Sanctified for Service!
Saint Paul provides some timely Advent Season advice for us in his first letter to the Thessalonians. “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Thes. 5:21-23).”
As human beings, we come into this world “bent away” from the Lord. In our broken human nature, our natural inclination is to please and serve ourselves, which is the opposite of a God-honoring lifestyle. Once we become believers our Heavenly Father starts to gradually bend our will and fallen ways back towards His Holiness. We must however cooperate and yield to the process, or we will be little use to His kingdom.
The Lord wants to fully eradicate every thought pattern and activity promoting dependency on anything other than Him. This means that relying on oneself for security, salvation, or physical and emotional comfort are outside God’s will. Actions that advance a person at the expense of others are also ungodly.
In those areas where we resist bending toward the Lord, He may choose to break us by allowing pain into our life. As a result, we are driven to Him in surrender. To break a person may sound harsh, but God does this work in love. He sees beyond the hurt to the outcome and we become more mature and faithful servants, having walked through the trial (Rom. 8:28). The truth is, our loving Father takes each hard step with us, offering guidance, grace, and peace. Seeing the blessings God has brought about through my own hardships and trials, I can honestly thank Him now for every period of brokenness I’ve experienced.
The fact is, we all have areas of self-focus that need to be bent or broken by God’s loving hand. Once we honestly look inward to discover wrong habits and thought patterns, our heavenly Father will bring them to our minds. Once we surrender to His sanctifying work in our lives, we can become wise useful servants.
Grace and peace always,