So, what was your New Year’s resolution this past year? Can you even remember? Did you vow that you would lose weight, exercise every day, stop smoking, read your Bible daily, or go to church each Sunday? Do you ever feel like you struggle to meet the goals that you set up for yourself? If you are like me, you know that feeling of frustration when you strive to try and meet that goal once again. This year, I’ve decided that my resolution will be to become a better disciple of Christ. But, what would that look like in my life? How do I do that and where do I get the strength to meet this goal?
I thought that Thessalonians 5: 23-24 might contain some verses to think and pray about as I set out to finally keep a resolution. So, I opened my Bible only to be hit with one of those theological words… “sanctify.” What did it really mean? I found that this word means to set oneself apart for holy use, dying to sin, surrendering to Him, and living a righteous life so that I can participate to the greatest extent in God’s holiness.
I went on a fervent search to learn exactly what Paul meant and discovered that this would mean a makeover of my total self: my spirit, body and soul (which includes my will, mind and emotions). I learned that sanctification isn’t just a process and a goal, but it is God’s will and even a command to me. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “Be holy because, I the Lord your God, am holy.” This call to sanctification was begun not by me, but through God’s grace as He sought me before I ever knew him. Every day with His grace, I can confess and repent of my sins, turn away from sin and toward God for deliverance, so I can be filled by the Holy Spirit and so continue to grow in grace.
I was called to holiness and was given the gift of grace to help me progress toward entire sanctification. As a fallen human being, I’m not good by using my own will power, so it is encouraging to know that our God of peace, through the Holy Spirit working in me, will bring this work about without my effort. On the judgment day, I want to appear blameless before God, which I can do thanks to God’s work in me. My old self will die, and I will become a new creation in Christ! This just isn’t some wish that I might conjure up in my own mind, but it is a promise.
This new life in Christ will reshape all my interactions with others and will be one of a deeper, intense bond with God, love, mercy, holiness, tranquility, self-giving and righteousness. There is just no end to what the Holy Spirit can do with my life, if I cooperate with grace! Sure, I may make mistakes, but as long as I am seeking God, He will reveal himself to me. Nothing is beyond the power of our Almighty God, so this year I can keep that New Year’s resolution!
Kathy Milans is the lead member of Soul Care Collective’s Steering Committee.