The Artwork of Sanctification

I thought I had it conquered.

But the fact that 1/3 of the words in that sentence are “I” should tell you that it’s NOT conquered. I still try to do things in my own strength… just as before.

Sin is crouching at the door… 

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. – Genesis 4:7

If you’ve read Genesis, you know of the sin that devoured Cain. He had a choice to rule over the sin, but instead he let the sin rule him. I feel like Cain often. My “pet” sins seem to take control of me easily. One of those sins is pride. One is selfish ambition. The two kind of go together. But because of an amazing work God has done in my life over the past year and a half, I thought I had gotten to a safe place. A trusting place. One where I truly believed God was in control, and that I needed to just let Him handle things. Because of the letting go, I was beginning to see what I believe is God’s calling on my life. But in a lapse of self-control, the ambition came out… of my mouth. The devil was crouching and he found an open opportunity.

Let another praise you…

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. – Proverbs 27:2

Former time in my life (including ministry time) had been spent trying to make things happen in my own strength, basically telling God how to do His job. But after a year and a half of breaking, I had finally come to a place where I was letting Him lead. Not boasting. Not trying to prove myself (at least not as much as in the past). For the longest time, I’ve just waited and watched. Basically, I have been looking expectantly for God’s calling and just waiting on His timing. But in one self-indulgent moment, I tried to take control of the ship again. Why? Insecurity. Lack of belief that God would fulfill His promises. Abundance of belief that since I could “see” what He wanted, that I should just go ahead and try to make it happen. Ugly stuff.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3

I know I’m being very vague, but basically what I’m describing is a situation in my life where I let selfish ambition get the best of me. Ambition can destroy everything, even our ministry callings. When it becomes more about ourselves than about Jesus, then we become useless. When we try to TELL God what He’s calling us to do, or when we try to make it happen in our own strength, we are filthy rags. He doesn’t want our ambition. He doesn’t want what “we can do for Him.” He simply wants US, empty vessels, open and ready for His outpouring. God simply asks us to wait, watch, listen, obey.

My prayer…

My prayer out of this moment of boasting/selfish ambition/vain conceit… or whatever you want to call it is this:

God, if this is truly Your calling on my life, please don’t let anything I do (in my own strength) mess it up. And please protect me from myself. I’m thankful for Your beautiful artwork of sanctification, and I’m thankful that you give us second chances.

I boast no more…

Because music is one of the main tools God uses to teach me, here is one of my all-time favorite songs, ironically enough about this very topic… I Boast No More by Caedmon’s Call.

To you…

So, what pet sins still crouch at your door? Are you willing to accept God’s beautiful gift of sanctification? He is waiting for you to let go and trust Him… to give Him your all and allow Him to mold you into the beautiful artwork that He has created you to be.

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1 Comment

  1. Paula, I really love your message here. It’s powerful and speaks straight to my heart and my “pet sins” too. I hear ya, girl! I have to keep reminding myself not to try to control what God has given me, but rather let Him control it – because after all, He knows best. :)



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