These days, we are often bombarded with Christian materials that teach us the reality of our identity in Christ, perhaps to prevent us from forgetting who we have been called to be as new creatures. This is a good thing, but you see, when one truth is emphasized at the expense of another, disaster looms. We tend to forget that our Christian walk is like a woven basket, and with a woven basket, you cannot weave only the base and say you have a basket, you must do a complete work. Justification - the truth that Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us – is such an amazing and mind-bending reality that may take a lifetime to fully understand. However, we must never forget the next steps we have been called to walk in – sanctification. Sanctification and justification are so interwoven that any attempt to separate one from the other will lead to a malfunctioning Christian life.
Being sanctified means being set apart for a purpose or set of purposes. Therefore, our sanctification walk is a forward movement in living out a life of being set apart for God’s purposes. Sanctification, as we know it, can typically be described as the daily walk in which we are being conformed to the image of God until we die, or Jesus comes; whichever comes first. It is the place where God works in us as we work out and express the terms of our justification (Philippians 2:12–13). Our journey to being like Christ is daily and slow, just like taking care of a vineyard (or being a plant mom); and a big part of that work involves our paying attention to the little foxes that can ruin the blooming vineyard of our journey. As someone put it, there are a plethora of little foxes; numerous to number, because the human experience is complex and vast.
‘Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.’
Song of Songs 2:15 (NKJV)
The little foxes can also be called the “deeds of the flesh.” Apostle Paul gave us a guide on how they can manifest in our lives, so we can recognise them (Galatians 5:19–20). In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is expressed in the subsequent verses as a contrast of what we are to aim for as we walk this walk and talk this talk. We can also consider the famed Seven Deadly Sins to help us evaluate our lives and see what sins may be at work subtly or overtly.
“Aren’t you being too sin-conscious?”, you may ask. Well, since we understand that we are to put to death the deeds of the flesh, it would be a thing of wisdom to at least be familiar with the deeds we are to kill off. My question to you will be “If we aren’t conscious of sin, how will we know we are progressing in holiness?” I admit, this walk is difficult and sometimes even feels impossible. We may fall many times and feel like we cannot get up again. It can be a non-linear experience for us. However, let us encourage ourselves with these words from God:
Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again – Proverbs 24:16a (NET)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your understanding – Proverbs 3:5 (NET)
“Die daily”, says the Holy Spirit.
Ojodale is a young Christian man who lives in Lagos but is really not of Lagos. Weaving faith and life in Lagos is an ongoing experience for him. Though difficult, it has been rewarding. He writes on topics dear to him on Medium and occasionally for City Church.