Laying aside messages others give us isn’t easy. Especially when so much of what enters our head is intended to bring us down or seduce us with worldly pursuits. What seems to be drowning out the sound of God’s sanctifying call on your life? What do you need to lay aside? I know that I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading things others post on social media. It’s time I honestly don’t have. Sometimes a particular problem will derail my studies or pursuit of Jesus.
Paul knew his young protege Timothy would face many distractions and would be tempted to back down in the face of opposition and injustice. Timothy was ministering during a time when Christians were being persecuted for their faith. He encouraged Timothy to continue to present truth in the face of trials (1 Timothy 1:18). He told him to keep on learning studying, and growing in his faith. He challenged him to continue fighting against evil and hypocrisy. Paul wanted him to be confident in what he believed so he would know heresy when he heard it.
Paul wanted Timothy to pursue excellence and make his desires God’s desires at any cost. Just as difficulty and discomfort distract us from pursuing God, so does becoming too comfortable in good circumstances! We become cozy and snuggled in our perfect Christian worlds with our Christian friends and we cease taking the gospel to those who have not heard. Our fervor for the lost is snuffed out and we become content with spiritual mediocrity. Our desire for spiritual growth grows dim because we don’t want to risk the pain that comes with sanctification.
Sanctification requires change on a personal level, on the heart level.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NASB)
During the tough times, when the hard edges are being carved off of our hearts, He comforts us and assures us through His Word that He does not make mistakes. We get upset when our vision of life is altered, or when God does not “behave” as we think He ought. We must be careful to guard our hearts against disloyalty and grumbling when he orchestrates a particular set of circumstances for our sanctification.
For growth to occur, there must be activity in a forward direction. God will be faithful to bring the people and circumstances into our lives for growth and change to take place. Because He is God, He is able to work together every single event of our lives to progressively sanctify us. He is able to overrule all the evil in your life and cause it to work together for good. He is perfect in His wisdom, His way, and His timing. He is always lovingly working.