Sanctification: Spiritually, Emotionally and Psychologically Painful

18 Dec
Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

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There is a great post by Tim Chambers over at His words seem to describe  what Paul the  Apostle wrote  about the believers conflicted groaning associated with the internal sanctification process.

As I continue in this  journey, my greatest disappointment is  with myself more than others. The sin-fluence upon  my attitude, reactions, and words so pain the heart  with heaviness and   disappointment,  that I  often feel utterly embarrassed to approach the very throne of  grace in order to obtain mercy and find the grace I need to help in  my sin based weakness. 

 I agree  that “struggling meaningfully forward” toward Chrislikeness is an emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually painful process.


 ” I wanted to make the case that the primary way Christians will experience suffering is as the inevitable and direct result of their desire to be holy. This suffering will be primarily internal, which often means “worse than physical.” It will be spiritual, emotional and psychological pain over the difference between the character of Jesus and our own. It will be the pain of sacrificial love. It will be the pain of daily acting against some strong desire. It will be the difficultly of turning my back on privilege and power like Jesus did in his incarnation. It will involve carrying my cross to the place of my death at the exact moment that I feel the least able to do so. It will involve self-denial that fasting may assist but can never fulfill. It will be profound grief at my residual pride and insecurity. The greater my desire to be like Jesus in every way, the more of this pain I will experience.”

1 Comment

Posted by on December 18, 2010 in character, sanctification


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One response to “Sanctification: Spiritually, Emotionally and Psychologically Painful

  1. Firechild

    January 17, 2011 at 3:11 am

    This is honest and encouraging to me. It seems that the majority of Christians today are not of this mindset. The suffering we will experience as true followers of Christ is not often preached about in any detail in our churches, maybe because it would turn many away…but I think instead of drawing people to Christ, by failing to talk about the realities of the Christian life, we are producing great numbers of converts who will be more likely to abandon the faith when it gets tough. Are we really doing any good by making Chrsitainity “seeker sensitive”?

    I was one of those “in and out” Christians most of my life because I didn’t understand the suffering aspect of being conformed to His image. Whenever I tried to talk about the pain I was going through, I was either avoided, given tips on how to use spiritual disciplines to make myself feel better, or told to “rejoice always”. The result was that I felt like I must be doing Christianity wrong if I was feeling pain. It took God a long time to get me around to the fact that feeling pain is not evil or to be despised or avoided but is to be accepted and even embraced as a normal part of growth as a believer…but once He did, I began to understand that “rejoice always” is one of the most costly scriptures in the Bible but also one of the most supernatural. This is when my faith became real to me and not some kind of fantasy world that only happened on Sunday morning. It is learning to have abiding joy and trusting God in the midst of our suffering that produces strength in our spirit and draws us close to the Father. This makes the supernatural source of our hope evident to the lost world that cannot comprehend how we can maintain peace in adversity. This is the power of the Gospel.

    Could it be that that by attempting to take the suffering out of Christianity to make it more palatable to the world we are taking the power out of the gospel? The early disciples did not take any pains to minimize, hide, or marginalize the suffering that converts would face. They made it clear and told people to count the cost first. I find it amazing that there are no recorded prayers in those times complaining of a lack of God’s power. Yet today, we plead to God for revival and power in our churches while the world watches with something close to pity at our sad attempts to live out a watered down gospel with plastic Sunday morning smiles that they see right through. I am convinced that we are not doing much good pretending nor are we even good at it. What the world needs is someting real.


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