21st Century Reformation has a beautiful article on Sanctification, what it is and what it isn’t. Go read the article, reflect on it, then come back. Or stay there, that’s ok. 😛
Just before Part 1, the author writes about the problems with a “therapeutic approach” to Christianity, that somehow one’s expression of love is a reflection of how you are loved. In other words, you treat others better because others treat you better first.
I think that’s something that’s difficult to grasp, yet is key to Christianity. God speaks through the Bible and calls us to do many things, yet we often have an excuse why we can’t or won’t follow his Word. For instance, Ephesians 5:33 says,
However, each one of you [husbands] also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Do you notice which word is missing? The missing word is “if.” It does not say, “Husbands should love their wives if their wives respect them,” or “wives should respect their husbands if their husbands love them.” No, as part of the sanctification process we come to realize that God wants us to be a godly spouse no matter what.
The author goes on to note that most of our frustration with other people is less dependent on them, but is a direct result of our own self-centeredness. I don’t like that person because they said XYZ about me type of thing. Once we focus on how best to exemplify God’s love instead of demanding God’s love from others, the further along the sanctification process we are.
What is your source of dissatisfaction with this life? When you reflect on this article, can you identify some sort of self-centeredness that is causing this dissatisfaction?