If I were to ask you how salvation or forgiveness of sin works, you would be able to rattle something off. Whether you feel “equipped” to answer that question or not, you have an understanding of what Jesus accomplished by dying on the cross and then rising again.
But what about sanctification? Could you explain that? What about spiritual formation? What about character formation? Whatever label we want to give it, that question is a little more difficult, isn't it?
We have the salvation piece locked down, but the growth and transformation piece is a little more mysterious.
We know it involves the Holy Spirit that indwells us. It involves the immaterial components of our being- our souls, hearts, and wills. We also know our bodies must be involved in some way as well since we are both body and soul.
We also know God has a role in our sanctification, that’s obvious, but what is our role? And if we do have a role, how do we interact with God with all of this?
If you have these kinds of questions in regard to how we grow as people, how we change and transform, then this series is for you.
If you desire to see more change and transformation in your own life, then this series is for you.
The reality is that there’s a mantra in our society that “people don’t change”, which I think is bogus. I think the major problem is that we don’t believe it’s possible. Why? Three reasons:
We don’t have a vision for it- where we are headed or what it looks like.
We don’t see much transformation happening in those around us, which adds to our vision problem.
If we do have some vision and maybe even some motivation, we get hung up with the “how”. How does it work?
To be clear and state the obvious, I don’t have all the answers. I also wouldn’t consider myself an expert.
However, this is one of the things I’m most passionate about in life, pursuing growth and helping people to experience transformation and healing, so I hope to be helpful.
Over these next several weeks I’m going to share what I’ve learned and some of the components I think are necessary for us to see tangible transformation in our lives. I will attempt to bring clarityto what our role is and what is God’s role and I will attempt to offer some practical steps you can take.
Through it all, let’s remember this sanctification process is inherently mysterious, and that’s a good thing. I think we sometimes forget that our faith is a spiritual one and that we are spiritual beings. The physical, tangible stuff is so much easier to get our arms around and understand.
Let me close with a little inspiration and a little vision for you from David Brooks in his new book, The Road to Character. In his introduction, he lays out a helpful comparison of “Résumé virtues” vs. “Eulogy virtues”:
“Recently I’ve been thinking about the difference between the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the ones you list on your résumé, the skills that you bring to the job market and that contribute to external success. The eulogy virtues are deeper. They’re the virtues that get talked about at your funeral, the ones that exist at the core of your being—whether you are kind, brave, honest or faithful; what kind of relationships you formed. Most of us would say that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé virtues, but I confess that for long stretches of my life I’ve spent more time thinking about the latter than the former. Our education system is certainly oriented around the résumé virtues more than the eulogy ones. Public conversation is, too—the self-help tips in magazines, the nonfiction bestsellers. Most of us have clearer strategies for how to achieve career success than we do for how to develop a profound character.”
Isn’t this a helpful paradigm? I think Brooks is correct with this last sentence and that is why I’m doing this series, that we have much clearer strategies on how to develop résumé virtues than we do for eulogy virtues. I also agree with him that the majority of us value eulogy virtues more than résumé virtues, but we end up spending more time thinking about and pursuing the latter.
So if you’re up for it, let's dive into thinking about and pursuing growth, transformation, healing, wholeness, and developing the eulogy virtues we all desire over the next few weeks.
Questions for discussion: (Post comments below or on Facebook to get the conversation going)
What are the key questions that come up for you when it comes to the transformation and sanctification process? What needs more clarity?
What are the things in life that have led to the most transformation in you?
For your journal: What is one habit, sin, pattern, or attitude that you would love to have removed from your life? (Anxiety, fear, regret, guilt, shame are a few examples to get the wheels turning) Take some time and talk to God or journal about it and let's see what he wants to do with that over the next few weeks.