Written by Marcus Mitchell
Scripture to Read: John 17:12-19
During the Last Supper, Jesus spends time talking with His disciples and praying with and for them. In this passage He is praying to the Father to protect them and sanctify them (verse 17). We often look up to the apostles as being these incredible examples of faith, and they are, but they were human with faults and weaknesses just as we are. They were just starting out on their path and Jesus was praying for their sanctification. He knew they were soon going to be doing His work without His physical presence.
Sanctification is a continual process for the Christian. From the day I was saved until now, I can see how God has been shaping me. He has been pruning away the unfruitful parts of my life so that I could be made more and more like Jesus. I can point to specific things I used to do and think and say that I no longer do, think or say. Some of these things I wasn’t even aware of that He has brought to my attention and gave me conviction so that I could repent. One specific area is entertainment. I used to listen to all the latest pop songs on the radio without much thought. The same with popular movies. I’m not saying I no longer listen to the radio or watch movies, but there is a much higher level discernment in what I choose to listen to and watch. I’m quick to change the station and I read ratings and reviews before I watch movies. When our default is to take in whatever comes on the radio, pops up on the internet, is popular on Netflix, or drifts across our Facebook newsfeed we are being shaped by this content whether we are aware of it or not. Once we become aware of it, once we can allow the Spirit to help us be discerning, we are then being shaped by Him.
But entertainment is just one area of our lives. We each have many areas in our lives that need His correction, whether it’s our anger, our self-control, our self-absorption or our pride. We need to seek Him to shed light on all the dark areas of our lives. Sanctification may be painful, but it eventually brings much freedom and joy. When we are stuck in our old ways our growth is stunted. We are less able to be used by Him for His purposes. Jesus wanted the disciples to continually be sanctified so that their ministry, which was just about to begin, would be fruitful.
We each have a ministry, and in order to be effective, let us pray for God to continually sanctify us. Let us be in His Word, allowing it penetrate deep into souls and transform our minds. Let us be developing deeper relationships with other Christians so that they can speak into our lives and give us an outside perspective and encouragement without condemnation and judgement. Let us be on our knees asking Him to shed light on any area of our life that is hindering His work in and through us.