By Drew Zuverink
"It is God's will that you should be sanctified."
Such a simple sentence and so matter of fact. It doesn't exactly describe much emotion so it could be easy to skip right over it. Please don't though.
Does your heart ever break over sin? Recently my wife and I went to the theaters to watch the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I won't spoil it but in the movie there is a villain whose sin really hurts a lot of animals and people. Because I'm a big time animal lover the movie was essentially two and a half hours of pure torture for me. My heart broke, I cried (literally the whole time), and I prayed for God to do something about the sin that hurts people in the real world.
It might sound silly to you but that movie opened my eyes to a very powerful reality. The truth is we all spread evil into this world. We might not be an evil villain who kills people, but make no mistake, our sins cause others real harm. Too often we view our sin as an individual struggle but in reality they almost always impact other people. In fact our sins are so evil that they quite literally make the world feel more like hell than heaven. Think about that.
When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6 he told them to say, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Why? Because God's kingdom in heaven is perfectly good and he wants earth to resemble that. Oh how it must break his heart to see people making the world more like hell instead of like heaven. That's why it is God's will that we would become sanctified. Sanctification is a fancy word that essentially means becoming Christ-like. The more Christ-like we can become, the less evil we will spread into the world. And because God see's the world as a whole, he knows exactly how much our individual sins are felt collectively. So I don't think it would be possible to overstate how badly God wants us to be sanctified.
Oh that God would open our eyes to see our sin the way that he does! How I wish that he would show me a video reel of how my own evil has created hell for people. Maybe then I would learn to hate sin as I ought.
Friend, are you devoted to sanctification? It isn't good enough to just be saved, you must conform into the image of Christ. Too many Christian's, myself included, are progressing in sanctification at a rate that is far too slow. Few of us are as dedicated to this pursuit as we ought to be. Maybe that's because we barely dislike our sins, or maybe it's because we don't realize how deeply our sin hurts people, but either way, there are few things that are as evil as not hating sin. Surely the devil has done great work in blinding our eyes to its horrors.
Jesus is the only person to ever live who didn't, at one point or another, make the world a worse place. He only ever spread goodness. May God give us a longing, that we have never had before, to imitate Jesus in that.