“I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Paul assured his friends in Philippi they would eventually arrive home complete in Christ and that’s certainly true for anyone found in Christ today. I need to be reminded of that often. But if you’re like me that prompts some questions. Do you find yourself wondering if progress is being made? I mean how can I tell the Gospel is actually taking root in my heart and there’s something good going on deep down in my soul? What can we use to make an assessment? What’s the gauge?
● Moral behavior can certainly be an indicator, (see 1 Jn 3:6) but we all know people who don’t claim the name of Christ who are very good. Anyone with the least bit of self-awareness knows it’s possible to cover up what’s really going on inside with an outward appearance that is at odds with the heart.
● Healthy appetite for Christian culture and the otherwise religious can also be an indicator – had my quiet-time, listened to a sermon on the way to work, played praise and worship music all day, made it to small group and Church this week. Check and double check. I must be well on the way, right? Could all that just be the same insincere stuff Jesus had to call out the Pharisees for?
● A hunger to know and understand is another indicator. The book shelves are packed with good stuff and I love to be learning. We are alive in a time where it seems there’s an excellent book coming off the press every minute of the day full of truth and teaching for followers of Christ. Add everything that is instantly available to the learner today via the web and it’s an amazing blessing of help and input for growth and understanding of who we are in Christ. Yes, that’s been fuel for progress but apparently knowledge can out-run the application to my heart, (1 Cor 8:1).
Behavior, activity, and knowledge may be three things I’ve observed in my own life that are undoubtedly important in evaluating progress in sanctification but there’s a caution as well. To be sanctified isn’t a hyper-spiritual state but a more practical view of life as I’m becoming increasingly aware of the needfulness of grace. It is a quickening of the pace to turn away from confidence in self and toward the keeper of my soul. Maturing in wisdom, more sincere love and care for the wellbeing of others, seeing myself, God, and others more truly. In sum “becoming conformed to the image of His Son” Who is the only perfect and reliable gauge for measuring progress in sanctification. I am thankful He is both the power and the guarantee that it will be accomplished.
– David Ortiz