Sitting with the Shepherd
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor," (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 NKJV)
The key word in this passage is sanctification which is repeated twice. God's entire purpose and intent for us is not to make us happy, famous or influential, but simply to impart the righteousness and holiness of Jesus into our lives. Since this is the will of God or His intended purpose for us and He has given us free will, we have the option to cooperate with Him or resist Him. Much of the turmoil and heartache in our lives is the result of our resistance to our Creator's will or intention in favor of our own agenda. The most important fact to take into consideration is that He is God and I am not! He is the Potter and I am the clay. For the clay to tell the Potter what to do is preposterous and futile at best. Whether the word vessel refers to my body or the body of the wife that He has given me, I am not sure. But either way I know that I am to conduct myself in a way that glorifies Him. To glorify Him is to give the correct opinion of who He is by allowing Him to manifest the life of Jesus Christ in me by the power of His indwelling Spirit. This is not something that I accomplish, but rather something that He accomplishes in me. Knowing that allows me to cease from strive and simply live for Him.
"The designs of God, the good pleasure of God, the will of God, the action of God, and the gift of his grace are all one and the same thing in the spiritual life. It is God at work in the soul to make it like Himself. Perfection is nothing more or less than the faithful cooperation of the soul with this work of God. This work begins, grows, and is completed in our souls secretly and without our knowledge."
de Caussade, Jean-Pierre (2012-02-01). Joy of Full Surrender (Paraclete Essentials) (Kindle Locations 257-259). Paraclete Press. Kindle Edition.
Questions for Personal Reflection or Discussion
1. How have you personally sought to discern the will of God for your life?
2. In what ways have you resisted the will of God in conforming you into the image of Jesus Christ?
3. Why is striving to accomplish sanctification in your own strength a futile endeavor?
My Father in heaven, my God, blessed be Your Holy Name. You Word assures me that all things work together for good for those who are called according to your purpose, which is to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. Thank you that I cannot and do not have to accomplish any of this in my own strength. May YOUR will be done and Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Thank You for imparting into me the righteousness of Jesus Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Amen