What if that hard season of life – the trials, the detour, the struggles, the hardships – what if it was all needed to make you into who God made you to be?
What if God is actually good and does use everything in your life, even the things Satan or other people meant for evil, for your good? What if it was all needed in order to destroy idols buried deep in your heart? What if He needed you to make those mistakes and have those regrets, in order to mold you and sanctify you into a mature and confident follower of Jesus? What if all these things didn’t happen to you but for you? What if the hard season of life feels never-ending because, instead of growing stronger and better, you’ve shrunken inwards and grown bitter?
What if every season of life – but especially the difficult, demanding, and depressing ones – were all needed in order for you to hold your relationships more loosely, to offer grace more freely, to forgive others more easily, to understand with compassion and kindness more deeply, to stand up for others and protect them more boldly, to soften your heart more humbly, and to love others more unconditionally?
“For this is the will of God for your life, your sanctification.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:3
What if the purpose of your life, isn’t just to figure out what career path to take, who to marry, where to live, or what house to buy? Granted, these are all wonderful things, but what if we realized that God has already told us the purpose of our lives, we just haven’t been fully paying attention to Him. We no longer need to struggle and search because He has already told us our purpose. Our purpose in life is our sanctification.
Sanctify (verb): to set apart to a sacred purpose; to set apart as holy; to purify from sin.
What if our purpose is simply, to day-by-day and moment-by-moment, walk closely with Jesus on our own unique journey in life, and to grow closer to Him, becoming more like Him? This is sanctification – becoming more like Jesus.
Jesus is not the cultural Christians or the prosperity Gospel. Jesus is not the misconceptions people who do not know Him have spread about Him. Jesus is not a homophobe, a racist, or an angry judge waiting to condemn us to death.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” – John 3:17
Jesus listens to and befriends the social outcast and minority (John 4).
Jesus does not judge, but helps and saves the prostitute from the hateful condemners (John 8).
Jesus confronts and puts to shame the authorities who abuse their power against the innocent people (Matthew 23, Mark 12, Luke 11, Luke 20).
Jesus humbly washes the feet of his own disciples and calls them his friends (Matthew 26, Luke 22, John 13).
Jesus weeps with his neighbors who are mourning a loss of life (John 11).
Jesus heals those who are disabled and wounded (Matthew 4 & 8, John 5 & 9, Luke 5).
Jesus comforts and heals a woman who has been ill and abandoned all her life (Mark 5).
Jesus defends, protects, and elevates women, widows, and children (Matthew 26, Mark 10, 12, 14, & 16, Luke 7, 18, & 19).
Jesus has compassion for and helps those in poverty (Matthew 11 & 25, Luke 6, 8, & 14).
Jesus is the Great Physician. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Jesus is Living Water. Jesus is good. He is kind and patient. He is just, yet humble. He comforts us, protects us, rescues us, befriends us, saves us, and so much more. But above all else, Jesus loves us with an unconditional love – a love that is not based on our circumstances or our performances.
And this is our purpose – to love, know, and become more like this Jesus. And as we pursue Him and become more like Him, He strips us of our selfishness and gives us new hearts that love and serve the people He created. We are not and will never be perfect in this life; but, we make it our goal to grow into the likeness and perfection that is Jesus Christ. That is sanctification – God’s will for us on Earth.