardest of times that God was faithful to them and he too will be faithful to you. It is hard to have faith in the unseen, So I tell you not to just have faith, rather fight for it, seek it, pray for it.

8 Comments

Filed under Christian living, Religion

Sanctification-Acceptance

I want to continue to build on the foundation on which holiness needs to be constructed. Last week we looked at the principle of faith and that it is based upon the evidence of things not seen, and the need for it to be God dependent  Today we are going to look at the fact of being accepted in Christ. For many of us, this may seem like an easy thing to believe, but for others it seems a distant reality. Why is this so?

Just like faith, our acceptance of God is based on the truth of God’s word and not our emotions. How often we fail at this. For many of us when we are going through good times we may feel that God is blessing us and we give Him praise for these blessings.During these times we feel loved by the father. When hardships come however, we, like Job’s friends start to reason why this is so. Has sin come into our lives, have I fallen out of favor from God?

If we look at the life of Joseph we can begin to see how situations surrounding us have little to do with our acceptance in God. In every hardship Joseph encountered the Scripture says “and God was with Joseph” When he was in the pit, when he was a slave in Potipher’s house, and when he was in prison the Bible says that God was with him. Do you think Joseph felt that God was with him during these times? Do you think God is with you during the hardships? Again many of us base our faith and our acceptance on emotion and on the situations surrounding us. We need to break this mindset and realize that God’s word is firm and true. In Romans it says “Every believer is accepted by the Father, in Christ being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” You see our acceptance is through Jesus, it is not based on us. It is not based on how good we think we are doing in the faith, nor is it based on the hardships that we are going through. It is not based on if you have sinned because it is not based on us. It is based on Christ and Christ alone.

This is an important fact to rest upon, because we will all face hardships. We will encounter times that don’t seem to make any sense and we don’t find purpose for. Like Joseph, we too may find ourselves in places we feel we have no right being. We will question God’s love for us and ask why has he allowed such tragedy to bestow us. But we need to stand firm, and know through it God is with us. If you believe your acceptance has anything to do with you, you have not trusted in Christ alone, because you are putting faith in yourself. We need to arrive at the truth that we can not please God through what we do or what we don’t do, or what situation we are in. We can stand firm in the truth that if we are in Christ, we are accepted. It says in Eph.1:5 “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will” and in Rom.8:16-17 ” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ”.

So rest assured that whether in season or out of season if you are in Christ, you are accepted in the Father. Do not let you situations dictate your faith. Don’t let your perceived failure to determine your acceptance nor let pride creep in and think you deserved His grace. Rest on the solid truth of His word and know without a shadow of a doubt that you are in the palm of His hand and nothing can snatch you from it.

1 Comment

Filed under Sanctification

The Story is Not About You

bookhug

I was watching a show with my kids the other day, and there was a part of the story where this girl was chasing after some boy she previously broke up with.  Things however were not turning out the way she was hoping it would. This dilemma caused the girl much sadness and angst, and was thinking about ways to get the boy back .This is when her good friend stepped in and said, “I don’t think you are the main character in the story anymore”. This got me thinking about how we all think we are the main part of some story.

We might have different stories that we want to be the main character in, but if we are honest with ourselves we will discover this to be true. For me I have a desire to be liked, and even more than that is the desire to be needed. I find that I have a propensity to do things to get positive reactions from as many people as I can. I am not always conscious that I am doing this, but when I step back I can see how my actions are based on the approval of others. Why do I do this? Usually because I want people to talk about me and make the story about me. Again this is not in the forefront of my mind, but when I check my motives I realize I will do things with the hopes of getting people to like me. More than this is the my desire to feel needed. Who doesn’t want to be the hero in someone’s life. I find I gravitate to people who are going through a difficult time and I want to comfort them. Now that being said I do genuinely want to help people and comfort them. I do however need to check my motives and make sure I am not just trying to be someone’s savior. Last time I checked that job is already taken.

These are some of my ways that I try to be the main character of the story, but what are yours? I was once told an analogy about this as being a bottomless cup. We all want to fill the cup with something that makes us feel complete or the main character of the story. For me as mentioned is the feeling of being liked or needed. For you maybe it is success, or position that makes you the main character of the story. Or maybe it is looks, you want to be the head turner when you walk into the room. Whatever it is we all have something that wants us to be noticed, liked, needed, or the feeling of having power. Unfortunately the cup being bottomless will never be filled with the satisfaction you are filling it with. The desires we are trying to fulfill will never be quenched. Unless that is if you change your cup.

The day after hearing this cup analogy, I came across this passage. The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot…Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. Ps. 16:5,9  What we need to do is break that bottomless cup of ego, of self-centeredness and replace it with the Lord. Not only is he the cup, but he is  also the substance that fills it. This concludes with us finally being satisfied and our whole being will rejoice. Instead of self-focused, self-centered living that never satisfies, allow the Lord to be the main character in the story.

5 Comments

Filed under Christian living

Sanctification-Faith

faith[8]

Here is the first in a series on sanctification. We are going to tackle many different principles that comprise this process of becoming holy. The first thing  that we need  in this process is faith, for without it our journey can, and never will begin. But what is Faith?   Hebrews 11:1 says it this way, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” NKJV.

I think the thing that many people miss about faith is that it is not a blind faith. Not only that but the writer of Hebrews says it is “the evidence of things not seen.” It is based on evidence and this evidence on the truth of God’s word. This is the starting point. We need to understand that we need to base our faith in the Word of God to start this process of sanctification.

What Faith is Not.

It is not impressions, for our impressions can lead us astray. Our impressions are based on emotion which can sway us depending on our mood for the day.Some days I feel God does not love me, but His word tells me otherwise.Which one should I believe, my impressions or His Word?  The answer is always the Bible, for it is the truth that our faith is built on. Faith is also not based on probabilities. Faith has nothing to do with probabilities, again it is based on fact therefore it is certain, not probable. Faith is also not presumptuous as Evan Hopkins writes “Faith needs facts to rest upon. Presumption can take fancy instead of fact.”

Faith is God Dependence

Therefore since faith is based on facts, and that being the facts of God’s Word we need to be dependent on that truth. This results in us needing to be fully dependent of God and NOT on ourselves. Since we can not trust our emotions, or our impressions we can not be trusted. The only way however to be God dependent is to end self dependence.  Unfortunately, our autonomy is not easily overcome, this is why many times God allows suffering, sorrow, pain, and brokenness to bring us to a place where we begin to understand our need for Him. It is often during these times where we  truly begin to realize this. It was in this weakness that Paul realized this truth when he wrote, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong”. 2Co 12:9-10

It was just after reading this and as I was beginning to process this idea of faith when a trial came immediately upon me, and I was powerless to change it. My spirit was crushed by this trial, and I wanted to rectify the situation. It was in this moment that God reminded me that He is in control and not me. Stop trying and start trusting. Stop fixing and start having faith. Stop depending on yourself and start depending on God. This is where our journey begins, with faith. As J.B Stoney says “The just shall live by faith, not only in your circumstances, but in everything. I believe the Lord allows many things to happen on purpose to make us feel our need for Him”. Let us meditate on these things. Gods word is fact and should be our basis for faith, and in response to that fact we need to be fully dependent on Him.

1 Comment

Filed under Sanctification