I know. It's only part of a much larger verse, a greater calling. The words before...commands.
Do Not fear...but
Do Not be troubled...but
So many of us have taken that first step of faith, believed, asked for forgiveness, know the promise of heaven. Praise God!
And it ends there. You are a beautiful butterfly never opening your wings.
Oh, good deeds may abound, prayers may still be whispered at the beginning of the day, at the closing of heavy eyelids, at a table with the smell of food and appetites waiting.
That "sanctify" part...What exactly does that...what do I have to do in order...how much time will it take...what will I have to...change? Give up?
Unwilling, unmoved, ineffective.
For me, the sanctification process became reborn within me, like a cut-off, half-dead branch grafted again to the Vine, after the "comfortable" burned up. I lived with the complacency, the apathy, the excuses and the ineffectiveness for way too long. Pink Floyd said it well, "comfortably numb."
But the HOPE of God, though dormant, never left.
God reawakened in me a desire to deepen my faith and then live it out. I began to see and understand true Grace in a soul-changing purpose for me. That, my friend, is sanctification: the intentional pursuit and the resulting growth in that pursuit of all that is Holy, all that is purposeful, all that is inspirational and affirming--sojourning on the path of His will and finding joy and peace in the process.
Alive again and active, my intentional asking and seeking, the nerve-endings of my soul surged with anticipation and longing for more. In that, God leads me to His comfort within the uncomfortablness of this world.
For we may have the privilege of suffering for Christ.
The rest of that verse says this: "...always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."
I know the Hope of Christ. Because I intentionally seek it every day within my grief-stricken heart, God has refilled, re-purposed and recharged a passion, planted long ago by the Holy Spirit. I gravitate towards it and I run to it. His Word is alive and active, personally sanctifying and leading me in truth towards His promises. As Lord in my heart, I can't help but share. I stand firm to make a defense, I invite the broken, the seeking, I encourage the down-trodden, I pray with my sisters--together in the suffering and waiting; and I am embraced and loved by a community who lifts me up as well. I rejoice in the redeeming Love and forgiveness of my Heavenly Father.
For I am a sinner.
I am called for the very purpose that I might inherit a blessing! (I Peter 3:9). Though I have suffered greatly, I have not been crucified. I have not held the very sin of every human being in the palms of my hands and left to die on a forsaken cross where even God, The Father turned His face away. Jesus Christ bore the ultimate suffering for me, for you. In the resurrection, He conquered death, the ultimate suffering--the result of my sin.
I am redeemed, blessed. I am a temporary resident, taking daily steps towards Him in the sanctification process. One day, I will inherit all His promises.
Thank you Lord for the Hope within me. May I use it in a way that only brings You the glory and may this same hope stir others to seek more of You than just simply believing; for You are made known through us. Your power and grace magnifies through the believers heart if we let it go and give it to You, full reign. I am thankful for the very first step, the belief. Thank you for stirring me up. Lord help us to continue to arise out of our own dark comfort and bask in Your marvelous Light. Amen.