Editors Note: This is a new series on spiritual growth designed to help our readers understand how to grow in Christ.
- Dave wrote the first post in this series on the blessing of the spiritual disciplines.
- Joey Cochran wrote the second post in this series on the four functions of prayer.
- Chris Poblete wrote the third post on the practice of private prayer.
- Chris wrote the fourth post on the practice of corporate prayer.
- Matthew Fretwell wrote the fifth post on finding the silence of God.
- Brian Hedges wrote the sixth post on how to lead family devotions.
- Chris in the seventh post in this series shares from Hudson Taylor about the importance of having a personal devotion time.
- Brian Hedges wrote the eighth post on how to nurture biblical love in the local church.
- Bob Hoekstra wrote the ninth post on answered prayer promised in Jesus’ name.
- Chris wrote the tenth post in this series on humility.
- Brian wrote the eleventh post in this series on how to receive criticism.
- Charles Spurgeon shared the twelfth post in this series on how to find joy in deep distress.
- Brian wrote the thirteenth post in this series about waiting on the Lord.
- Madison wrote the fourteenth post in this series on evangelism.
- Mathew Sims wrote the fifteenth post on journaling.
- Mike Boling wrote the sixteenth post on the importance of consistent and purposeful Bible study.
- Brian Hedges wrote the seventeenth post in this series on how to cultivate humility.
- Dan Darling wrote the eighteenth post on how to find joy in a fallen world.
- Mike Boling wrote the nineteenth post on how to delight yourself in the Lord through spending time in the Word and in prayer.
- Craig Hurst wrote the twentieth post on how to walk in obedience to the Word of God.
- Dan Darling wrote the twenty-first post on the rhythm of forgiveness and repentance.
- Today Jeff Medders writes on on our motivation in sanctification.
There is much discussion today on the power of the gospel in our sanctification and our role in our sanctification. The fact that people are discussing and debating on this topic thrills my heart. It is crazy important.
The Means Matters
Growing up in the church, I heard a lot about obedience, but I hardly ever heard anything about Jesus. And you can’t separate the two. When we do, we are swimming in legalism. And it wasn’t until grace jack-slapped me across the kisser that I realized how I was living. I was living a flesh-filled life that was trying to imitate the power of the Spirit. And that is a horrific substitute.
When it comes to sanctification (growing in Christ-likeness), it is shamefully astounding how we can try to become like Jesus…without Jesus. We need Jesus if we want to be like Jesus. While we this seems incredibly elementary, how many of use practically live this way? Jesus is our means of sanctification (John 15:5, Galatians 2:20).
The reality is…we cannot do it! I have never seen a packet of seeds grow on it’s own. We need the divine planter, the water of the word, the tender care of the gardener, the warming glory of the Son…we need God if we are going to grow.
We also need the right motivation.
The Right Motivation in our Sanctification
Growing in the gospel requires the proper motivation. What is driving us to become more like Jesus?
- Do we simply want to keep the rules? Or is it because we love Jesus, therefore we want to obey Him.
- Are we trying to earn and keep God’s love? Or are we obeying because of God’s love already shed on the Cross for us? (See Galatians 2:20…again!)
I am not against putting effort into our sanctification. I am against the wrong motives in our sanctification.
The Apostle Paul puts all of this in the right perspective. This is pure gospel-sweetness.
Philippians 3:12…but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
- “I press on…BECAUSE Jesus made me His.”
- “I want grow because Jesus is my savior.”
- “I want to honor Him because He loves me.”
The root of Paul’s ‘pressing on’ is none other than the person and work of Christ. Anything else will not last. Anything else ultimately will not work. Everything else will produce fake fruit that withers in no time. Trust me – I know.
Christian, press on! For Jesus has made you his own. You already belong to Jesus. Now live like what you already are in Christ. “Now only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel…” – Philippians 1:27