Confession #2 & #3[of a prodigal pharisee]

The bad news is, I already missed a day of my 100 posts on this, but the good news is day 2 and 3 go hand in hand.  so here we go:

Confession #2

Sometimes I think sanctification happens too slowly

The thing about pharisees is that they like to be perfect.  And the process of sanctification basically exists because this side of Heaven I’ll never be perfect.  But let me tell ya, it’s exhausting.  Every day I work at whatever new sin has been revealed in me, as if when i overcome it I will finally have merit before the throne.  And every night as I lay my head down I have to concede the fight and confess to God that not only have I failed in more ways than I’ve succeeded, but that even my successes are only His.  I hate this, because I’m a pharisee.  It’s a painful way to learn that Jesus and I don’t always value the same things. I value my abilities and ultimatley my glory.  He values His glory, which is a really churchey way of saying that He values that I would look to Him as my only source of hope and that everything in my life would point to Him.  

So, He determines that this process of sanctification should be exactly that – a process.  He determines that I would value His Cross above my works and He determines that I will fail in my own strength and succeed in His grace.  I want sanctification to be quick, but I only want that because I’m a sinner who left to my own devices would reject the Cross as too humiliating and too God centered.  Each time I find myself frustrated with the slowness of sanctification I remind myself that I’m actually frustrated with not being able to trust in me and I praise God that He’s set it up this way so that I am forced to trust in Him.  He truly is my only hope.

Confession #3

Sometimes I think sanctification happens too quickly

So, while the pharisee in me hates that sanctification takes so long, the prodigal in me hates that it happens so quickly.  Why?  Because the prodigal in me likes the slowness of it and the grace that’s allowed in that.  The prodigal in me, left to my own devices, would return over and over again to the pig pen just so I could delight in the process of returning home.  The problem with this obviously is that Jesus never leaves me where I am.  He is constantly moving and shaping and molding and changing.  While I might like to sit on a specific sin and gaze at it for months, feeling sorry for myself and frustrated, He reaches His hand down into the mire and sets my feet on solid ground.  And sometimes that happens so quickly that pieces of me that I was sure would be broken forever are fixed in a moment.

In one of the psalms DAvid talks about his soul ‘refusing to be comforted’.  I guess that’s kind of the same idea with this.  I find that my black heart sometimes enjoys sitting in sin and refuses to be lifted out.  I complain about being in the mud but I still just sit there.  But, praise be to God that sanctification doesn’t depend on my ability or even my desire to rise out of the darkness.  The Spirit of God is living in me and it’s stronger than my flesh, so ultimatley He will always be faithful to lift me from the pit and place my feet on solid ground and put a new song in my mouth.  And then of course, I love the freedom I find in Him and when I’m seeing clearly I love that sanctification is sometimes so quick that it’s hard to even rememmber the pain of it.  Like ripping off a bandaid.  

And I remind myself that the sinner in me resents the speed of sanctification because I’m just so hungry for attention.  And I am used to earthly parents who sometimes pay more attention to the disobedient child.  So in my desperate lonliness and fear I cling to my sins as if they might force my Father to bend down and comfort me.   The truth though, is that I have a heavenly father who has given me His Spirit as a deposit that He will never leave me.  And I have – through that Spirit – the freedom to obey; the freedom to believe that sanctification is always happening.  I have the promise that my Father loves me and has turned His face to me at all times – good and bad.  


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