Sanctified in broken bodies

[Ed Welch led a session at the Desiring God Conference on the way our bodies seemingly limit our ability to grow in holiness.  Below you’ll find my summary and processing on his thoughts.]

We are embodied souls.

We are souls, constantly being transformed from one degree of glory to another, while our bodies move further and further away from glory.  As they disintegrate, we are renewed.  For this life, we are trapped inside of these fallen and busted cages.  We are embodied souls.

The weakness of our bodies will sometimes seem to limit our sanctification.   As our bones creak and as our minds falter, it will feel like we are not able to go the distance required of us by God.

But sanctification is not about a distance.  It’s about a direction.  It’s an orientation of our souls toward Christ.  We may be hindered by our bodies in what our obedience looks like, but our weakness can never sabotage our soul’s ability to orient towards God by the power of His Spirit.

I think we get this in theory. I  know that it’s a ‘weakness’ that doesn’t sabotage sanctification when someone is physically hindered from the neck down.  It gets a little trickier though, when we deal with the brain.

The brain is as physical as my toes.  In the same way they can break or sprain, so can my mind.  And just as sheer faith won’t correct the bones, neither will sheer faith fix our brain.  We cannot believe our ways into restoring the neurons lost after a head injury.  We cannot just think our way out of chemical depression.  Years of abuse can carve out new pathways in our brain that cannot be shifted by anything other than physical healing.

We need God.  We need God to reach down and fix our broken minds just as much as we need Him to reach down and cure our Cancer.

But we have to remember: God doesn’t promise to cure Cancer.  And He doesn’t promise to heal our brains.  He doesn’t guarantee to fix your bi-polar disorder or your insomnia or your OCD.

Instead, He gives you better promises: while you are weak, He is strong.  While your body is wasting away, He is renewing your soul.

Whether our weakness is Cancer or chemical depression, it does not limit our sanctification.  Our physical ailments do not inhibit our ability to glorify God.

God’s view of weakness is so different from our own.  He sees our weaknesses as a means to display His power.  He re-interprets failure as opportunity not obstacle.

Holiness has little to do with your ability to outwardly conform to a specific requirement and it has a lot to do with an orientation of your heart.

Turning to Jesus in the midst of our weakness is holiness.  That is not a step in the right direction, that is the right direction.  How glorifying it must be for God when someone whose mind consistently sabotages their ability to see joy, prays and trust Him for joy anyway!  How glorifying it must be for God when someone whose mind triggers panic attacks without consulting them, calls out for Jesus in the midst of the fear and clings to Him as an anchor in the storm!

Sanctification doesn’t always look like overcoming your weakness. Sanctification looks like calling on Jesus in the midst of your weakness.  It looks like calling on Him earlier this time than you did last time. It looks like calling on Him faster, with more fervency, more dependence each minute of each day.

4 thoughts on “Sanctified in broken bodies

  1. i love everything about this post. what a great reminder that god’s great promise to me is that he is strong, when i am weak. so great.

  2. i love everything about this post. what a great reminder that god’s great promise to me is that he is strong, when i am weak. so great.

  3. Beautiful! Simply, Beautiful! As a women of God who walks this out daily, I was truly grateful for the reminder that I don’t have to be strong – HE is strong for me! ALWAYS!

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