In her song “Crucify” singer/songwriter Tori Amos asks some really difficult questions about a person’s emotional state of being. “Why do we crucify ourselves?” she asks. Really, though, why do we? Mainly because we are tormented – emotionally, spiritually, physically – by pain of some varying level. But do we have to be? Absolutely not!
We live in a world that is embroiled with pain and suffering but to be brutally honest, living in such a state is often a choice. Unless you are captured, imprisoned and being tortured, everyone has a choice. EVEN in such a horrific situation as being tortured if captive, it’s a choice to either do as you’re asked (such as give info or to do things) or remain steadfast in your silence or determination of integrity. It’s also a choice on whether or not you’ll allow your captor to break you.
In this world, people are broken and oftentimes do not even know it. They walk around “crucifying” themselves for past or present abuse, behavior patterns, heart-break and a plethora of other things. They choose not to allow healing in their lives and yes, everything within us can be healed if it’s allowed. How one goes about doing so, is yet another choice people make. The saying, “all wounds heal in time” is not actually a truth but people buy into it. Healing of your mind, body and spirit takes an effort and a release at once. It starts with forgiveness, and not just forgiving those who may have wronged you, but forgiving oneself as well. Why? Because we are participants in all of those things done against us, even if not a willing one. If we do not forgive ourselves for holding onto the pain, the patterns or the attitudes caused by circumstance, we’ll never move on. Therefore we must be active in forgiveness.
Sanctification, is the process of being made holy (and whole) through Christ Jesus. No matter what anyone else tells you, there is no other way it’s possible to be completely free from emotional pain, without accepting Christ as your Lord and savior. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but no amount of therapy, self-mutilation or of “time passed” will heal you outside of Christ…and yes, I can provide many testimonies from people who’ve “tried it all” and were never successful until they allowed Christ into their lives. Being sanctified in and through Christ, you are being purified and set-apart by God for his use and His glory.
Why would God want this for us, you may wonder? The answer is actually written in the Holy Bible in the book of Romans (8:29):
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Ephesians 1:4-5 discusses how we are predestined to return to God through accepting salvation in Christ: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”
Dr. Charles Stanley, Head Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and head of InTouch Ministries explained Romans 8:29 as God reforming us into the image of His son – spiritually – upon accepting salvation (through Christ Jesus) because he loves us, as not to leave us in the condition in which he found us…God has a higher purpose and that is to sanctify us into resembling Jesus.
You see, God does not just embrace us, he has a purpose for us beyond our knowledge and if we are not healed of our past wounds or misgivings, He knows we will not be able to handle that purpose. It is difficult to be “set apart” for his use if we are still wearing the person we once were or carrying around the burden’s of pain. It’s hard, if not impossible, to be purposed and productive if you are not in a good state: mind, body and spirit.
Firstly, in order to understand sanctification, one needs to understand that God did not create us to live in wrath but to live wholly through salvation (I Th 5:9). Sanctification is two-fold as stated in I Thessalonians 5:23 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Secondly, sanctification and being set apart is positional as explained above (being set-apart for His use) but it is also a process. To be sanctified we are literally cleansed from the inside out: our hearts healed, our minds purified and our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit in preparation for Christ.
This may be a little hard to digest or even believe but I assure you it is true and very possible; even the most hardened or hurting person, can be completely changed through Christ. It starts with opening your heart to Jesus, which in turn, opens you up to His unconditional love and promise of freedom from a list of things too long to list here (but will be mentioned in future segments). After the choice is made a person is then taken on a journey, but again, that too is a choice (and it involves a conscious effort). If you accept Christ but never pursue or get to know Him and all this promise means, you may never walk this path to freedom. And let me tell you, it’s an amazing and exciting journey to go on!
In the next segment, I’ll discuss the “roadmap” to spiritual cleansing…
If you missed “Staring Through Bars” Part 1 click here to read! May God bless you!