Secrets of Sanctification

Dear Saints,

Mindful of the recent sermon, “Be Prepared”, Jennifer and I have been reading through a book we’ve been meaning to for some time, written by a lady we are acquainted with in the RPCNA.  Dr. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith (a best seller here), is a tremendously thought-invoking and life-inspiring read.  She provides lots of vulnerable insights for personal reflection and sanctification.  Here are a few nuggets we’ve been meditating on that I’d like to share with you:

  • “A life outside of Christ is both hard and frightening; a life in Christ has hard edges and dark valleys, but it is purposeful even when painful.”
  • “I learned the first rule of repentance: that repentance requires greater intimacy with God than with our sin.”
  • “I’ve discovered that the Lord doesn’t change my feelings until I obey him.”
  • “Faith that endures is heroic, not sentimental.”
  • “How did the Lord heal me?  The way that he always heals: the word of God got to be bigger inside me than I.”
  • “I learned that sin roots not in outward behaviors, but in patterns of thinking.”
  • “By wallowing in pity, I was holding myself back from going boldly to the throne of grace.”
  • “As Pastor Ken once said to me, ‘You can’t steer a parked car. If you want to turn your life around, you’ve got to get moving!'”
  • ” … Elder and friend Bob Rice said, ‘Rosaria, never doubt in the darkness what God has promised in the light.'”

Dr. Butterfield’s story is a remarkable one. She had to give up everything, and as a prominent public figure, her prominent “coming out” speech was amazing.  So too was what she went through as a disciple of Christ in things that followed to test her faith and refine her as a Christian.  The above quotes she shared were ones she learned along her journey of growth in grace and holiness.

One comment Dr. Butterfield made particularly stood out to me: “Whatever God’s providence for me it was his to lay out and mine to obey. No longer did I have to invent myself.”  It makes me think of the Psalm we’ll worship the Lord together with tomorrow morning in light of the sermon title, “God never lets you go”:

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:1-10)

Praise God for His gracious hand that guides us in life closer and closer to Himself, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! He gives us our only real and meaningful identity in Christ and His Church.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor grant