“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 HCSB
As a part of training, I often have athletes look back on their training logs or their results from years prior. Often we miss and get caught up in more recent failures or a recent plateau and forget how far we’ve come. Looking back over the history of your training from when you started can be an encouragement and an assurance of growth and development.
The same could be said of our lives with Christ. If we only look at the recent past, we can look at our lives and see no growth or progress. I think many believers look at their Christian lives as if it is a timeline in which they’re moving from A to B. That progress is not ours to determine or create. That progress towards Christ is driven and controlled by the Lord. Philippians 2:13 reminds us that it is God who is working in us for our good and His good pleasure. The process of becoming more holy, the process of sanctification, is in His hands and according to His good timing. Our growth in Christ is not to be looked at like a timeline but more like a compass. A compass where our goal is to always be pointing towards the Lord and each and every day our goal is to be arranging ourselves to point more towards Him and less to the right or to the left of Him.
With that in mind, Romans 12 reminds us God’s desire for us to be transfomed by the Spirit and not conformed to the world. In the same way athletes can look back over the history of their training and see progress, a Christian should be able to look back over the history of their life in Christ and see progress. Sanctification is the evidence of our reconciliation to God. When our lives are transformed by the Gospel and we surrender ourselves to the Lord for His glory, sanctification is a direct result.
Just as many athletes can look back over the course of their training and see progress and be encouraged by it, they can also look back over the history of their training and if they do not see progress, it is evidence that they are not really training. Anyone who is in the gym working out to some degree will see progress (hopefully they’re smart enough to follow a proven plan). Believers can do the same. We should be able to look back over the history of our lives with Christ and see a progressive walk to be more like Him. If progressive sanctification is not evident, then that stands as evidence against your actual reconciliation by the Gospel. Far too many people call themselves believers, but yet their lives show no evidence of reconciliation. That would be no different than someone saying they’re training hard and seeing no progress or growth. In the same way that progress in sport is evidence of training so also is sanctification evidence of the Gospel’s work in believers.
Arrange yourself toward the Lord. The growth will come as a result.