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Paul writes, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
I am growing because life is hard right now, and challenges loom. There are circumstances that are forcing me to question how I react to stress. These same circumstances force me to dig deep, into my faith, searching for the treasure I know exists. When I dig up a specific treasure that I know will enable me to trust and rest in the midst of a trial I get happy, knowing I am putting into action something that I haven't had the opportunity to use yet. It's like having that really great appliance that you dust, keep moving around the kitchen, taking out of the cabinet, putting back in-without a real use for. Maybe it was bought for that special meal that you knew you would make- eventually, but just haven't had the opportunity yet. And then the time comes-the day has arrived when you are going to make that meal, and you take the appliance out, fire it up, hoping it will work as the commercial said it would. And guess what? It works! In fact, it works better than you imagined. Wow-it makes the whole meal easier to prepare and you are so happy that you finally used this tool. But now that you have, and see how amazing it is, you decide to use it all the time-not wanting to wait for a special occasion to take it out- but maybe deciding to leave it out and use it everyday! Why did you wait so long?
That may be a weak analogy, but that is exactly how I feel. I have every opportunity available to me as a Christ follower. I attend church, where great teaching is available. I own various bibles, along with software on how to study the word. I have walked with God for a long time, enjoying His presence. So it's all there for me to access, but why do I choose to have fear, to worry, or not forgive? I can access amazing "tools" God has supplied for me-most importantly His constant presence!
I find that I grow-not even realizing it until a difficulty arises and my reaction is different than before. I notice it and am amazed-God is changing me, this Christianity works! I am getting better! This is my very simple way of explaining the word sanctification. It is good news that God saves us from hell, but it doesn't end with that, He changes us! I want to put myself in tough circumstances, so I can continue to experience His sanctification, and learn to practice staying in His presence as I walk through difficult times.