Being thankful for Holy Spirit Sanctification

For many of us, it’s difficult to be genuinely thankful to the Lord during painful times, let alone being thankful for the actual cause of pain. For most, gratitude during these times of painful purification does not come easy. However, what makes gratitude possible is understanding God’s purpose and His goals. To experience the realisation of privilege and love from our heavenly Father can be life changing. As we grow in our ability to think and prioritise as the Lord does, so our ability to express gratitude as a reflection of His pleasure becomes key in striving for Christlikeness and contentment.

Herein lies one of the greatest challenges for believers today; “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2b). A sincere person may be able to put on good behaviour temporarily but changing the way they think takes the work of the Holy Spirit. Those patterns of thought, those heart habits, and those relentless bad attitudes which self-empower defiance and sin are so embedded within the deceived (Jer 17:9) heart, that it takes divine intervention to change.

Some rejoice in the luxuries of life, some celebrate their sense of worthiness, and others are glad that they have freedom to do as they please. But the child of God considers “it all joy, …when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). Why is this? How can a believer think this way? Because they understand “that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:3). Steadfastness creates faithfulness in your relationship with the Lord which enables you to think through the issues and evaluate your motives, then respond correctly.

The believer chooses to “rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). This seems crazy if you are only thinking of self. But if you are thinking of God it makes sense. God administers the painful periods of life “so that the tested genuineness of your faith… may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). God kindly permits us to discover if our faith is genuine or not. And when faith is proven to be genuine, God assures us that apart from any present glory He may receive, the greatest glory shall occur when Christ returns to snatch up His bride.

So, Paul says, “let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4). If we believers genuinely want to understand God and His sanctification in our lives to such a degree that we rejoice in the trials, we must “let steadfastness have its full effect.” There are no short-cuts, no bypass tricks, joyful sanctification takes time, patience, and a desire for God to be God in your life for His glory.

One of the blessings for a mind that is being transformed, is “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2c). This does not speak of a dark heart attitude which challenges God. Rather, it speaks of observing the “genuineness of your faith” (1Pe 1:7) and realising that this contentment in God through sanctifying trials is God’s will for you. This understanding affirms that the sanctification is indeed “good and acceptable and perfect.” This is at the heart of living in pursuit of Christlikeness.

Through this Holy Spirit energised work of sanctification joy gets ignited by the sparks of thought, faith, and steadfastness. Intellect, for the most part, is the mechanism intended by God to fire signals to your emotions that joy is the appropriate response to the Almighty’s sanctification. May we walk in this reality as a testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ.

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