Walk In The Same Manner As Christ – Sanctified By The Word Of God
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus’ prayer for us as believers wasn’t that God would remove us from the world, but rather that we would be protected from the evil one – Satan. God has a plan that is unfolding every second of every day, and we are a part of that program. We are Plan A of His plan – to reach everyone in every nation with the love and message of the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ.
In order to do that, we need some divine assistance. Jesus recognized from His own testing that we need to be protected from Satan. As Jesus’ disciples, we are not greater than the master, but rather suffer the same way that He did. James did give us some advice on how to overcome the testing of the enemy of our souls:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
We tend to forget that first part, and go straight to the second part. When we do that, it is like picking up an unloaded weapon and pointing it at someone who can see that the chamber is empty of a bullet. We have a responsibility to first submit ourselves to God. Let us do so, for we are not citizens of this world, but of Heaven.
Too often we become entrenched here in the world. Like Lot, we pitched our tents towards Sodom, and the next thing we know, we are sitting in the City Gates, fully part of the culture that we have been sent to confront. Our confrontation should not initially be with words, but with actions. We are ambassadors for Christ, citizens of Heaven, just passing through. We need to remember that so that we do not begin to look and act like the people that we have been sent to minister. Otherwise, our ability to minister will be greatly impacted.
Paul said that he became like the people he was preaching to win many, but was not under the law. When people see that we identify with them, they are more likely to listen to the message of Christ. Is it not easier to minister to someone who is greatly grieving if we ourselves have experienced a similar loss? Do we not then have the compassion and empathy towards their situation to be able to say, “I’ve been there. Let me tell you what helped me through this…”.
Jesus’ desire for us was that we would be sanctified. He desired that our character be conformed to the character of God. He wanted us to live our lives in a way that properly reflected the righteousness that He would soon give up for us so that we could be reconciled to the Father. Personal holiness is not required for salvation, but it should be a desire of every believer, for we wish to emulate the life and character of our teacher and savior, Jesus Christ.
Jesus asked the Father that He would send us out into the world just as God sent Jesus. To be sent, we must first be made alive in Christ by the Holy Spirit of God indwelling us. We are then tested by God. Next, we are to be filled with the Spirit of God as He comes upon us mightily. Walking in the gifts of the Spirit that God provides to us, we are sent out to minister to others and do God’s work in His will.
When we yield ourselves to God, He will conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. We will shed the things of the past, and embrace the things of the Spirit and our future as we look forward to returning to our true home, Heaven. Transformation through sanctification is a blessing that every believer should embrace. In the same way that we expect a college student who has taken courses for the last four years to pass their exams and graduate, we also should be applying what we learn so that we too will properly use the education that God has provided to us for the purposes of glorifying His name and bearing His image properly to others.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: To the world, do I look more like them or more like Jesus?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You test me day and night. Your word convicts me, and I desire to embrace the changes that You want to make in my life. Give me the strength and wisdom to let go of the past, and to embrace the present. Help me to apply the lessons that You teach me in Your word so that I will live a life worthy of the calling that I have received. Help me to be light and salt to this world, and to use every available resource that You provide for Your purposes and not my own. Give me the ability to yield everything to You, for You already own it, and want me to voluntarily see this truth and embrace it in my heart. Transform me that I may be more useful in Your kingdom, and help me to do all that You desire so that I may hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” when I next see Your Son, Jesus Christ, in glory. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.