"For this is the will of God, your sanctification" (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
If a person were stranded on a street corner, earnestly hoping for a way to get to the mall, and if a bus came by that was going in that direction, and if the person passed it up, we would think that person daft. And yet I see now that this is what I have been doing.
While other prayer requests of mine come and go, my unwavering daily petition for myself is my sanctification. Last night I realized that I am the person who eagerly desires a destination and has resisted the means God sends to take me there.
One should expect that at a certain level of training, in whatever discipline, the tests would become more difficult. No one begins white water rafting on a Level 6 course. The able teacher will start the neophyte on a Level 1 river, placid waters with minor ripples. As the student masters first sporadic choppiness and then larger waves, he will be ready for the rapids.
The goal is perfection of skills and the subjugation of the body and mind and will. God leaves no guesswork regarding His goal for those He is pleased to save and to enlist in His kingdom: "This is the will of God, your sanctification."
Let us say a person were to pass God's piddling baby tests, such as the loss of a job, or a "no" answer to a request for a new car. What kinds of tests would follow? How would He ratchet up the course to a level 2, or 3, or 4, or 5?
Recently I wrestled with demons on my bed. It has happened before, and I have capsized. But this time I fought back. Not right away, but I looked into the pit of despair and, uncharacteristically, I recognized it for what it was---white water for my training in sanctification. When I recognized it, I rebuked Satan in the name of Jesus. I insisted to myself that if the Gospel is good for anything, it is good for this. Interestingly, I found I had to do all this out loud and prostrate.
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