Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
–1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
We live in a world that wants to blame others, castigate others, judge others to solve its problems. Perhaps we would reap more positive results if we plumbed deep within ourselves seeking God’s sanctification. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Sanctify* means:
- to make sacred or holy-set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use: consecrate, hallow
- to make free from sin: cleanse from moral corruption and pollution: purify
- to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, title to reverence, venerability, or
- to make efficient as the means of holiness: make productive of holiness or piety
We rarely if ever are capable of changing another person. With God’s help, we can change ourselves. Each of us has a set of filters, some stronger than others, that color the way we view the world around us. These filters become a part of our mentality from the moment we are born. Hopefully, the first filter is one that says we are loved and wanted. Many filters are good and provide shortcuts for our brains, so we do not need to start every action or interaction from scratch. Some filters are not good. It is these filters that’s removal is necessary for us to each serve God productively.
I love item four above. We do not realize how much effort we waste by allowing those negative filters to rule our lives. Our negative filters obstruct our attempts to love God and love as Jesus loves because they incorrectly define the person we are striving to love. The only definition of any other person that matters is their creation in the image of God. When we judge another by any other criteria, our love cannot be productive. Particularly when we feel the need to force others to be like us before we can care for or about them, we fail God.
Prayer: God, forgive us when we pull away from you in search of things that will never satisfy our needs. Make us whole so that we can fully become the people you created us to be. Cleanse us and make us your productive servants. Amen.