“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” - John 17:15-19
As Christians, we often hear that this world is not our home. Praise God! While there can be so many joys in this world, there is also such suffering and heartbreak. One only has to turn on the evening news to get a glimpse of the pain in our world. Jesus knows our pain, as he personally experienced all of it. He came into the messiness of our lives. As the eternal God, Jesus could have been born into a far more comfortable setting than a stable. He could have demanded the best clothes and sandals, traveling comforts, and a less painful and humiliating way to die. Jesus afforded himself no physical luxuries in this world. He did not seek to avoid pain and discomfort, but rather embraced them as part of living in this world. Jesus knows our pain from the physical realm to the emotional realm.
Jesus knew that his followers would also experience all the pain of living in a fallen world. He knew that our hearts would often ache for our true home. Therefore, Jesus prayed for his disciples to be protected from the evil one. Satan would try to use the suffering in this fallen world to convince God’s children that he was not who he said he was. But Jesus knew that his followers could overcome the world and find joy in his eternal life, even in midst of their own messiness.
So, Jesus prayed that his followers would be sanctified by God’s truth. Sanctification is a big theological word that has been used for God’s people since the call of Abraham. It means to be set apart for a special purpose. God would use Abraham and his descendants to bless all the nations of the world. Paul teaches that we are not to be conformed by the world but transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Sanctification is a life-long process by which God’s children are made new through the work of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, renews our minds, and transforms our thinking, we become more and more like Jesus. We begin to love the things he loves and to desire the things he desires.
Jesus longs for his followers to experience this sanctification, and he makes it possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s people will no longer simply hear the word of God; as the Spirit dwells within them, they will know the word of God intimately and personally. Jesus consecrated himself unto the Father. He perfectly surrendered himself to God’s plans and purposes. Now, we are called to do the same. We will look much different than the world; we will look like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Each day we live into this sanctification process, we will be better prepared for that day when we see him face to face, and we become like him. Paul wrote: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
The good news is this world is not your home. Yet, you are called to be here for this time and for his purposes. May we follow the example of Jesus, consecrating ourselves to the Father’s will through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Reflect & Respond:
The Lord has chosen you and set you apart for his special purposes. How is the Lord calling you to surrender to him today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small-group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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