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Obsessive Sanctification Disorder

January 24, 2007

Here’s a great quote from Steve Brown:

“The greatest cause for our not getting better is our obsession with not getting better.  There is a better way of getting better than trying harder.  Sanctification becomes a reality in those believers who don’t obsess over their own sanctification.  Holiness hardly ever becomes a reality until we care more about Jesus than about holiness.”

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2007 11:09 am

    Are you sure this is the best way of putting it? I feel like we should emphasize both Jesus and holiness, and to make sure people understand holiness in light of Jesus. Might disparaging holiness to emphasize Jesus be an overly generalized dichotomy?

  2. January 24, 2007 11:09 am

    Well, not really “disparaging”… more like “de-emphasizing.”

  3. January 24, 2007 11:30 am

    How do you suggest thirsting after righteousness (Matt. 5:6) in a way that is not self-sanctification focused? Steve Brown hints at this by saying we need to care more about Jesus, but could you put this on the bottom shelf for me?

  4. blondie permalink
    January 24, 2007 12:04 pm

    I love this quote! What I have been dealing with of late is this voice inside that says, “you’re messing up, you’re messing up, you should be kinder, you should be loving. Jesus saved you so that you can”. But, it doesn’t match what I feel. I don’t want to be holy because it is tiring. If I focus on Jesus, just Jesus, worshipping him, spending time in the word, singing songs of him, etc. . then my focus changes. Trying to be holy and doing all things right changes to spending more time with the precious savior who has done it all right and asks me to draw near to him, to give my burdens to him, to find my rest in him. When I have done that, I am more kind and more loving because my focus is on him and not on trying to be like him.

    I guess what I am saying is that this quote matches my experience.

  5. egana permalink
    January 24, 2007 3:54 pm

    counter-intuitive isn’t it?

  6. January 24, 2007 5:30 pm

    True holiness flows out of union and communion with Jesus. Becoming like Christ comes from beholding the glory of Christ. We must always be careful that we don’t lose sight of Jesus and fall into Colossians 2 “will-worship”– ascetic self-denial that has the appearance of wisdom but lacks any value in actually restraining the flesh because mere moral self-improvement is just flesh.

    I fear that there are lots of people who don’t really love Jesus, they just want to be perfect. And if Jesus can help them fulfill their self-centered dreams of moral superiority, then they’ll seek Jesus. But they really love self-improvement, not Jesus.

    Here’s a sermon titled “The Flesh Can’t Kill the Flesh”

    [audio src="http://www.communityefc.org/mp3/sermons/1997/CEFC_1997110200_16kbps_mono.mp3" /]

  7. January 24, 2007 10:25 pm

    MarkFrench – I have been reading Lloyd-Jones “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount” which is excellent and I really recommend it. There are two chapters about the verse you mentioned, and it is all so good that I can’t summarize it very well (and I doubt Isaiah543 would like it if I typed out the whole thing.) Anyway, I would at least like to reiterate his point that hungering and thirsting after righteousness isn’t the same as desiring to be holy for holiness’ sake, which unfortunate problem is what Brown seems to be getting at. Truly hungering and thirsting for righteousness is deeply desiring and longing to be right with God. We know that we can’t make ourselves right with God, so we realize how much we need a Savior – we become aware of our deep need and are hungry to have that need satisfied. And it has already been satisfied in the marvelous person of Jesus – those who believe are justified. And sanctification, as far as I understand it, is growing into a better and better understanding of how perfectly our needs have already been filled. “The Christian is one who at one and the same time is hungering and thirsting, and yet he is filled. And the more he is filled the more he hungers and thirsts.” So really we are hungry and thirsty to be like God and be with God and rejoice that we are right with Him. (He goes on and on – I think you would like it!)

    As I have personally experienced, though, is is way too easy to get absorbed with moving widgets around in my own soul and forget about what has really happened. To the end of avoiding that pitfall, I find Gal 2.20 to be enormously mind-bogglingly great “I am crucified with Christ, yet I live; yet not I, but Christ (!!!) lives in me (!!!), and the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Mysterium tremendum.

  8. January 25, 2007 1:07 pm

    Booyah Ellie.

    Thank you for how you shared this Gospel truth.

    Perhaps this is encapsulated in Jesus words, “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”(Matt. 16:25)

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