The three stages in Christian life. Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. The day a person trusts Jesus Christ as her personal Savior, that person was declared just in God’s eyes. From then on until death, that person experience Sanctification, this is the work by the Holy Spirit to bring Christlikeness in that person life. The final stage is called Glorification, that will occur only after death. Today meditation concern the second stage called sanctification. The author of today devotion is called Hannah; she is saved, but she still struggles with sin in her life. How does God want us to deal with our temptations?
The Lord has been teaching me in many ways lately about my utter weakness in the presence of temptation. I have grown significantly in knowledge, but I have not grown in grace and feel that I actually don’t have any more power over sin than when I was first converted. This hasn’t made me doubt that I am a child of God, justified and forgiven and a possessor of eternal life and an heir of a heavenly inheritance, but even while I have this assurance and never lose it, I have found that when my heart condemns me I cannot be happy. And lately, I have been led to long for more holiness, for more power over sin, for more uninterrupted communion with God.
But how to get at it I could not tell. Resolutions have proved utterly useless. My own efforts have been worse than useless. My prayers have been in vain, and I have been ready to give up in despair and to conclude that it was not the will of God that I ever should have a complete victory over sin. And yet the Bible presents such a different picture of the Christian life—blameless—harmless—without rebuke—without reproof—with every temptation a way of escape—purified—conformed to the image of Christ—holy as He is holy!
There are some Christians who say that by receiving Christ by faith for our sanctification, just as we received Him by faith for our justification all this work is accomplished—that is, the way of accomplishing it is discovered. The soul sees that Jesus delivered from the power of sin as well as from its guilt, and learns to trust to Him this whole work of keeping from evil, and delivering from the power of temptation. We cease making resolutions or relying on our own efforts after holiness in the slightest degree and we give ourselves up unreservedly to Christ to be dealt with according to His will, believing that He is able and willing to keep us from falling.
And he will do it. Like a week and helpless child we fall back exhausted into His arms and leave all our work and all our cares in His hands. Those who experience this say further that He really does cleanse their hearts from inbred sin, or at least that a work of grace is accomplished in their souls to such a degree that their Christian life thereafter is a triumphant and exalted one.
—Journal, October 18, 1866
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
The little Greek word egkakeo describes a person who no longer is living life in step with the Holy Spirit. Instead, he has grown selfish and self-contained, exhibiting little concern for others.
A failure to maintain a vital life of prayer — “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1)
A failure to keep in mind the privilege of our divine calling to minister — “Therefore, since through God‘s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1)
A failure to keep in mind the fact that we will share in Christ’s triumphant resurrection — “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence… Therefore we do not lose heart… ” (2 Corinthians 4:14, 16a)
A failure to keep in mind the immediate task of promoting believers’ spiritual welfare and the glory of God — “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart… ” (2 Corinthians 4:15, 16a)
A failure to take the long view in reaping the fruit of our efforts — “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
A failure to trust that God has a larger purpose when fellow believers suffer — “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” (Ephesians 3:13)
A failure to press on in righteous living, even when you don’t feel like it — “And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)
Do you still have that spring in your step?
Do you still look forward to getting up in the morning and getting at it for God?
Or did you allow a dry rot of self-centeredness set in?
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Some people we might know are doing well in hunting, they are better than most of the other guys. They know were, went, and how to do. But in other area of life, they do not do as well. Other does very well with computer and software programing, but they might not do very well on how to do basic maintenance of their house.
One legendary classic hero was Alexander the Great; by the age of twenty he was proclaimed king by the Greek nobles and his army. He conquers vast Empire such as the Persian Empire. After he conquer the town of Babylon, he took on the title “King of kings”, a title still to this day reserved only to the Lord Jesus Christ. Alexander did many things well, but not everything. In his early thirty, his health decline rapidly because of heavy drinking and possibly cause by an overdose of medication. Alex did many things well, but not everything well.
Only one person in world history did everything well, his name is the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in Mark 7:37 that “He has done everything well!” Not some things but in everything. In his child years, he did everything well. In his teen years, he did everything well. In his young adult years, he did everything well. In his mature years, he was already gone. Alexander the Great died with no purpose; but the Lord Jesus died with a purpose. In Mark 10:45 we read “That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”
During His life people gave a powerful testimony of His life among them, listen, “He has done everything well! In other words they said that we could trust Him. “But to all who believed (trust) him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Since the day I trusted Him as my personal Savior, He made everything well in my life. The benefits are exceptionally precious.
Recently I had some work done on my 23 year old Toyota Cressida. Andrew is semi-retired mechanic, he loves Harley and travelling with his homemade ‘Winnebago’. He just got back from a trip in the Mid-West States. Andrew asked me, “Do you know what took place in Moore, Oklahoma? I answer ‘yes’ a massive tornado. He answered to me, “You know, I was there with my camper only three weeks ago; could you imagine what it would like if we would be there during that Tornado? I am so happy to live away from tornado region.” As you can see, Andrew fears tornado, and it is understandable.
Yet in some situation fear can be poisonous. If we let fear drive our decisions, it will slowly destroy us, causing us to make moves that are against God’s will and detrimental to ourselves and others. The antidote to fear is complete reliance on God and His work through the Spirit. God gave us a wonderful promise, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). How did God come? He sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day. One of the Holy Spirit’s ministries is to lead us each day wherever our heavenly Father desires us to best represent Him. Osbeck express it well, “When vital decisions must be made, the Holy Spirit can open the Scriptures to us and illuminate our minds. By this faithful guidance of the Holy Spirit, we come to love and follow the will of God for our daily living. Many of our troubles occur because we fail to take counsel from the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Instead of first praying and seeking guidance, we act and then ask God to bless our actions.”
The Hymn “Holy Spirit, Faithful Guide” was written and composed by an American farmer, Marcus M. Wells. The first stanza goes this way, Holy Spirit, faithful Guide, ever near the Christian’s side, gently lead us by the hand, pilgrims in a desert land; weary souls fore’er rejoice, while they hear that sweetest voice whisp’ring softly, “Wand’rer come! Follow Me, I’ll guide thee home.”
Think over these wonderful words “weary souls… follow Me, I’ll guide the home”. King David did not let fear drive him facing the Giant, instead he drove out fear in the name of His God. Let’s apply it to our own situation, Will you follow David’s example trusting God? Will you believe that God has all the power and all the wisdom to guide you in all security? Something in life needs to be feared, like a tornado; but most of our daily activities, instead of letting fear control us, lest learn to rely and trust a faithful loving God. For additional reading look in the Bible in 1 Chronicles 12:1–13:14.
 Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 158.