I grew up with a lot of the typical religious words, and disliked many of them. My motto was “just say it like it is” instead of using some big, hard-to-understand word. I’m still like that. I like simplicity, I like easy to understand, and I probably always will.

But recently the word Sanctification kept popping up, and for the first time ever, I was intrigued by this big, religious word and actually wanted to find out its meaning.

Sanctification means the act or process of being made or becoming holy, or like it was explained to me, becoming more like Jesus. The latter is my preferred definition because it’s easy to understand, simple and to the point.

What does it mean to ‘become like Jesus’?

Obviously it has to do with a process, a changing over time, maybe even a maturity. For myself, taking a step back sometimes and remembering who I used to be or what I used to feel in certain situations can be really encouraging. The growth we experience as Christians can at times feel small and insignificant, but when we look at the big picture, say the past 10 years or more, we can see evidence of God working in our hearts and changing us.

Christine Caine says, “You know you’ve grown when you no longer feel the need to give your opinion about everything.”

Another quote from Christine is, “You know you’ve grown when you no longer know everything about everyone else.”

And probably one of my favorites from her is, “You know you’ve grown when you respond to the insecurities of others from a secure place in Christ.”

Growing more and more like Jesus is daily laying down myself and my desires. It’s giving up my will over and over again so that God can do what He wants in me and bring glory to Himself. It’s being honest about where I am at with my mind, will, and emotions and asking Jesus to fill in the gaps, give me strength and lead the way.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying,yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Even Jesus, who lived a perfect life, knew where to go to get His strength. The example of Him praying in the garden before the most difficult experience of His lifetime is a beautiful reminder that He felt weak at times, too.

I remember a number of years ago admiring someone who was older and thinking that she must surely never do anything wrong. She seemed so kind, so perfect, so completely mature. In conversation with her once, I alluded to the fact that she must have reached perfection. I’ll never forget what she said. “I need Jesus every minute of every day. Satan tries to trip me up every chance he gets. I am completely sinful on my own.”

Thinking back on her words, I’m wondering if it’s not even the actions so much that showed her sanctification, if you will, as it is her complete dependence on Jesus and realizing her need of Him.

And I’m no different. If I want to become more like Jesus, and really make a difference in my circle of influence, then I too, need to find my strength in the One who changes lives. Jesus will always be faithful to complete the work He began in our hearts.

Wanda Stutzman