I’ve often heard others interpret “God working in one’s life” as being given good things and having prayer requests answered. This may be a way that God chooses to work at certain times, but never have I seen the work of the Lord more in my life than in the way He sanctifies me.
Sanctification is the process by which God purifies and “makes holy” His chosen people. How does He do this? By the separation of His children from sin and evil. By discipline.
Quite honestly, sanctification may be my least favourite thing to experience in life. It is not fun. It hurts. It is usually a long process. It is quite often embarrassing, as it strips back the layers of pride that veil my eyes from seeing the sin hiding in my life. While it is one of my least favourite things, it is also one of the things I am most grateful for. I am grateful for it because it draws me nearer to my Savior and reveals the never-ending faithfulness of my God.
Drawing Me Nearer – The process of sanctification draws me nearer to my Savior because it reveals weakness within me. A few years ago, I prayed a prayer I’m quite honestly terrified to ever pray again. I asked the Lord to draw me nearer to Himself, make me more like Him, rid me of my selfishness, no matter the cost… no matter what He needed to do. I opened myself up and proclaimed I was willing to have Him do whatever He deemed necessary to prune the vines of my heart. That following year ended up being one of the worst of my life. Day by day, layers of sin and pride that I hadn’t even known existed were ripped off of me. It hurt. Bad. But it revealed that I am so, so weak. I am incapable of maintaining any standard of righteousness on my own. The amount of sin that was revealed that year left me in awe of the fact that the Lord chose to save me. That year drew me nearer to Him because the stripping of layers and the pruning of branches left me with the realization that I could not survive on my own. I was (am) weak and needed to draw near to Him.
Revealing His Faithfulness – The process of sanctification not only draws me nearer to the Father, but it reveals His never-ending faithfulness to His children. If I choose sin above Him over and over again, why would He ever continue to pursue me, continue to forgive me? It makes no sense. Yet, He promises to always refine me, always sanctify me, and always prune me. He promises to always draw me near! He is faithful when I am not. He is faithful when you are not.
Yes, I have seen the Lord graciously give me the desires of my heart. Yes, I have seen the Lord choose to bless me in ways I wanted Him to bless me. And He is so, so good for that. But He is even better for the ways He rebukes me, sanctifies me, and prunes the vines of my heart. Vines that choose to produce bad fruit when they could produce good. Vines that shrivel back from His presence instead of drawing near. Vines that don’t deserve to be pruned. And yet He chooses to do so.
This is how I have seen the Lord work in my life. Oh, how I hope He never stops.