by Ross Gilbert
We live in a broken world. You don’t have to look far to see that things are not what God made them to be in the Garden of Eden. It could be a terminal or debilitating illness, loss of loved ones, difficulties with those around you, inability to find a job, or haunted by your past from the sin and failures of yourself or others towards you, we all face troubles and trials in this world.
And how you deal with those trials depends less on the trial itself and more on how you approach them. Put another way, it is not what you face, but how you face it that matters most. That’s because regardless of the size and difficulty of the trial – Jesus is always bigger. That means that the battle is not won and lost in dealing with the trial itself, but in whether we will turn to and trust Jesus in us to handle the trial. And while that is a simple explanation, the application is anything but.
Depending on the trial, my first reaction is not always turning to Jesus, especially if the trial is somehow related to things in my past that have left a wound on my soul. But it is in these moments where Jesus is doing His greatest miracle of healing – He is sanctifying me.
We often think of sanctification as the process where we sin less and live more upright lives. And while that will happen as a result of Jesus’ work in our soul, that is not His primary goal. It is something much greater. His goal of sanctification is to bring healing to my soul, which has been damaged by this broken world. The damage being the lies and mistrust that our enemy bombards us with. Lies that I believe to be true as a result of the disappointments and hurts that I have and am experiencing. It is from these lies that our enemy provokes us to choosing to live out of the flesh, to try and find comfort and strength somewhere other than God.
So Jesus, after exposing the lies to be just that, lies, He begins to tell us the truth. The truth about Himself, that He is a God that loves us fully, deeply and completely with a love that never changes regardless of my behaviour, either good or bad. It is a love that already knows about every single one of my past and future mistakes, but accepts me and wants me anyways.
He tells me the truth about myself, that while I may not yet live as I want to, I am still His beloved, holy and righteous child. That the old me was crucified with Him and now I am a brand new creation that has been forever united to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That He is proud of me and nothing can ever change that. Absolutely nothing, not even me.
He tells me the truth that while the circumstances that I face are difficult, challenging and would cause many brave souls to lose hope, He lives in me to face it alongside me. That I do not have to battle with trouble in my own strength, but with the strength of God who has proven to be stronger and greater than giants, lions, entire armies and even death itself.
Armed with the truth, I can begin to make better choices in life, the best and most important of all is to trust the One who loves me. This is the work of sanctification and healing that Jesus is doing inside of me and you right now. And notice that it is His work. (see Philippians 1:6 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24) My work is to believe Him, to listen to Him, to trust Him. And as He works in me, my trust in Him grows.
In Christ who is our Life,
original online version: http://www.crosswaystolife.org/Jun_2015_Sanctification_and_Healing.html