When Discipline is Not An Option:

The Echo Life is about seeking wholeness through faith. As a blog especially written for Christians who are in the midst of daily struggle (and what Christian isn’t), we often focus on the process of sanctification, the process of working with God in the real removal of sin and brokenness in our lives. We take seriously the words of Paul to the church at Philippi when he states:

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12,13

 If there is a clearer statement about the process of sanctification in Scripture, I am not sure what it is. I know I have said it before, but, just in case this verse confuses you, let me give a few thoughts. In the modern church, we often truncate salvation to simply the first step, which is justification, the covering of our sins so that we are once again in good standing with God, but, as Christians are all too aware, justification does not do away with the being of sin. We often still suffer temptation and fall short. But salvation itself is about the defeat of sin, completely, and that process begins now.

 The Bible, of course, speaks of salvation in a much fuller sense, past (justification), present (sanctification), and future (glorification). Because we see so much brokenness in the body of Christ, sanctification has become our main focus here at The Echo Life, while we of course would affirm all three. We want to see victory for our lives today as a testimony to God. The passage in Philippians 2 speaks of salvation as a present phenomenon. We are able to grow in maturity, removing the deadness of sin more and more in our lives, each and every day (see my recent post, “Giving Yourself The Grace To Work”).

 With this grace-fueled possibility in mind, we at The Echo Life often speak of discipline as key to our success in sanctification. It takes intentionality to “work out your own salvation” with Jesus. But, something we sometimes neglect to say, and we would be remiss if we never said it, is that there are some things outside our own control. There are areas of brokenness that no amount of discipline can heal. It might be an illness, a broken relationship in which the other person is unwilling to move forward, an external disaster, the list goes on. Do we have hope to grow in grace in these times?

 We cannot forget the basis of faith. Jesus is Lord:

In Mark 4:35–5:43 the gospel writer records a series of miracles performed by Jesus, which display His Lordship over all creation. First, Jesus calms the storm: proving His power over the visible, physical realm. Second, Jesus heals the demoniac: proving His power over the invisible, spiritual realm. Third, Jesus heals the hemorrhaging woman: proving His power over illness(proving He can begin restoring us, even in this life). Finally, Jesus raises Jarius’ daughter from the dead, proving His power over sin and death, our greatest enemy and His. Jesus has control over all that is, and no brokenness is outside His control. He is a restorative God. What is that broken thing in your life that you have thought too far gone for Jesus to restore? “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Meditate on His power over and love for Creation and His creatures, and, by faith, give your brokenness to Him: “…for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17)

Lord of all creation, making all things new, have mercy on our brokenness…

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