As you are confronted with the truth of Scripture you will invariably see your spiritual shortcomings brought to light. Do not despair. This is a good thing. The exposure of spiritual failures by the Word of God is a blessing given to us by God for our sanctification and His glory. If you are able to consistently read Scripture without conviction of spiritual failure then you are not reading it correctly.
When we read the Law we are exposed to the utter depravity of our hearts, our hopeless position before God, and our desperate need for divine intervention. When we read the prophets our insincerity in worship is exposed and we encounter God’s displeasure for half-hearted offerings. As we read the wisdom literature we very quickly realize that we are not wise. Things are no better in the New Testament when we encounter the strong rebuke from the apostles toward churches and their misconception about Christian living. Every page of Scripture is screaming that we are incompetent but God is sufficient.
The exposure of our failures does not cease at the moment of salvation. Christ does not redeem us and make us instantly perfect. Rather, He continually molds us to His likeness through the process of sanctification (being made more holy) by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. The marvelous mystery of this is that Christ continually transforms us and molds us by His own power in spite of our weaknesses.
Are you arrogant? He will use your arrogance to teach you humility and confidence in Him. Are you rash? He will use your rashness to teach you to be bold in Him. Have you made serious mistakes? He will use those very mistakes to draw you closer to Him in complete dependence. Not sure if this is true? Look in the Gospels for a man named Peter. He was all of these things and more. The old cliché may be overused and a bit cheesy but it still rings true:
“God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
Many people approach the process of sanctification passively. They simply hope for the best. But if all you do is hope for the best you can all but assure the worst will happen. Good parents do not simply hope that their kids will turn out well. They actively pursue the qualities they want their children to have. Good business leaders do not simply hope that their company will succeed. They have a conscious plan to pursue their goals. We recognize this truth in every walk of life, yet we deny it with regard to our Christian faith. This cannot be.
It is at this point that our pragmatic, moralistic, man-centered church culture would demand a list of things that you can do to pull yourself up by your spiritual bootstraps and be more like Christ. There is no list. If you cannot save yourself, you cannot sanctify yourself either. Salvation is not by works and neither is sanctification. So how do we actively pursue sanctification? By actively and intentionally submitting to Christ through His Word and prayer. We are sanctified the same way we are justified, by Christ alone.
Do you desire to be more like Christ? Do not simply hope that it will happen one day. Turn to the One who saved you and plead that your eyes be opened more completely to the spiritual realities around you. He was sufficient to save. He is also sufficient to sanctify you.