Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Uphold me according to Your promise, that I may live: and let me not be put to shame in my hope. Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for Your statutes continually!”
Psalm 119: 116, 117
“Do not spoil the chime of this morning’s bells by ringing only half a peal. Do not say, ‘Hold Thou me up,’ and stop there, or add, ‘But all the same I shall stumble and fall.’ Finish the peal with God’s own music, the bright words of faith that He puts into your mouth, ‘Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe!’”
Frances Ridley Havergal
Today’s Study Text:
“They do not belong to the world, just as I do not. Sanctify them by the truth: Thy word is truth. As Thou didst send me into the world, I also have sent them into the world; and on their behalf I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated by the truth.”
John 17: 16 - 19
Weymouth’s New Testament
In Modern Speech
“Learning To Pray Like Jesus” – Part 8
“Sanctified By The Truth”
“We are ‘God’s workmanship,’ and God is good, therefore His workmanship must be good also, and we may securely trust that before He is done with us, He will make out of us something that will be to His glory, no matter how unlike this we may as yet feel ourselves to be.”
Hannah Whitall Smith
God of All Comfort
What do I think it means to be “sanctified by truth?”
In my own life, in what ways have I found God’s Word to be the truth?
“The destined end of man (and woman) is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. God’s one aim is the production of saints.”
“Sanctification is not a heavy yoke, but a joyful liberation.”
Corrie ten Boom
A few weeks ago, I was visiting my mother and a friend called her house – someone we both have known for many years.
This individual happened to know that I was at my mother’s home so when my mom answered the phone, they said, “Hi, Dorothy.” My mom laughed as she said, “No, you have Ellen on the line.” Then she proceeded with this statement, “This isn’t the first time people have gotten us mixed–up. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I sound just like Dorothy and I know people have told her that she sounds just like me.”
Frankly, after so many years, being around each other, it doesn’t surprise me at all that people confuse us when they hear us speak. What’s more, even our mannerisms, the way we walk and act are similar. We have familiar tendencies which I’m certain are the results of years of constant association. Face it, we have rubbed off on each other.
I share this simple, everyday example with you because it gets straight to the heart of helping me understand a complex word like “sanctification” which to be quite honest, for many years, seemed like an incomprehensible word to me.
Frankly I can do all right with the passages of scripture that assure me, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” WOW! I can easily visualize a kind shepherd watching out for a group of playful, woolly lambs. It isn’t too difficult picturing my heavenly Father guiding me and keeping me from danger, just like a shepherd would do for the sheep under their care.
But when you come to a passage like our study text today and find a phrase like “sanctified through the truth,” I start scratching my head as I ask myself, “What does this mean in the real world, where the rubber meets the road, so to speak?”
As Jesus continued to pray, not only for Himself, but especially for His disciples throughout time, He asked His Father to fill those who follow Him with joy. A joy that balances our lives, especially during times when we feel wobbly – and I think you know what I mean. When a gust of life’s trouble slams into you and knocks you off your feet, Jesus wants us to know that heaven’s joy can still survive because when we allow this joy to take root in our lives, nothing can pull it out. But this wasn’t all Jesus asked for on our behalf. He also prayed that a wall of protection would surround us and would be our refuge and shelter as long as we lived on this planet we call earth.
It was in this environment filled with joy and protective care where Jesus knew something else could grow – actually it could flourish – and it is a “holy” life, which is the word used in the Greek for “sanctified.”
“How can this happen?” This was the question that first popped into my head. And this is when I got to thinking about the phone call my mother received where the individual on the other end of the line confused my mom for me.
When Jesus was praying, He told His Father that you and I, and all of His followers are “not of this world, even as I am not of this world.” While we belong together as part of God’s family, our ties are not those of this earth but of our heavenly home. We are related not by things of this world but of the world to come.
What does this mean? It means we don’t feel like we fit in down here on earth. We don’t feel similar to what we see around us. Jesus experienced this reality every day He walked on earth. When He witnessed the death of a child, in His heart He said, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way. This isn’t what things are like in my family.” When a woman came up to Him, bleeding for eighteen years, He thought to Himself, “This isn’t right. Pain and sickness aren’t part of My kingdom.”
How thankful I am, though, that Jesus didn’t just stop His prayer with the words: “They aren’t of this world.” If He had, we would be in a pretty hopeless situation. It would be like someone saying, “You don’t belong here,” and then walking away, leaving you to wonder where you do fit in and how you could fit in.
It is at this point in His prayer when Jesus spoke words that are great news for you and me. He asked His Father to make us holy, pure, consecrated and yes, “sanctified through the truth” of God’s Word. Or as the Greek so expressively describes “truth,” it is to speak what is true. Now, here’s the simple beauty we find buried in the complicated appearing word, “sanctified.”
In His prayer to His Father, Jesus reminds His “Dad” that it was through the truth of God’s Word that Jesus lived a holy life when He walked this earth, and the same thing is true of His followers – all down through history. By beholding we will be changed. By daily association with the Truth, my life will begin to look like the Truth. I’ll talk like the Truth. I’ll walk like the Truth. Until one day, someone will say, “You remind me of Jesus -- you are just like Him. You have His voice. Your touch is gentle. Your heart is pure. You must be one of His family.”
I’m very fond of the thoughtful words penned by author Matthew Henry in his commentary on our study passage for today. As he explains, Jesus prayed: “‘Father, sanctify them,’ that is ‘Confirm the work of sanctification in them, strengthen their faith, inflame their good affections, rivet their good resolutions. Carry on that good work in them, and continue it; let Your light shine more and more through them.’”
Isn’t this what you want to happen in your life today, where by the continual association with the “Truth,” God’s holiness rubs off on you, infiltrates your pores, and infuses your life until it can be said of each one of us as it was said about two of Jesus’ closest friends and followers, Peter and John. “They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4: 13, K.J.V.) What a testimony to living a sanctified – a holy life.
“God loves us too much to leave us the way we are.”
Jonathan and Jennifer Campbell
The Way of Jesus
“Our brother Jesus, You set our feet upon the way and sometimes
where You lead we do not like or understand.
Bless us with courage where the way is fraught with dread or danger;
Bless us with graceful meetings where the way is lonely;
Bless us with good companions where the way demands a common cause;
Bless us with night vision where we travel in the dark,
keen hearing where we have not sight, to hear the reassuring
sounds of fellow travelers;
Bless us with humor – we cannot travel lightly weighed down with gravity;
Bless us with humility to learn from those around us;
Bless us with decisiveness where we must move with speed;
Bless us with lazy moments, to stretch and rest and savor;
Bless us with love, given and received;
And bless us with Your presence, even when we know it in Your absence.
Lead us into exile, until we find that on the road is where You are,
and where You are is going home.
Bless us, lead us, love us, bring us home
bearing the gospel of life.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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