Devotional—The Struggle of Sanctification–Sonya Johnson
For every promise that God has made, Satan has developed a counterfeit lie. “Do not think that negative things will happen because if you do, you will make your thoughts come true.” How many people attempt to manipulate and avoid the challenges of life by maintaining a positive mindset? And when the stormy trials and suffering happen, they are devastated.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer [be filled with joy], I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJV
Because of Jesus’ promise, Christians do not live with a sense of dread. Jesus begins by giving us hope. We can have perfect peace despite our trials, sorrows, and suffering. Receiving the gifts of peace and inner joy is promised even though the tears flow from our eyes. Jesus assures us that we will never endure suffering alone. We have the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter who is just a prayer away.
Having a firm knowledge of the reason for suffering enables us to accept that fiery trials are necessary. We come to Jesus, “Just As I Am,” yet, we cannot stay in the baby stage of spiritual transformation. Sanctification is a life-long journey that requires Human Effort and Divine Intervention. Even so, we have limitations and cannot judge the condition of our hearts. God tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9).
Is there hope? Yes, God allows the trials to produce a spiritual change. Our trials are personalized according to the changes required to transform our character and heart [mind] into the likeness of Christ.
The righteous will receive immortality when Jesus comes. Still, our character must be changed before Jesus comes. Jesus is our High Priest in heaven, functioning as our Intercessor, presenting us faultless before God. In obedience, we avoid temptation. In humility, we confess and repent of our sins every day. David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts…” (Psalm 139:23).
Jesus warns us in Revelation 22:11, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Either we will be righteous or unrighteous at the Second Coming of Jesus. There will be no opportunity to change when our King of Kings and Lord of Lords appear with His heavenly host of angels in the sky.
Maintaining a faithful and obedient heart-to-heart relationship with Christ prevents us from living in fear. Jesus promises to finish the work in us, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ… (Philippians 1:6). Be ready! Stay ready!
Prayer: God, we pray for strength, obedience, and humility to grow into the likeness of Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.