When I became a Christian, I had a good grasp of what "salvation" meant and felt confident I was saved from my sins by Jesus' death on a cross. For some reason, I always figured this was enough so I essentially just chose to ignore certain other words I frequently overheard in the church setting.
One such word was "sanctification."
sanctification: the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy; God guiding us to maturity, a practical, progressive holiness.
I now realize one of the reasons I had no desire to learn its meaning was because I was scared. I was scared of the possibility that if I understood and embraced what sanctification meant, it might force me to change, or maybe I would be changed without even wanting to be. And all this change might even force me to leave my safe little world of "comfortable Christianity." Like I've said before, in an interesting and counterintuitive turn of events following my brain injury, God started teaching me so much about my faith and made me aware of so many "truths" that I failed to recognize before. One of these truths is the power found in this simple yet powerful word. This "revelation" has been instrumental in my faith journey over the last few years, over the past few months, even the past couple weeks if I'm being completely honest. Understanding and embracing that all Christians are on the same path of "sanctification" has been changing the way I view myself, view others, and how I view God. Sanctification is a word that I believe is essential to fully grasp and live out the gospel in our lives.
When I finally learned what sanctification meant, it became easier to forgive myself and get back up when I fall down. It is easier to forgive and encourage others when they mess up. I am able to do this because I know sanctification is a journey that every single one of us is on. It is a never-ending path towards holiness we are all traveling on. God knows we'll have some days that are better than others. We'll have some seasons that are better than others. But no matter how many times we falter, no matter how many times we fail, God's love and grace remain the same. We must always remember this, knowing we all serve the same loving and patient God who expects and empowers progress but never demands perfection.
Eugene Peterson once said, "There are no experts in the company of Jesus. We are all beginners." I find this quote to be so true and so applicable when it comes to the subject of sanctification. Let's try to remember this and be a source of grace, love, and encouragement to each other as we are all growing up and maturing into who Jesus wants us to be!