“Not that I have already obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on.” Philippians 3:12 (NIV)
Some Christians have a genuine longing to be more like Christ, but they’re always discouraged; they have an air of defeat about them. But defeat is not what we find in the Bible. What we find goes something like this: “I want to be a better Christian, but I’m not there yet. I’m praying that God will do a new work in me.”
Defeated Christians have a passion for holiness. They want to be better. They’re stretching themselves out in pursuit of a more godly life. That’s what the doctrine of sanctification does—it promotes humility and effort. It says to us, “You still have a long way to go. Press on.”
We need this great truth of sanctification in our lives. We need to apply ourselves to become more holy than we are, and we need to do this on a continual basis. With God’s help, we need to work on being less selfish, less critical, and less other things too. With God’s help, we also need to work on being more generous, more thankful, more patient, and more understanding.
Is there anybody who’s as holy as they want to be? The first sign of holiness is that you want to be more holy than you are. The problem is that you never actually get there.
If sanctification is the only truth you have grasped, the Christian life will always seem beyond you. That’s why beside sanctification—what God is doing—we need regeneration to remind us of what God has done, so that we will find strength and joy to continue the journey.
Are you more inclined to be discouraged or satisfied with your holiness?