Sanctification is a slow process. You don’t just wake up one day and all your bad habits are gone. That’s why there is this concept called the “renewing of your mind”. We are also encouraged to guard our hearts. The parable of the sower – the good soil – waits patiently, diligently working on the seed that was planted, until it grew big and strong and produced good fruit.
What made that good soil different from the others was perseverance. Nothing stopped them. Healthy trees need pruning. Healthy trees still get bugs on them. Healthy trees still need maintenance, and a sick tree can be made healthy again, when tended to.
On this journey towards sanctification : DO NOT GIVE UP. Heart break, disappointment, confusion or even sin, cling to Jesus! Sanctification is a life long process of pruning. The goal is to make us more Christ-like – producing the FRUIT of the HOLY SPIRIT- bearing good fruit. The goal of this fruit is to be loving and kind to those around us, just like He is to us.
Pruning– trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.
Vinedresser– a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines.
The True Vine
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Love and Joy Perfected
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.
Let me break this down for you: First we must know that we serve a Loving God. All my problems flow from a belief of an unloving, unfair God. Here, Jesus tells us to abide in God’s love. Once we take our eyes off of our loving savior, like Peter, we begin to sink.
Second, abiding in the Greek – G3306- menō means –
to remain, abide
in reference to place
to sojourn, tarry
not to depart
to continue to be present
to be held, kept, continually
in reference to time
to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure
of persons, to survive, live
in reference to state or condition
to remain as one, not to become another or different
to wait for, await one
Therefore, never give up on God or your salvation! Sanctification is a long process of pruning with the goal of love. Your requirements are to stand under the grace of God and to obey Christ’s command of loving one another. When you abide or stay close to Christ, renewing your mind with his word and letting His Spirit work in you; you become loving, kind, patient etc. Evil things that once gave you pleasure and satisfaction, no longer do.
Don’t give up. God loves you with all your faults, sins and preconceived notions. He will hold up a mirror to your face and show you what’s in your heart. At first it will be painful, you will be kicking and screaming. You will question God, get angry with people, sin and be tempted to leave the faith, but don’t. Hold on tight to Christ, even when you do not feel joy in your heart. God is faithful to comfort you, expose you and heal you where you are. The reward is renewed strength, peace and ultimately joy- that is your strength. Pain and hardships humbles us, softens us and makes us compassionate towards others.