But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
As a young believer, I always seemed to have a zillion questions, the biggest one being this, “If I call myself a Christian, why do I keep sinning?”
In other words, if the Holy Spirit resides inside me, why do I hurt people, get angry, and do wrong?
Of course, I never once asked my parents because I didn’t think they knew anything during this stage of my life. So I asked a high school friend, a professing Christ follower I admired. I remember the dumbstruck look on his face as he sat down and finished his lunch without answering.
Actually, Paul, in Romans 7:23, says that even though he delights in God’s law, he sees another law waging war in his mind making him a prisoner to sin.
Even Paul was a sinner like me.
But this idea of the “sanctifying work of the spirit” remained a mystery.
After I retired, I could finally take a discipleship class at our church. I learned that sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus Christ as we grow and mature in Him. The process will finally be complete when we meet Jesus in heaven.
We were happy to welcome two new grandchildren into our family this summer. Within the first week of life, I noticed them beginning to hold their heads upright; they even imitated me when I stuck out my tongue at them. But growing up takes time, and so does maturing in Christ.
Do you ever feel this pull and battle of sin creating conflict? There is forgiveness for your yesterdays and hope for our todays and tomorrows because we have the Holy Spirit, our moment-to-moment helper.
Some days, I still feel like I am taking two steps forward and one step back spiritually. But every morning, as the sun rises, I look up and welcome the Holy Spirit to access my soul. And believe me, he goes after my sin with tremendous gusto.
When I confess, repent and turn in a new direction, I sense His smile and joy, as He cleans me. And all I can do is again open my hands in gratitude for his redeeming love.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, Paul warns us that lawlessness would spread. He calls on us to “stand fast.” What does that mean for you? Perhaps you need to dig your roots deeper in Bible study and prayer. If you haven’t participated in Rooted, consider joining a group.