July 24, 2019
Being Sanctified and Spiritually Worthy
I recently ran across this quote by noted theologian A.W. Tozer: "The popular notion that the first obligation of the church is to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth is false. Her first obligation is to be spiritually worthy to spread it." I spent a lot of time contemplating those wise words and trying to listen to God about how they applied to me. I would imagine that each of you reading this have the same thoughts yourself. While I want to share where the Lord took me, I understand that what He is doing in each of our lives may look different, but I believe His ultimate objective is the same -- that we submit to what we are called to, allowing our Father to sanctify us before we "get up and go" to fulfill our purpose.
So, I find myself asking, "Am I spiritually worthy to carry out my assignment?" Along with that question, comes the awareness that my sanctification -- my being set apart for this purpose/assignment -- is an ongoing process. What it looked like at the beginning, is not what it looks like now; nor do I expect that it will look the same at the end of my life. Sanctification is a personal and continuous experience.
In fact, I am so blessed that my husband and I received our sanctification as a team. Mark clearly heard from the Lord one night in his sleep, and the exact same message was confirmed, word for word, the next night. He was told that he was to sanctify us and our property unto the Lord, with exactly how to do it with oil [that was prayed over and blessed to be made holy for the Lord's will]. No word as to what exactly we were to be sanctified for, but we just stepped out in obedience and waited; choosing to dive into the Bible until God's plan for us was revealed.
Somehow, instinctively, we knew that God was the Source of whatever we were being called to, and to step out without Him or clear direction from Him, would be doing something in our own power. I will tell you that this period of time in which we were being sanctified was among the most rewarding [and exhilarating] of my life. I witnessed our spirits come alive as God worked in us to release the chains of bondage that had held us back from seeking why we are here on this earth. We were fed and nourished by the Lord as we hungered for more knowledge and revelation of His Word. We were being cleansed and purged of wrong thoughts, wrong living, and wrong theology. We were "being made ready". And as our assignment(s) grow and change, God will continue to make us ready.
That brings me back to A.W. Tozer's statement. Is it really not our purpose -- mine and yours, and the corporate Body of Christ -- to spread/share the gospel "to the uttermost parts of the earth?" After all, doesn't Matthew 24:14 say, And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come? As I read this sentence over and over, I began to change my perspective. Was this meant to be read as a command ... or as a prophecy? Of course, I immediately recalled the clear command of Jesus to the twelve disciples in Acts 1:8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” We know this is directed at the Disciples, what their assignment is, and how it will come about. The same is not true of Matthew 24:14. We only know that it will be done. Only God knows how He will arrange for this prophecy to be fulfilled.
So that perspective made me focus more on my obligation to the Father. If we know that we have been called out of the world to serve Him, it is not as important to know where He is going to take us, as it is to allow Him to take the time to sanctify us and make us ready. We don't know when the prophecy of Matthew 24:14 will take place, or when the end will come. While I still believe we are to proclaim the gospel ... for as Paul says in Romans 10:14, And how shall they hear without one who proclaims Him? ... it is important to submit to God so that we are "spiritually worthy" to carry out the work He has planned for us, while still proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.
I think part of that process of being sanctified, made ready, and becoming spiritually worthy, is the process of maturing. If we are not willing to let God take His appointed time to grow us and equip us, then we may step out too early, causing harm to ourselves, others, and ultimately, to God's plan. Submission to God is the first step. We must prepare and be prepared spiritually before we can physically go. I personally am concerned when I see someone step out ahead of God in their calling. My husband is so good at reminding me [in my calling] to always look where Jehovah Nissi is [the Lord is my banner]. He goes before us when He calls us, and if I see that I've marched ahead of Him, I instantly know I am on unstable ground. Jesus knew He could do nothing on His own, so He was always under the direction of His Father [doing only what He had heard the Father instruct Him, or seeing what the Father showed Him].
We should rejoice in knowing that when the time comes, Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled, just as God ordains it. We shouldn't worry about making that our end goal. Instead we should rejoice that He has chosen us, is sanctifying us, and preparing us spiritually for specific good works and assignments, "which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). We must allow Him to set us apart, to prepare us spiritually, and to mature us in our walk. It is then that we are the most effective for the Lord, and we can produce the most fruit for the Kingdom.
1 Thessalonians 2:12 We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.