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To make holy. Many of us in the Church know this word and can define it. It sounds pleasant. Our ideas of it are fanciful. We regard sanctification as if God will form us into the image of his Son Jesus Christ with pleasantries and according to our desires. Yet, the reality of sanctification is anything but.

If left to our desires, we would go astray (Romans 1:24). Thank God that he does not grant us what we want, when we want, and how we want it for eternity, for we would find ourselves apart from him. And so, sanctification often leads us away from our desires and to the LORD. It takes us away from ourselves, as our LORD removes the self, and replaces it with himself. 

Such a process will not play itself out in peace, but with a tumultuous violence in the soul. There are many nights when we will find ourselves full of terror, aboard a sinking ship upon stormy seas with our LORD, fearful for our lives and unable to see a future (Matthew 8:23-27). We will find ourselves at his mercy. We may wonder, “what is he doing with me?” Well, he is doing a work in you that you would never choose in yourself, that is, sanctification through the refining of character by the power of the Holy Spirit. What better place to be?

Oswald Chambers writes, “Am I fully prepared to allow God to grip me by His power and do a work in me that is truly worthy of Himself? Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me— sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me. But He has to get me into the state of mind and spirit where I will allow Him to sanctify me completely, whatever the cost.” Chambers articulates what we must go after, “whatever the cost,” and that is, that “I will allow him to sanctify me completely,” meaning, I will yield to “God’s idea of what he wants to do for me.”

If I am to be formed into something new, I will be chiseled away at. The rock that produced the brilliance of Mt. Rushmore was but a rock. A master artist found the rock useful, however, as he saw that he could shape it into something lovely. And, after many calculated, precise, and exact blows, the rock grew up into its glory and realized the vision of the master. In the same manner, the LORD will chisel away at me bit by bit until he has formed me into a masterpiece worthy of his name. 

Would I, and we, so yield ourselves; in spite of the certain pain and tribulations, so that we might become like him, and so glorify him in his work, joining the heavens in their glorification.

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Jared Odenbeck

Jared Odenbeck is a professional soccer player from Charlotte, NC. Jared graduated from Wake Forest University in December 2016 with a degree in English and Journalism. His greatest desire for his writing is that it would awaken the western Church to pure Gospel-centered truth and recapture the essence of unadultered Christianity.

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