A big part of our Chrisitan Pilgrimage is what I like to call “The Exchange.” The Exchange is where we start seeing less of our old self and more of Christ in our lives. The Bible calls it Sanctification. Sanctification is a process by which those who know Christ take on more of the nature of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. In that process God takes over more and more control of our lives and through Bible Study, Prayer, and interaction with other believers the process moves forward. When that process moves forward unimpeded we see ourselves more and more spiritually “in shape” More of God starts to be seen in our lives and like old skin the things that used to be a part of our lives start shedding off. Before long the transformation process is very noticeable to us and all who know us. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” You can always tell when a person is in the middle of this transformation. The old habits of their life start to be less noticeable and a new fresh outlook and lifestyle takes its place. The transformation is not without it’s setbacks, but with our focus on God and His ways, the process continues to renew our mind and we start looking and acting more like Jesus and less like the old self. One of the big problems in this process is when we don’t walk away from sins that have been controlling our lives for years. You see, we receive God’s grace for our sin and when we come to realize a sin area in our lives, we admit that to God and ourself. We know that His forgiveness at the time of our conversion has covered that sin which makes it possible for us to walk away from that sin. But somewhere in the process we continue to let that sin have control, along with the grace God gives. The two somehow coexist. We receive more and more of God’s grace, but the sin remains there as well, so we continue to do that sin again and again. No transformation, just repetition. If a picture could be shown of our condition, it would look like we are extremely overweight. Deep down inside at our core is a very in shape person who has let themselves go and accepted the fact that there will be no major changes. Just like the TV Show the biggest loser, we lose focus, gain weight, and our self identity suffers. That’s when we need to get ourselves on a regimen of spiritual exercise, and start dieting in the area of allowing sin to continue to reign in our lives. The sin weight we have raises our guilt levels, affects the condition of our spiritual heart, and shuts down our activity as a believer. The sanctification process, or spiritual breathing, starts to slow and almost stop. We no longer have the joy of a person “in shape” and we doubt whether we will ever get rid of this sin weight. Much like the TV Show, we need help. We need coaching to get over the hump and get our focus back on the transformation that needs to take place. A workout plan might look like this:
1. No interaction or consumption of your past sin life groups.
2. Get around people who have been able to come out of this problem and can coach you through it.
3. Exercise your faith and do a major “sin burn.”
4. Check your scales on a regular basis to see how the tranformation process is progressing.
5. Get family and friends to keep an eye on your progress and make yourself accountable to them and your trainers.
The end result will not be a winner in a competition per say, but you will be a winner in the game of life. The Biggest Loser of expelling the amount of the old sin nature in your life is really The Biggest Winner.
In Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?”
Sanctification is a wonderful process that causes us to fulfill the cry of Peter in 1 Peter 1:16 where he quotes Leviticus 19 “Be holy, because I am holy.” It is God’s desire for the sanctification process to continue because it is the best for us. We will only be happy when we are spiritually in shape and exercising our faith on a daily basis. Then we can say “transformation complete.” No more bloating, no more excuses, no more overindulging in your past sinful desires. Sanctification! The process all believers long for where we have a desire to be in shape and looking more like our heaven Father every day. Today the diet and exercise begin!!!
The pilgrimage continues…..