Sanctification and Spontaneity

I’m currently taking “Theology of Holiness” as I complete my Masters program at Indiana Wesleyan.  As a non-Wesleyan, the book Five Views of Sanctification has proven to be helpful.  At this point, I find myself more closely aligned with the Lutheran view.  At the end of his chapter, Gerhard Forde has an insightful list on what sanctification might look like: spontaneity, taking care, vocation, and truthfulness and lucidity.  I’m simply going to mention one, spontaneity, in the light of what I read in Romans 15 this morning.

“Spontaneity- What is a truly good work, one that might qualify as the fruit of sanctification?  One, I think, that is free, uncalculating, genuine, spontaneous.  It would be like a mother who runs to pick up her child when it is hurt.  There is no calculation, no wondering about progress, morality or virtue.  There is just the doing of it, and then it is completely forgotten.  The right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing.  Good works in God’s eyes are quite likely to be all of those things we have forgotten! True sanctification is God’s secret” (30).

Romans 15:1-6:  Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”  That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!

Some questions (based on Emilie Griffin’s book, Wilderness Time) worth asking as you evaluate:

  • Has your service to others become another form of overwork?
  • Or is it truly integrated into your life in a comfortable and valuable way?
  • Have you been selfish in the use of your time?
  • Should you be giving more of yourself to others that you currently do?

For response:

  • Why is it so hard to serve others?
  • Is there such a thing as “balance”?
  • Did Jesus seek balance, or was He always “on”?
  • How might we prevent burnout?

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