Jo de Blois
The Truth About Sanctification
The Prayer for Sanctification
Sanctification is the work of the holy spirit in our lives. It makes us more holy, more separate, more like God. Because that is what we wanted when we were converted, is it not? To belong to God, to be his. I mean, that is what I said to God when I was converted. God saved me from my former life in a very miraculous way, absolutely outside of my own involvement. Because of this, I said, “God, I don’t deserve your saving work. I don’t deserve that you pick me, and not others, out of this extremely unlikely situation and that you make me yours. And so I said, Lord, please use me in the way that you want. I am no longer my own but yours. I relinquish the right to my life. Please change me as fast as you can to make me most useful for you.” I seriously meant it. Soon after, I started to be less sure about my prayer.
I regretted that prayer many times because God answered it his way and took my prayer very seriously. God started to change me, and it was painful. It was slow. It was a bumpy ride, and I was thrown off the wagon sometimes. And I tell you honestly; I am fearful now to pray that prayer for change because I know God took it seriously.
The Bible has a few stories to explain what sanctification is:
One story is the potter and the clay. The books of Job, Lamentations, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Romans, 2 Timothy, 2, they all have verses where people are compared to clay in the hands of God, the potter. The analogy states that the potter squeezes the clay, pounds on it, lumps it, stretches it… all to make it something that he wants it to be.
Then, the Bible uses an analogy of dying. A seed falls into the ground and dies. But it needs to die because it will spring up and bear fruit afterward.
Both analogies show the destruction, pain, and death of one-time use. Both analogies end in a beautiful story. But dying and being destroyed is painful, and it hurts. And that is why sanctification is often so painful, and it hurts. Let me give some examples of what God may do if he decides to answer your prayer for sanctification.
Do you want a closer relationship with God? And you truly pray for that? God may very well make you ill to make that happen.
Do you pray to God to teach you dependence on him? He might make you poor.
Do you want to be a kinder person? God may give you suffering to rip your pride away. If you know that this will happen, will you dare to ask for this in prayer?
Do you want to get rid of your addictions? Well, don’t think that God is simply going to take your desire for your addictions away. He may, and he does in rare cases. But usually, God asks you to make very hard choices, get rid of the means, and go through an absolute time of severe self-denial.
God owns you. Not you.
Let’s be honest: if you make God the author of your story, if you give your life to God, you don’t belong to yourself. Your money is no longer yours but belongs to God. Your future is in his hand. Your desires don’t matter; your sins have to go, your pride is useless…
If you don’t believe me, look at all these people that were broken before they were used in God’s kingdom. Moses, Peter, Paul, even Jesus was sent to the wilderness before his ministry began.
If you are converted, can you ask yourself: would you dare to tell God to sanctify you even if it may cost you everything? Will you tell God that he may hurt you if it makes you more beautiful and useful? Do you trust God that much to invite suffering into your life? Because God will not promise you an easy or pleasant life. But he promises a good outcome of your story. Next time you pray for change, let it go deep into your heart and soul and ask: do I mean this? And if you do, dare to pray it, and God will make you separate, apart, beautiful.