“Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.For this is the will of God, your sanctification:”
(1 Thessalonians 4:1–3 ESV)
The most frequently asked question I receive as a pastor is “What is God doing in my life?’
The question is usually asked in relation to times of difficulty and temporal adversity.
I ask it often myself.
While one rarely knows what He’s doing specifically, in a general sense He’s working you through the process of sanctification.
I don’t like that answer…
It implies that God is making me nice, and polite, and pure…all the things I’m not and have limited interest in being.
What it really means is that God is transforming me into the image of His Son and training me for kingdom duties.
He’s setting me apart…making me “holy”.
The means to this transformation are (usually) difficult situations and more difficult people.
You can’t learn to endure afflictions without being afflicted.
You can’t learn to love your enemies until you have some.
You can’t learn to serve until there are people that need your service…when you don’t want to serve.
We rebel against this with carefully crafted, well accepted reasoning and actions.
We enlist people to pray us out of even minor affliction.
We set “boundaries” against perceived “enemies”…labeling them as sub Christian or sub human is helpful in this.
We serve within the boundaries of our convenience.
We make sure the process lasts a lifetime…
In reality, those adversities and enemies are your friends in sanctification…the tools God is using to make you look like Him.
Life is a little more bearable when we view them as such.
You’re going to shine…He promised.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
(Jude 1:24–25 ESV)