Upon entering the world of writers in an online age, I found myself realizing how false my quick judgments can be and how often I assume wrongly.
For one, I have a tendency to assume that every one I meet has the same value system as me. It’s kind of not a safe position to begin with, you know? I assume they believe and think like I do. Of course, there are many times when they do and many when they don’t. Even when I’ve been right about this, there is inevitably some point of disagreement which will come to light between any two individuals.
Enter online friendships with other writers. I begin to accept more and more requests and connect with hundreds of others who feel called to write in some way. As I follow their feeds, especially during highly charged media coverages, I realize many of them think differently than me. Even if we come to the same conclusion, we may arrive at it in a different way.
Differences between us have always been there, but when our opinions and passions are constantly fed to the public world it seems they are more quickly evident.
What do we do with them?
Surprise, surprise. We have a choice to make.
We can stay quiet, respond in healthy ways, or react with vile words while hiding behind the safety of a screen. I know numerous bloggers on the receiving end of reactionary meanness. It’s painful and I wish I could make it stop.
You know what I would have done most often a few years ago? I would have stayed quiet while harboring strong judgments. Then I would have fretted my anger internally to the point of tense dreams and externally frustrated living. All because I wanted others do, say, think, and believe like me.
I was wrong.
The longer I live and the more I experience, the more I realize my tendency to pigeon-hole people into categories that meet my defined expectations, rather than allowing God to be the one who defines what I see. In me. And in others.
If we value each of us as image bearers of God, we begin to see value in how each of us reflects him differently. We need each other. When we choose community, where our vision of others is tested and our true values come to the surface, may we also choose sanctification.
Sanctification sounds big. It’s a lofty sounding word we may struggle to understand.
I’ve considered it as the way we grow and become more perfected, but my filter for understanding this made me live with greater burdens. Essentially, I thought I had to do perfection. As a result, I lived with the idea that it was up to me to do the best I could. Legalism wrapped around me tightly.
To understand sanctification in a healthier way, one which releases us to live well as Christ followers, is to see it as the process of becoming more of who we are designed to be.
Choosing sanctification means choosing to let yourself be transformed into the image of Christ, by the power of the Spirit.
Mankind was originally created unblemished by sin. God’s hand print was all over Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
He, a relational and triune God, intentionally created us in a pretty valuable place.
Yet, you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. ~ Psalm 8:5
You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, ~ Hebrews 2:7
Where sin corrupts us from being who we were meant to be, God’s work of sanctification transforms us into being who we are not yet. Powerful hope lies in this truth and it’s made possible because of Christ’s perfection and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, not of our own.
When we choose sanctification, we choose to be transformed bit by bit.
Instead of looking at our lives and simply saying, “This needs to change, and that too.” Or “When I get this right, I’ll be a better person.” Rather, we look at our faults and failures and hold them up to Christ and ask for his forgiveness, his work of reconciliation, and the process of transformation from the core of who we are.
Choose sanctification and let the wonders of God work powerfully in you so he can work powerfully through you.
CULTIVATE: God, show us where we need to let your work continue in our hearts. Help us to rest in your perfection and not our own. Amen.