God’s Plan, Your Sanctification
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5–6
Whenever Christmas rolls around I think of that John Lennon song that comes on the radio every year: “And so this is Christmas… and what have you done? Another year over. A new one just begun.”
I guess it’s the pop version of “teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
I used to get to the end of the year with a mild sense of guilt thinking of all the things I could have done, or had planned to do and just never got around to. All the habits I was going to start. All the goals I was going to accomplish. Sound familiar?
I would even start to think back to all those wasted years before I accepted Christ, and all the failed efforts to BE a better Christian. That guilt, along with excitement for the new year, would push me into making new goals and new lists of things to do. So that I could look back on it all once again and be disappointed that it did not meet my expectations.
Don’t you want something different? I know I do.
Of course, I have nothing against goals and establishing good habits for ourselves. I still do those things. But I’ve come to find great contentment and rest in a few key ideas that have grounded me. They have given me perspective rather than end-of-year angst:
- God’s plans are more important than my goals.
- God always accomplishes His purposes.
- God redeems our imperfect efforts.
- God’s mercies are new every morning.
Isn’t that such a relief? What a merciful blessing. Do you want to know what is even more encouraging? His plans and purposes for you are not elusive. He’s already told us exactly what He’s up to.
This is the will of God, your sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3
Our sanctification is God’s goal, and it’s better than any New Years goal we could come up with on our own. It’s a sanctification that changes us ever into the likeness of Christ and can only be done in us by the work of the Holy Spirit.
What is our part? To yield to Him in full surrender. To simply trust and obey, just like that sweet hymn by John H. Sammis says: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Dear sisters in Christ, as the new year rushes in, we can remain content and confident that God will complete His good work in us until it is finished. He will bring about all His good purposes for the glory of His name. Amen.