Sanctification Is Not About the Battle, but the War

The Monday feature of the Worldly Saints blog focuses on a story from the sports world – current or historic. The point is to recognize athletes who are using their sports and athletic abilities to further the kingdom of God or to show how some athletes are wasting their days by not giving God the glory.


Last night, I was watching the 3rd game of the weekend series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and my beloved San Francisco Giants. Any casual baseball fan knows this is not just a rivalry – but a heated rivalry. We entered last night having lost the previous two games against the Dodgers and a chance to avoid a sweep (losing all games to the opposing team).

The result: a Dodgers 4-3 victory over my Giants. The sweep was completed; Giants fans were disappointed.

Does it matter in the big picture of a 162-game season? Not that much. We are still in line to get one of the Wild Card spots and still have a good chance to overtake the Dodgers and win the division and perhaps the pennant. Plus, we have six games left against them.

Here is a brief lesson: losing a fight does not mean losing the war.

This is the way sanctification works. The process of becoming holy is a messy, imperfect work. Whenever you take a sinful human being and seek to transform him into the likeness of Christ, it going to take patience. And there will be times that the end goal can be lost because a temporary fight has been lost.

But we need to keep this in mind: sanctification is all about progress. It can mean we take two steps back following three steps forward, but even then there is progress.

In the Epistle of I John, when John uses the word “practice”, he speaks to the issue of pattern. And a pattern does not refer to something that always happens a certain way; it refers to something that happens more often than not.

For example, if I say we are going to have a church service on Sunday, I would never ask you to take that to mean that there will never be a Sunday when we don’t. There will be times when too much snow or other dangerous weather may prohibit us from meeting on that day. However, more often than not, we will have a church service on Sunday. That is a pattern.

Also John uses tenses called the present tense, which indicates something ongoing … a pattern.

Look at your life over the last five years. Has there been progress? Is there measurable growth?

Don’t measure your life by the number of defeats but the number of victories. Keep in mind there will be battles lost along the way, but the war has already been won (Phil 1:6).


P.S. Go Giants!





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