Living the Sanctified Life
“4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” Matthew 3:4 NIV
“18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’” Matthew 11:18 NIV
“20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled[a]; yet he liked to listen to him.” Mark 6:20 NIV
Clearly the text in Matthew 3 reveals that John the Baptist did not shop for his clothes at Macy’s or Ross’. Being clothed with camel’s hair and a leather belt was far from fashionable even in the day of John the Baptist. Eating locusts and wild honey also reflected an unusual diet in John’s day. In preparing to be used by God, we can see that John lived a strict and highly disciplined life that did not conform to the world around him.
JOHN LIVED A LIVE THAT WAS SANCTIFIED.
By living a life that was sanctified, John was living a life that didn’t conform to the world around him. Not only did he receive God’s grace for salvation, John also lived his life with the fruit of repentance.
God sanctifies or cleanses us from my sin and saves our souls at the time of salvation. We must sanctify ourselves however, for use and service by the King. In other words, it is God’s responsibility to sanctify our souls for salvation, but it is our responsibility to prepare and sanctify ourselves for service to the King.
I guess it is like having children. A mother does all of the preparation for a child to be born. She pays the price for his birth. She goes to the doctor to receive the right care. She undergoes the testing and ultrasounds to prepare for his birth. She sacrifices her body, the backaches, the hormones and the uncomfortable nights. She takes the breathing classes and epidural shots to give birth. That child, however, must pay the price for his or her own growth. No one else (including mom) can be potty trained for that baby. No one else can learn to speak for that baby. No one else can learn to eat for that baby. In that same sense, Jesus paid the price for our salvation (no one else can do that). We pray the price for our discipleship and growth (no one else can do that either).
The Apostle Paul gives some instruction on sanctifying oneself in 2 Timothy 2:20-21. The Message version says it this way:
“ 20-21In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.” 2 Timothy 2:20-21 The Message
Paul compares the church of God to a great house. After all, a great house is built at a great expense of its owner (as is the church), it must have firm foundations laid for it to stand (as the church needs to have as well), it consists of many parts (as Jesus says the church is one body with many parts), and a great house is made great by it’s owner (as the church is also made and built up by the Lord Himself).
Paul then brings the focus down further and narrows in on the kitchen (my favorite room of the house). Then he points to the cabinets with all the vessels or dishes (bowls, plates, vases, etc.). Crystal goblets and silver platters (in the Message version) according to Paul are used to carry items of honor while waste cans and garbage containers that carry trash and junk that will soon be discarded. Interesting that both vessels of honor (for good) and vessels of dishonor (for junk) are found in the great house. I don’t think that analogy is coincidental as there are within the church, both people who are like vessels of honor that carry blessings to God’s people and others who are like the vessels of dishonor that like to grumble, murmur, and complain about every thing they can find.
Paul then says, “Look, you can either be a vessel that carry’s great blessings from God to others (or visitors to God’s great house), or you can be like the trash can that likes to accumulate rubbish and carries around all the trash of the house to others. You pick which you will be, and which you will deliver. You decide.”
I wonder how different the church would be if all who were sanctified by God for salvation, would begin to really work, prepare and sanctify themselves for useful service to God. I wonder how different the church would be if rather than choosing to be vessels of rubbish in the church, we all chose to be vessels of blessings.
Better yet, I wonder how different I would be if I truly began to work hard at, preparing, and sanctifying myself for useful service to God. I wonder how different I would be if rather than choosing to be a vessel of rubbish in the church, I chose to be a vessel of blessing to all those I encounter.
Holy Spirit, empower me to sanctify myself to be ready and able to do Your will in every area of my life. Amen.