For believers, the process of becoming more like Christ and mortifying the sins that indwell us can often feel like two steps forward and one step back. Or, sometimes two steps forward and three steps back. We can do all the things we are told to do as newborn Christians and can become discouraged, wondering if it is even making any difference? We pray. We attend church. We attend weekly Bible studies. We read the Bible. We memorize scripture. But at the end of the week, or sometimes just by the end of the day, we can feel like miserable failures. Does any of it even matter? Is any of it making any difference at all? Well imagine coming across an Olympic size swimming pool which holds 660,430 gallons of water. Then imagine that water was filthy dirty brown because it had been unkept for a very long time. Now imagine taking an ordinary garden hose, turning it on, and then placing it in one end of the pool. Eventually, slowly, gradually, the level of the pool would begin to rise. And if the hose was left running long enough, the pool would begin to overflow. Over time, as more and more clean water was put into the pool, more and more of the dirty water would overflow and be displaced by the clean water. When you’re talking about 660,430 gallons of dirty water, this process could take a very, very long time. If the average household garden hose puts out about 10 gallons of water every minute, the hose would have to run for 50 days straight just to put in 660,430 gallons of water. But it would likely take a lot longer to put in enough water to fully displace all the dirty water until there was only clean water in the pool. But eventually, this would happen…eventually. The point is this. In John 17, during Jesus’ prayer in the garden before his arrest, one of the things he prays for all believers is that God the Father would “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (v.17, emphasis added). In the end, the process of sanctification (the process of being transformed in the image and character of Christ by the Holy Spirit) comes by means of God’s word. The more we take in God’s word through reading, meditating, memorizing, studying, and sitting under good expository teaching and preaching of it, the more God’s word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will displace the sin that indwells us. This may be a very slow process that is hardly noticeable. But God’s word never returns void, and Jesus’ prayers are always answered, so immerse yourself into God’s word and let the cleansing begin.
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