Sanctified by one another

[I’ve written a bunch of different posts sharing what I learned at The  Desiring God Conference! The session my Russell Moore was so full of sweet gems that I had to split it into three posts.  This is post #2.]

At the end of the day, the person I care about most is me.

I wish that wasn’t true.  I pray that in some deep new creation part of me, it isn’t.

But this race is hard and long and honestly, it sometimes feels like I can’t possibly worry about any body else when the darkness of my own heart is barely being kept at bay.

And yet, the Bible seems clear.  Sanctification is only possible if we lean on one another.  It’s a corporate pursuit.  I sanctify you and you sanctify me.  We sanctify each other.

If I want to finish this thing I’m going to have to lift up my head, look to the health of the Bride of Christ, and consider you as more significant than me.church church church

That’s tough.  Cause, even though I am not from here, I’ve spent most of my life in America.

I’ve been saturated by an individualistic worldview.  I’ve been trained to look out for number one.  And so I do.  Even when it comes to the Church.

Russell Moore gave three examples of this and each one struck a tender nerve with me:

1.  Spiritual Gifts. I love a good personality test like the rest of them, but gifts and personality tests are different things.  Our gifted-ness shouldn’t be determined by some online inventory as a way to reach self-actualization.

Our gifts are God’s gifts, given to us by Jesus for the building up of His bride.

I’ve been realizing lately that I find a lot of my identity in my gifts.  It’s kind of sick.  I’ve been noticing more and more how I think they’re for the building up of ‘Fabs’: for growing my reputation, for the enlarging of my platform.

The main issue is not whether or not we can identify and label our gifts.  Far more important than you being able to categorize yourself is a confidence that you are spending all that God has given you for the building up of His bride.

2. Worship.  Moore hit another nerve when he referenced the worship wars that are prevalent in our churches today.  We always want the style of worship and the specific songs that serve us the best.

I work for a Church that has been blessed with a ridiculously gifted production team and talented artists.  I am spoiled.  And if I’m not careful I can fall into the trap of becoming a consumer of worship.

Corporate worship is one of God’s greatest gift to us.  There is something uniquely sanctifying about worshiping Him with other saints by our sides.

And if we really believe that, we’ll seek environments that serve those around us. We’ll long to be able to connect with God regardless of style.   After all, His greatness does not ebb or flow based on circumstance, nor should our worship.

3. Preaching.  God calls us to come together every Sunday and sit under one message from His Word regardless of our unique situations.  He knows we are going to need one another to be remember what He tells us.

God wrote Ephesians 5 to the church – not just to the married folks.  He wrote about the blessing of singleness to believers in all life stages – not just the unmarried.

Because we are responsible for each other’s sanctification.

I need to learn about marriage, because when my married pals are struggling, they don’t primarily need practical tips on how to make a marriage work, they need biblical truth from the mouth of God Himself.  Although my married friends may not know the culturally appropriate way to encourage single folks, they know what the Bible says and that’s what I need to hear.

We tune in on Sunday to a sermon about marriage because we’re there as much for the sanctification of those around us as we are ourselves.  We lift our hands in worship because, while our engagement with God may be personal, it is not individual.  We serve, trusting God to ignite His gifts inside of us as He sees fit for the building up of this messy Bride of His.

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