Help Others See Their Sanctification
How great does it feel to make progress? It’s a hard feeling to beat. When it comes to our spiritual progress, many times, we need help from others in order to see how far we’ve come.
We need help from others because the spiritual realm can be hard to discern. We cannot see it clearly. It can be confusing, mysterious, and cloudy — not just during warfare, but also in seeing victories.
I’m grateful for the godly men in my life who’ve built me up by helping me see evidence of my sanctification. Realizing the progress we’ve made in our sanctification can be tremendously edifying.
It’s worth noting — many think they’re great leaders because they’re good at pointing out what’s wrong. However, great leaders can both point out shortcomings and empower others to move forward — they will help you see the next step to take and equip you to do so.
Helping others see the evidence of their own sanctification is one of the most powerful ways to affirm someone.
What do we know about sanctification?
Sanctification is one of those big church words that basically means to grow more like Jesus Christ. And if you’re a Bible reader then you’re already familiar with this word. It’s everywhere in Scripture as an essential mark of every believer.
In one sense, sanctification can provide overwhelming evidence that you’re saved and the Holy Spirit dwells in you. And if the Spirit dwells in you, well, then you’re a blessed individual!
Matthew Henry stated, “None can know their election but by their conformity to Christ; for all who are chosen are chosen to sanctification.” Do you hear the explosive encouragement right there? If you’re conforming to the image of Christ, you can be sure that you’re chosen. If you’ve been elected, you can know it by your Christlikeness.
Remember the famous Golden Chain of Redemption found in Romans 8:29-30?
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)
If you’re being conformed to the image of the Son, there is great hope to grasp! Soon you will be glorified.
Another word often associated with sanctification is holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is one proof these two words are interchangeable. Some versions say, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification,” while other versions state, “For this is the will of God, that you should be holy.”
This is a life-long process. It does not happen overnight.
Sanctification is slow. It is not like being struck by a lightning bolt. Rather, it’s like a seed planted in the ground. It’s like slowly getting into a freezing cold swimming pool. None of us have the willpower to fully dive in, but we’re getting there.
Furthermore, it’s like getting to know someone new and slowly shaping your life to look like them (hint: the person’s name is Jesus). As Romans 8 says, we being conformed to his image. We are all conforming to something through our years on earth. Those apart from Christ will conform to the world; those in Christ will conform to the Kingdom. Being set apart is part of our sanctification progress.
Because it’s a slow process, it’s good to have help from others for discernment and clarification along the way.
We must be intentional about becoming more like Christ, growing in holiness, and shrinking in worldliness. J.C. Ryle accurately sums up, “Where there is no holy living, there’s no Holy Spirit.” Thus, where there is holy living, there is the Holy Spirit.
This is worth putting on the table — it’s worth remembering. Our holiness is certainly imperfect, but is it growing? If there is progress, there is great hope. The progress must be in conforming to the image of Christ. Believe it or not, sometimes we need help seeing that we are indeed conforming rightly!
You don’t know what you don’t know.
In order to affirm our sanctification, we must rely on the help of others — primarily older, godly men. They must help younger believers by clarifying good fruits of their sanctification. This article’s angle is not saying we must show others how they fall short, but how they are bearing good fruit!
Why older men? Because the biblical worldview holds that men are the head of the household, and men are called to lead in the local church. Older men are to set the example for everyone else.
What’s the example they are to set? Help younger believers see their own sanctification.
Some may pushback here for various reasons. We’ve established that none are perfect, and everyone’s sanctification is incomplete. Therefore, why would some men need to affirm someone else’s progress in sanctification? I would say — just because you’ve stumbled doesn’t mean you can’t help guide someone around the stump you tripped over.
Godly men should be making disciples in this way, at least in part.
Now, I believe everyone has the opportunity to encourage anyone by helping them see their progress in sanctification. We all can! It’s not just the men who could do more of this, even though I believe they have the greatest responsibility to lead.
The church body could still grow if we didn’t help one another see our sanctification, but here’s what I know — I’ve experienced insight about myself that I did not see on my own. Being able to sit down and listen to those who watch my life closely has taught me a great deal.
Help someone know what they don’t know.
Older men have the higher standard, but as it was said, everyone has the opportunity to build someone up. Is there anyone you know that needs encouragement in their faith? Do you see progress and growth in their life? Share the evidence of their sanctification with them.
Too many people are trolling around pointing out what’s wrong. Be different and point out something right.
Here’s what would greatly benefit the Church today — more leaders need to help others see the evidence of their sanctification.
Think about those around you and how God is working in their life. I’m sure it would mean a lot to them if you could share this kind of encouragement.
What you see in their life may not be exposed to them. The spiritual realm can be cloudy and confusing. I believe the things we celebrate get repeated. The enemy will try to fog up our spiritual victories along with spiritual warfare. Maybe they don’t realize the kind of progress they’re making. If you see it, make it known and celebrate.
I do not write this article as an expert encourager. In fact, I don’t do this well. I confess that I’m in the same boat. I’m the guy who got encouraged, not encouraged others. However, as I’ve been built up, I desire to build others up.
The men who’ve shared evidences of my sanctification with me have greatly encouraged me. As a result, I plan to help others see their sanctification too.