“For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”—John 17:19
This is part of Jesus’ prayer for His disciples and ultimately us, the longest recorded conversation between God and God! Of course, the prayer was for our benefit, since The Father knew very well why His Son was sanctifying Himself and going to the cross. It is we who need reminding of the ramifications of His actions. And still, we are so slow to believe.
This earth is the great testing ground. Over our lifetimes we’ll face a menagerie of trials, physical, emotional, and spiritual, all designed to mold us into the beings we were meant to be. It seems we just come through one battle and barely have time to catch our breath before another rears its head.
Over the last three weeks I’ve found myself embroiled in the fight of my life, facing not only personal attacks from members of my own congregation, but demons from my past that would convince me that I am of no value to God’s Kingdom.
Some would give Satan credit for the attack, and indeed it is the very heart of darkness I am up against. But I know, like my ex-tumor,the only evil that touches me, a child of The Living God, is by God’s bidding, for His good purpose in me.
Just like Job before me.
“With Him are strength and prudence.
The deceived and the deceiver are His.” Job 12:16
So, like my ex-tumor and my ever present healing pain, this battle is nothing more than a thorn in my flesh, like Paul’s, to remind me to daily rely on God’s grace; not only for my spiritual growth, but for the blessing of others as well. This is what Christ’s prayer is all about, as He prays earlier:
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”—John 17:13-19
Because Christ sanctified himself, I can be sanctified by the application of His Truth. This application is faith–“the substance of things hoped for.” But, it’s not a one-time application, it’s a discipline that requires practice, and the enemy is more than happy to give us opportunities for practice. The good news is, he has to go through Jesus to do so. Just like he did with Job and Peter (Luke 22:31).
It is in this knowledge that the full measure of Christ’s joy resides.
But this truth can slip away so easily in this busy world when I don’t take the time to allow God to “sanctify me by the truth.” The Word. It is only through daily seeking God in His Word, that we truly learn who He is, and our spiritual roots can grow deeper into that rich soil, holding fast so the strongest winds cannot topple us.
I was reminded of this again when I read a letter my great grandmother wrote to my grandpa. As long as I can remember, my grandma kept this letter in her Bible, and now I keep it in mine. She opens with a poem, which I thought I’d share it with you. I’m not sure who the author is.
Our Divine Direction Finder
And in their home there is a Book
with pages seldom turned,
whose messages of truth and hope
are still by them unlearned.
The Book that tells of Him who came
to earth that we might know
the beauty of a sinless life
lived here so long ago.
Tis sad they do not really know
this man of Galilee,
who healed the lame, the blind, the deaf
beside the sapphire sea;
and still they read and laugh and cry
o’re stories of the hour,
and let the Book, dust-covered, lie
unopened in its power.
There is great power in God’s Word, because it is alive.
But it doesn’t live in me by proxy. I have to make the choice to make my relationship with Him my top priority. Because, in the end, it’s only Him and me, face to face. All else will pass away. And I want to know Him.
As for my battle, God has already won my victory. This, too, will work for my good and the good of everyone involved. And each time I face another battle, it gets easier for me to let go and let God do the fighting. It gets easier to “be still and know that He is God.”
God’s grace and peace be yours,