Sanctification starts not with rules but with the forsaking of pride.
Purity begins with our determined refusal to hide from the condition of our hearts. Out of self-discovery, honestly done, humility may grow, and in humility, meekness; a quiet, unswerving, gentle strength.
Because once you honestly know yourself, and recognize the coexistence of self-acceptance and grief over your own sin, you have a model for graciously treating the sinners that continually surround us.
I’ve run across people who object to “self-discovery” as a waste of time.
They are the type that may dismissively refer to inner work as “navel gazing,” and self-absorption. Something “good Christians” (in particular) know better than to waste time on.
In contrast, I think of pursuing self-discovery as understanding all the inner whys. Perhaps because I’m a novelist and I’m always looking at motivation, I feel as though understanding the root will give me more tools.
Who we are now is a summation of everything that has come before.
A lot of good Christian folks I know (including me) stumble and stutter with the concept of Testimony. Testimony being that thing that describes the difference Christ has made in one’s life; testimony being the glowing After that one now lives in, in contrast to the dark Before.
Our recent attendance at Fairbanks Recovery Church has provided lots of examples of these, but the blessed openness of these testifiers also provides insight to those without the dramatic before.
We need a better set of words. There is a dangerously binary slant the the pair, Before & After.
The best I have to offer is Before & Now.
What these brave testifiers testify to is that they are not After. The struggle is ongoing; that they must continue to “die daily,” to surrender to light and truth for strength in their lives.
They know how bad “the dark side” is, having lived it, but they still feel it’s pull.
“The cravings never go away,” one man said Sunday. “What’s up with that?!”
And I start to get a corner of other types of testimony.