Monday, June 29, 2009

The Sanctification Gap

Are you hungry for more in your life along the Way? Do you have this confusing feeling that "by this time I thought I would be more Christlike" or "...over this sin problem" or "...showing more of the Fruit of the Spirit"? You are NOT ALONE! I know we have more in common than you might realize in longing for more of the abundant life Jesus has promised. Different faith traditions call this longing by different names, but the basic idea is spiritual growth. Let's explore how this happens together along the Way, shall we?

I had the privilege of attending a fabulous conference coordinated by the Renovare Institute last week. The title and theme of the conference was "The Jesus Way: recovering the lost content of discipleship". All the keynote speakers were amazing and there were too many wonderful workshop titles to choose from! I did come away feeling so full of hearing, experiencing, and learning that I was worn out.

I have been pondering what of all I heard would be the best place to begin to process with you. I decided the workshop that connected some dots for me between history and present day is the place to begin. The title of the workshop called out to me: "How we lost the Way: Learning from the Historical Neglect of Spiritual Formation" It was presented by a professor from Talbot Seminary who did a fabulous job filling in the gaps of my church history.

I won't take the time to re-teach the workshop but I want to say that there is huge benefit to understanding the path of the Church through history; the good, the bad, the distracting. Knowing history can help prevent the repetition of the mistakes of history. Knowing history also helps with perspective for modern day.

Today our churches look to fill the sanctification gap that we feel inside with programs that fill time but not the gap. Many of us decide we will work hard; get busy for Jesus! Get involved with ministry. Maybe this will fill the gap we feel inside. Others of us decide we will perfect ourselves through will power: "I simply won't behave that way, or think those thoughts." Problem there is we are going forth in our own strength and understanding. None of these things are getting us closer with Jesus though. In fact most are simply distractions from simply being with Him.

What is working for you these days? What ways do you find you experience abundance in Christ? Please share!

2 comments:

  1. OK, I really don't watch Oprah, but today I stumbled upon it, and she was interviewing Ted Haggard. He fell from grace a couple of years ago due to "secret" problems with homosexual desires and drug use. A clip was shown of a sermon he gave 10 years ago where he told his congregation, "If you are tempted to sin, don't do it!" Really, that's what he said. he believed at the time that he had the (will)power to simply not think those thoughts. He went on to say that he met with a spiritual leader from his church years before the scandal came out to admit to having homosexual thoughts. The response he got? "Get more involved in church. Stay busy." Really worked for him, right? Really doesn't work for us, either.
    Right now my abundance in Christ is found in reading His Word alongside fellow believers. Hearing those same verses being processed by gifted teachers. Opening my mind and heart to fresh ways of looking at scripture. I came home tonight from Bible study so excited to get into the Word again!

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  2. I have to say that reading the comment by Penny Malley I rejoiced. Truly, there is no other way to remain in Christ other than by the Word and prayer. The more we pray the less we fall prey to Satan's attacks - even though the closer we get to Christ the more Satan will attack. He hates those who pray because he knows when we pray we are seeking strength that comes from above. And that is powerful!

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