I sometimes measure sanctification the wrong way
Sure, only a pharisee would need measurables in the first place. But, according to my personality test at work I’m also an achiever so I love goals and I’m going to assume that that’s not ALL my sinful pharisee self. It is only natural that I would look for those small sign posts and goals that reveal to me that I am actually growing in sanctification. The problem is, as a Pharisee, I often look for the wrong things, and then God humbles me in incredibly painful ways to remind me that being able to control my cussing at fellow drivers in traffic doesn’t necesarily indicate heart change when i still feel so much anger at them inside that I grip the steering wheel so tightly that it hurts.
Being a pharisee, my general instinct is to be concerned with the outer appearance. I am concerned with the visible sins, and when I conquer them I pat myself on the back and let Jesus know He can be proud. And then Jesus in turn softly and gently, but firmly turns my head to the Cross and reminds me of the Gospel.
He reminds me that any ability I have to overcome sin comes from Him by His grace. He reminds me that I may get really good at controlling external sin, but that also may just be because I gain power and approval from man by doing so. He gently asks me the hard questions: how much more concerned or obsessed am I with overcoming external vs. internal sins? How much more to I value victory over the sins that embarss me in front of others rather than the ones I can hide? How much difference does He say there is between visible and invisible sin?
What would my sanctification look like if I truly believed that when I feel hate in my heart – I’ve committed murder? What would my repentance look like if I truly believed that when I lusted (or ‘longed for something I had not been given’) I had committed adultery? What would my humility look like?
When I think about these questions I am reminded that maybe that humility, that repentance is in fact what Jesus values and is growing in me, rather than one more external sin checked off my list. But, humility is harder to measure. And I don’t have a scale for assessing how sincere my repentance is. So, the pharisee in me would rather stick with the areas I can get gold stars.
Save me from myself Jesus.