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Becoming Christlike

April 6, 2014

road to a church

It was a dark and stormy night. This just might work. I have been trying to figure out how to begin this post. I’ve known what I wanted to say, just not known how to begin. My lawyerly husband tells his young lawyers when they need to write a brief and don’t know how to begin,  to start with the phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night…” and go from there….

That was his suggestion this morning after he attempted to tell me what to write…I didn’t need advice on what to write…just how to begin….hence,

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

I’m an English major and writing is what I do.  But I do remember how difficult it was, at times, to begin a writing assignment. What is that? How can you know what to say and not how to begin?  So, dear reader,  this has been my dilemma.  I happen to be thinking about the concept of sanctification and needed a beginning….

Sanctification is a really big word that volumes have been written about. None, of which, I have read, mind you…..but still. For centuries Christians had no access to volumes of any sort and yet they understood the concept of sanctification…so, shouldn’t we?

What does this word mean? Sanctification’s root word means holiness. Something set apart. Once we are saved,  we are set apart, by God. Set apart, from this world, unto God. We now belong to Him.  Basically, what this means is,  we don’t do things like everyone else. Or we shouldn’t.

Sanctification is the process, after salvation, by which we become more Christlike.  We make decisions everyday ~ to be our ‘mean ole, selfish self ‘ or to be Christlike in our behavior and choices. We decide daily if we are going to grow toward Jesus or remain stagnant in our faith. Everyday  we have opportunities to be better…simply by the choices we make. We’re not just given the choice to be “better people.”   We are given the choice to chose to be a Holy People.

“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”       1 Corinthians 1:30.

It may sound trite and simplistic,  but the simple phrase…”WWJD?” is a great question to ask ourselves in any and every situation.  How would Jesus respond to a tired and crying child? How would he respond to a person whose angry remarks stem from hurt feelings? How would Jesus respond to a person who had sinned greatly but was very remorseful for their sin? How would Jesus respond to someone who was hateful to you,  although you had done nothing to deserve their treatment?

How would he respond to someone who was simply hateful, angry, hurtful, crying, or mean?  I will tell you. He suffered in silence. He forgave them. He held them close and loved them. And that is what we will do, too.  We are becoming Christlike, everyday.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.  15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. Titus 2:11-15

I will tell you a scary scripture…Without holiness no one will see the Lord.  yikes.  Hebrews 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

It seems to me that we have an obligation that goes along with this free gift of salvation. Yes, we’re saved…but we are to become holy,  aka sanctified,  as we grow to be more Christlike, e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1: 14

The God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

God himself will sanctify us as we obey His word.

How?  By living each day~ offering everyone, in every situation,  what Jesus would offer….. love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, kindness, self control and forgiveness. As we do, we will become more and more sanctified each day, becoming Christlike, and a holy people.

A preacher I heard recently gave a great example of the sanctification process. We are all saved, and this is where the journey begins…for all of us.  We all begin at the same starting place; salvation.   This road has the same ending place, the same destination for all of us…..Jesus and holiness/perfection/sanctification is at the end of the journey.  It’s where we’re all headed.

Everyone is at a different point along the same road.  Some are farther along on this road to sanctification than others.  Some of us lag behind. Some wander off the path. Some hit a bump or a mudslide…and have some cleaning up and catching up to do.  But we are all headed toward sanctification. Holiness. Being Christlike.

Sanctification is our spiritual journey. Be careful not to spiritualize it.  It’s the opportunities we have everyday to be like Jesus. Christlike.

Does someone need encouragement? Encourage them. Does someone need help?  Then help them. Does someone need to know you love them? Then tell them and show them. Has someone hurt you? Then forgive them~ even if they don’t ask for it and don’t deserve it. Forgive them, anyway. Extend mercy where mercy is needed. Hope for the hopeless.

It’s not so hard.  As we do these things we become more and more like the Lord. That, dear reader, is being sanctified. I’m on the road. Are you?

…..It was a dark and stormy night… as I searched for just the right words to explain a really big concept….. I picked up my laptop and I began to blog about being sanctified…about becoming Christlike.  What I realized is ~ I need to get moving….people need Jesus…

What about you? Where are you on this road to being Christlike?  I hope you are moving forward daily….and when you stumble, like me,  you will get up, brush yourself off and keep pressing forward …

Bless you.

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