Thoughts on Sanctification
|"This is my journey through recovery, showing how my Creator is using the the 12-Step Christian recovery model to give me relief from the behaviors that bring me pain." --Sid|
Once we've begun to come out of denial about our true moral condition, and are learning to put our full trust in God, it is likely that we will experience a conviction to be fully honest with ourselves, God, and trusted friends about those sins that so easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1 ).
The thought of confession may bring us a great deal of fear. Are we now willing to take ownership of our weaknesses, or is fear of the unknown persuading us to stuff all this mess back into those dirty closets of our lives that we just pulled them out of during our introspective processing?
We may be fearful to admit these things even to ourselves because we're not sure that we can forgive ourselves. But, as we choose to accept our past and current issues as our own, we take yet another step toward freedom. Our load of shame is reduced. (Romans 12:3 )
We may be fearful to admit our ungodliness to the Holy God of the universe. But we must remember that He already knows anyway. And even so, He loves us so much that He came into this sinful world as a man and died to pay the penalty for our sins. Our God loves us so much that He accepts us just the way we are, no matter how low we've sunk into our foolishness. But, we need not fear to confess to God the exact nature of our wrongs, for... "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1John 1:9 )
We may be exceedingly fearful to confess the results of our introspection to another human being because of what they may think of us or what they may say to us or to others as a result of our sharing. Because of this, we do need to be very careful to choose a listener (or listeners) wisely. It needs to be someone experienced in the recovery/sanctification process that we can trust. But, when we find the right person, and push through our fear, confessing the exact nature of our issues, there comes a feeling of relief that these things are no longer our dark secret. Someone else now knows about it. This angers the forces of evil, who had a great advantage over us while we were in isolation. (James 5:16 )
It feels (and is) good to come out of our isolation and into the freedom of being able to at least begin to talk about our dysfunction. Confession has greatly accelerated the healing process for myself and many others who I know. It can do the same for you, my friend, because YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Listen to what Jesus said about your worth: "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:" (Luke 12:6-8 )
"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." (Step 5)
When cutting an onion, certain enzymes are released which tend to bring tears to our eyes. Generally speaking, people look for all kinds of ways to avoid this pain. I've heard of people wearing goggles or cutting the onions under water, as well as many other ways to avoid the unpleasant effects of onion cutting. Some claim that cutting onions may actually have medicinal benefits. Proponents of natural healing have long taken advantage of these benefits.
Quoting Eva Wilson, "When looking at the symptoms of [a] cold, it is ironic that we would treat this ailment with an almost like-with-like therapy." In a similar way, it may seem ironic that we would treat our sin-sick condition by making "a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves". Generally speaking, we'd rather ignore our problems so we don't feel the pain. This therapy (moral inventory) has been likened to the pealing of an onion, in that as we peal back each layer (issue) of our lives, we discover another "layer" that we need to deal with. And, I've found that to be true in my own recovery process. But today, I'm thinking of another way to look at this process.
As we become more and more surrendered to God, resulting from the recognition of our need and our trust in a loving God, it seems like He "cuts" through those "layers" of our "onion" of dysfunction . This process is painful. It exposes hidden layers of stuff we have been in denial (or forgotten) about and it stings the eyes of our understanding, bringing many tears. But ironically, through all of this cutting pain, we find restoration of our souls to God through the release of the healing "enzymes" of acknowledgment of our sins which so easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1 ).
When we embrace this healing process, rather than putting on the "goggles" of denial, we are divinely propelled into the more advanced steps of healing and recovery, such as confession, amends and witnessing, which all lead to a more fulfilling life, with greater peace, joy and love. IMHO, I think that the pain of introspection (or cutting onions) is well worth the gain. Praise God!
"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." (Step 4)
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