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My first retail job was with Big K. Do you remember these “big box stores” of days gone by? I was in high school, but not old enough to have a work permit, so Mr. Deal hired me to work in the back room (the stockroom) during the Christmas holidays putting together all manner of merchandise for display. I guess he was keeping me out of sight, but I think he regretted having assigned me the next level of the assembly process.
While assembling bicycles, tricycles, basketball goals, and dollhouses for display is one thing, assembling these for paying customers is more demanding. Displays which will not be sold might not have all the “road ready” features, and the instructions might have been overlooked, especially the disclaimers which state if certain things are not completed, it might result in death.
While assembling a mountain bike for a customer to give as a present for Christmas, I did it as if it were going up for display. I left off a few bolts, gadgets and cosmetic items. As they rolled it out of the front doors, it fell apart. The tires went one way, the seat was in the new owners, the handlebars crashed to the sidewalk, and we found the gear box under a truck in the parking lot.
Mr. Deal said, “Do another one, and get your directions from the instruction book.”
Have you ever wished life came with instructions? We wonder how we are to do things: How am I supposed to deal with that situation at work? How do I parent children? What about marriage? What in the world does God expect from me?
We often think God’s plans are too lofty, too big, even too grand and noble for us…especially when we hear things like: “God’s will is our sanctification.”
What does that even mean?
In I Thessalonians 4:1-12 we learn that sanctification is simply the process by which we become more like Jesus. We do that by reading the Bible. Through the Word of God, we get to know Jesus better and to know His ways.
As we do that our eyes are opened to sin. We realize sin is keeping us from God’s best. Once we recognize those sins for what they really are, and what they are robbing from us, we seek to avoid them.
We are able to pray, “And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13 HCSB) Through reading the Bible and praying, seeking Godly wisdom, we become aware of situations that make us weak and vulnerable to sin, and we adjust our lives to steer clear of such influences and draw nearer to the Lord.
As we read the Bible and live more like Jesus, we learn His way to love others. We begin to see the immense needs of those around us. We start to seek ways to aid them through the instructions of God’s precious Word. Life becomes less about ourselves and more about loving those around us
We notice what a difficult job that really is, and we pray and ask God for help. Hopelessness around us, struggles and heartaches, problems in our world tend to drive us to pray – seeking God for the answers.
People around us notice the changes, and our relationships with others are impacted by God’s love coming through us. While others take note of the changes, you see that sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus. Those changes ripple out to impact all areas of our life, and following Jesus becomes more than what we do on Sunday.
“The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” – John 7:38 (HCSB)
Until next time…
Dr. Jeff Fuller is pastor of Rockford Baptist Church. You may reach him through the church office at 256-377-4900 or by email at email@example.com.