"You had me at 'hello'." Do you remember that famous movie line from the movie "Jerry Maguire" starring Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger? Well, I feel the same way about the subtitle to the book "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas: "What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy?" Just that subtitle grabs your heart and gets you thinking!
sanctify - –verb (used with object), -fied, -fy⋅ing.
1. to make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate.
2. to purify or free from sin: Sanctify your hearts.
Our key verse from "Wash Me In The Water Of The Word" on 12/18/09 was Ephesians 5:25-27. I want to focus on a few phrases from that scripture: "make holy...cleansing...without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."
"When you are married, your spouse is your primary tool of sanctification used by God."I remember these words of one of our pastors so vividly as he instructed a marriage class we attend early in our marriage. My husband -- my primary tool of sanctification. That is both awesome and humbling at the same time.
Both spouses are a sanctification tool in the Lord's hand for their spouse. Gary Thomas puts it like this:
"Loving something and purifying it go hand in hand. A husband who truly loves his wife will want to see her grow in purity. A wife who truly loves her husband will want to see him grow in godliness. Both will put growth in godliness above affluence, public opinion or personal ease.
What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness, and anti-Christian attitudes, encouraging me to be sanctified and cleansed and grow in godliness.
Being so close to someone -- which marriage necessitates -- may be the greatest spiritual challenge in the world. My appetites and lusts and desires are all in full view of my wife. This presupposes, of course, that I'm willing to be confronted with my sin -- that I am willing to ask my wife, 'Where do you see unholiness in my life? I want to know about it. I want to change it.'"
This is a lot to digest and take before the Lord. Let's challenge ourselves with these questions today:
1. Do I see my spouse as a sanctification tool in God's hand? Sometimes that tool is gentle; sometimes it really brings conviction with digging, twisting and banging...but all with a beautiful purpose: godliness and holiness.
2. Do I want to see my spouse grow in purity and godliness?
3. Am I yielding my heart to the Lord and allowing Him to use my spouse as His tool?
4. Am I putting growth in godliness above affluence, public opinion or personal ease?5. Have I said to my spouse lately: "'Where do you see unholiness in my life? I want to know about it. I want to change it."
Ask your spouse to pray together regularly. Steep yourselves in God's Word because we are sanctified in His Truth (John 17:17). Pursue holiness and godliness together. "...pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." 1 Timothy 6:11
"Both the One who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family." Hebrews 2:11
"But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
1 Corinthians 6:11
"...yield your hearts to the Lord..." Joshua 24:23
To do a deeper study on your own about sanctification, click here: Blue Letter Bible - "Sanctification".
"Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12:14-15