“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Paul’s letter to the Ephesians
I was involved in a pretty interesting discussion about sanctification last night. One man said that he had always believed that sanctification should be a steady upward growth. He expressed that he was in a place where he was looking back at certain places in his life and feeling like he was closer to God back then. But then, he also felt that he wouldn’t want to go back to those times either. One thing I wanted to say (but the discussion moved away from this before I got the chance) was that sanctification is measured more like weight loss. A person, and even those nearby, are ill equipped to notice any change because it is so gradual, and there are so many fluctuations. It is when you see someone who hasn’t seen you in a while that they remark, “Wow! You’ve really lost a lot of weight!” Or when you see a picture of yourself from a while back and think, “Wow! I was really fat!”
I really see sanctification like digging a swimming pool. Your yard will have its value increased by digging this pool. But in order for your yard to be improved, you have to dig out a lot of dirt that had previously been identified as “your yard.” Even with machines, this digging is a painful, messy process. Sometimes you hit rock that you have to break through. Sometimes you hit a septic line and a lot of horrible stuff you’d hoped to have flushed away will come flooding out. Very often, in the process of digging it out, a lot of dirt keeps falling back into the hole. It is only with patience and perseverance that you finally hollow out a space.
As you dig the hole, the rains come and begin to fill the hole. At first the water is pretty polluted by the dirt and trash that you are still digging out. But, as you keep digging, you are able to keep more and more trash out, and keep the water more and more pure. Eventually you start putting in concrete floor and walls. You line it with things to help hold in the good water. You begin to fill it with pure, fresh, clean water. If you leave it like it is, the water will spoil, dirt and bugs will climb in. You have to constantly filter the water, scoop out the trash, and re-fill it when the water seeps out or evaporates. And most of all, you have to swim in it and enjoy it…otherwise, what’s the purpose? How many of us are digging pools that we never enjoy?