The mere title of this writing may confuse some readers. There are members of the Body of Christ who believe that the word “sanctified” only applies to a particular denomination or church. And please understand, first, that when I make that statement it is in no way targeted to any specific group of people.
Others feel that “holiness” is the name of a church. But if I belong to a ”holiness” church, does that make me holy? If I attend a church with either the term “holiness” or “sanctified” as part of its name, does that mean I live a holy lifestyle? Does that make me “sanctified”? I say no to both of those questions. Reason being, living holy is a daily pursuit. Our holiness begins with God. In Leviticus 21:8b we see “ . . .for I the Lord, who sanctifies you, am holy.”
It is not at all about us and our holiness. We can never be holy in and of ourselves. To live a sanctified life means to live our lives in a way that pleases God. It means that we have been set apart for His service. This does not mean, however, that we are perfect; the scriptures are very clear in that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Nor does it mean that we conform to some stiff manner of dress, or even that we practice certain prohibitions like women not wearing makeup.
But how does all of this relate to the worship of God? The sanctified worshiper is a surrendered worshiper. Sanctification occurs upon our acceptance of Christ into our lives. God has called us all to sanctification in Christ Jesus, independent of our respective denomination or church affiliation. Hebrews 13:12 tells us we are sanctified through Jesus’ blood. Jesus prayed in John 17:17 that we might be sanctified in the truth, which is God’s word.
Those who worship God in spirit and in truth as the scripture tells us (John 4:23-24) have given God complete control of their lives. Whenever we don’t allow God to exercise His Lordship over our lives, we miss out on the power He will give to our plans, and to our area(s) of ministry. Surrender is a key element to our worship and our praise, whether public or private. God can fill a surrendered heart.
To surrender means to “give up control”, or “submit”. One of my favorite types of movies is classic westerns. When the law catches up to the bad guys and orders them to put down their guns, the bad guys’ hands go up over their hands. This is their act of total surrender. Their crime spree is over; they’ve been exposed. They can no longer live the life they had become so accustomed to.
Surrender is what stops many people from worshiping – they are afraid that if they “come out” before God with raised hands and open hearts that perhaps God will reveal some things about themselves that they are not prepared for. But a surrendered, sanctified worshiper is not afraid of what God will expose, or what He will commission them to do.
God takes sanctification very seriously. He had sanctified Jeremiah a prophet to the nations before he was born (Jeremiah 1:5). Although apprehensive at first, Jeremiah chose to, and continued to walk in God’s calling on his life. Conversely, on God’s instruction, Moses had consecrated Aaron and his sons, Nadab and Abihu as priests. When these two sons dared offer strange fire before the Lord after He specifically warned them against doing so, God killed them right there (Leviticus 10:1-3). There was no question, no repentance, no praying. God just took them out!
You see, the sanctified worshiper not only shows up at church on Sunday morning, but comes prepared to meet God. For them, it’s all about ministering unto the Lord in the midst of the congregation. For the sanctified worshiper it isn’t about getting their own needs met, but it is about becoming spiritually naked before the Lord because this kind of worshiper understands that it’s not about status, or position, or personal economics – it’s all about Jesus!!
The sanctified worshiper is a spiritually sleepless worshiper. Those who are spiritually sleepless are always watching for God’s movement in The Body, and in their individual lives. They are also watching for enemy activity. In Biblical history we see numerous instances where cities were surrounded by very high, and very sturdy walls. There were usually “watchmen” stationed atop those walls.
The job of the watchmen was to stand guard and warn of an approaching enemy. The prophets of Israel saw themselves as watchmen to warn the people of God’s judgment if they did not repent. There is an interesting reference found in Proverbs 8:34, which states: “Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts.” The apostle Peter admonishes us to be on the alert because our adversary, the devil, is seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8). Jesus Himself told us to be watchful in expectation of His coming (Matthew 24:42).
When we worship God on a regular basis – not only on Sunday morning – our spirits are sensitized to what God is doing. We worship Him not through our flesh, but through our spirit; spirit to Spirit, if you will. Our habitual worship of God, especially at the private level, keeps us on the alert because we are always tuned in to Him and “watching” with an expectancy, for God’s movement and direction. When we walk that closely to Him, we move when He moves; and turn when He turns.
God has called us all to sanctification and to worship; both of which extend beyond church attendance on Sunday morning. With each new day comes a new reason to worship Him.
Donna Renay Patrick serves on the music staff at the
Christian Chapel Temple of Faith C.M.E. Church in Dallas, Texas
under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Jerome E. McNeil, Jr. Visit
her website at www.wordshopministries.com.
Copyright ©2005 by Word Shop Ministries.
Used by permission, BlackandChristian.com. All Rights Reserved.