Friday, June 30, 2017

Home Connection | Layered

For those of you familiar with my blog, you know I have been writing a series called "Finishing Touches" for about seven years. (No worries...that series isn't going away any time soon!) In this season of my life, home reno has been a common theme, and I started Finishing Touches to document the changes our various properties have gone through during renovations. Those posts have generally been light-hearted and full of pictures. I plan to keep it that way.

But for me, renovations take on something more...they are a tool for me as work in progress. In the middle of those finishing touches, I've felt the urge to go deeper. And that's what Home Connection is all about. Taking those seemingly insignificant acts of work and pushing them further...right into scripture, my God and life.

For those desiring to go deeper into His DEEP, I pray this will be an opportunity for us to step together!

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Let's talk sanctification. I know, it's a big, theological word...exciting right? 

I have been painting trim for days. If you have ever taken wood trim/cabinets/drawers/doors from a wooden state to a painted state, you know I am not exaggerating. The transformation seems to take FOREVER! 



I always start with a good base of primer. Coat 1. In the case of our trim, I am painting it white, so the next step is to brush on a layer of semi-gloss right over the primer base. Coat 2. Even though paint likes to say it is a one-coat wonder, I beg to differ. Coat 3. It's still not quite right. Coat 4. Depending on the lighting, it might take one more go. Coat 5.

It's a stretch to say I am sanctifying my trim...but it's not a stretch to compare the process. 



The Greek word for sanctification is hagiasmos. At its base is the idea that we are separated TO God. That gives me chills. You? Since sanctified means we are separated to God, that implies we must be separated from something, right? In this process we are separated from sin (a barrier to a Holy God, no matter what it is), and in Christ, we are brought TO the Lord. Amazing.

Blue Letter Bible defines it this way: " 'Sanctification' is thus the state predetermined by God for believers, into which in grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it."

We begin our journey by the grace of Christ. By the blood of the lamb, we are covered. But that's just the beginning! And that's exciting!

In the New Testament, sanctification is used to describe the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. We find scripture saying that sanctification is God's will for the believer and His purpose in calling by the gospel...we also find that it MUST be learned from God as taught in His Word...AND it must be pursued by the believer without deviation. (Blue Letter Bible)

But here's the part that really struck me...individually sanctification must be "built up, little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God, and of following the example of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit." (Blue Letter Bible) 

Doesn't that sound a bit a lot like painting trim? 

For a reminder, coat 1, coat 2, coat 3, coat 4, coat 5...until finally you can do the trim-painting happy dance...you know, the sweet spot when BAM, you can stop painting.


Layer upon layer goes on the paint. Layer upon layer goes on our lessons, knowledge, understanding...as the living, breathing WORD sanctifies us...changes us...to be more like Christ.

At one point in my journey, I was asked if I thought studying God's word was dangerous. This was the context of our conversation: I had just given an impassioned monologue about how much I hungered for the Word...how I just wanted more and more...how I felt like I wanted to understand everything in it.

To be asked if I thought that was a good idea...in that stage of my faith at least...took some of the wind out of my sails. I already wrestled with guilt and shame, and the implication that my hunger for the Word was somehow bad really rocked me. I don't know that I had an answer for her at the time. But years later, I do.

Is God's Word dangerous? Absolutely. It is dangerous to all sin, disobedience, complacency. It is dangerous to anything that doesn't bear fruit. It is dangerous to anything that separates us from God. It has power to CHANGE US...and that isn't what we might call "safe." 

But is it dangerous to study and hunger for the Word (in the way I believe was implied, that I should back off and that my desire for more of God's Word was inappropriate)? No. 
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says this: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (ESV, emphasis mine) 



Today, let's embrace the sanctification process as necessary. Let's embrace understanding of the Word as necessary. Let's embrace all the places God uses his word to teach, reproof, correct and train us in righteousness as necessary. 

As we get layered in this process, we become complete, equipped for every good work. And that truly is a happy dance sweet spot!

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