Lent As a Season for Sanctification

posted on February 16

Lent As a Season for Sanctification
Read Matthew 5:43-48
“Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
 – Matthew 5:48 (KJV)
Many of us shrink from the idea of perfection; others yearn for it and ardently seek it in their behavior, choices, and even their appearance. John Wesley often used Matthew 5:48 as a compelling argument for Christian perfection. Since Jesus called us to “be ye therefore perfect” in the Sermon on the Mount, he must have believed that it was possible to become perfect in this life. If he suggested it, we should strive for it.
What does perfection look like? In the Methodist tradition, it looks like perfect love for God and perfect love for neighbor. Wow, there’s a challenge. Lent seems like a good time to take a look at this ideal, and to make an inner examination of how much we love God (i.e. where God ranks in our order of priorities) and how much we love others (i.e. what our behavior indicates in this regard). The journey towards perfection in love is called sanctification. The word comes from the Latin word sanctus, meaning holy. God is truly holy. The rest of us are on a journey towards holiness. Wesley would have us to remember that this is a day by day journey, accomplished in both our private time and in our public witness.
Lent is a great time to think about your own holy living - your own love for God and love for neighbor. Oswald Chambers calls sanctification “an unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him.” (from My Utmost for His Highest) I find Lent to be a great season to rediscover holy living, to reacquaint myself with deeper spiritual practices, and perform acts of service that indicate a family likeness to Jesus Christ.
Don’t be intimidated by perfection; think of it as an opportunity to love God more deeply, and to love your neighbor more actively. God will grow your heart to size.
Let us pray: Loving God, bring to bear in my life a deeper awareness of your love for me. Do this so that I might love you more devotedly and my neighbor more more expressively. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings for the journey,
Bev Coppley
District Superintendent

Lent As a Season for Sanctification
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