"Has there been a point in your life which you now mark as your last day?" Chambers asks in his January 15th devotional. It's the death of the old life - the past - whatever that may include, but it is what's necessary in order for new life in Christ and sanctification to take place.
The process of sanctification is to be holy, set apart, to purify, to be free from sin.
You might be like me and share in the story of the prodigal son. How many of us have gone our own way? Squandered what we had, throwing away blessings and promises for a future, only to end up dirty, ragged, wretched, alone and poor. You become so unrecognizable by the filth you've dragged yourself through you wouldn't even know your own reflection if it was staring back at you. Even then, you'd probably only want to run and hide.
What Luke 15:20 tells us is the father saw his son and was filled with compassion. Even beyond recognition from the outward AND inward disgrace he had brought upon himself, his father ran to him. He could have scolded, chided, even run the other way. But instead he offered his loving and forgiving embrace.
In this moment, the father's compassion combined with the brokenness of the son allowed the healing process to begin. Did it bring the inheritance back? No. Did it take away the pain and rejection? No. Did it remove the shame and mistakes? No. Did it immediately restore the relationship? No.
This is the day Oswald talks about - the place you go back to in memory with humility and gratitude where you made an agreement with God. The point at which you put to death the old life and began a new life. Yes, there is in fact "a day" - but don't think for a second that it's an overnight, wake-up-in-the-morning and be brand new kind of decision. You must come to the place of decision but then you must go through the sanctification process. And yes, it is a process.
I don't know if you've experienced that death. I don't know if you've built an altar. I don't know if you've made an agreement with God - or what that agreement might be. But if you are walking this journey, just know you're not alone.
"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:2-3
No matter how deep of a pit you're in, no matter how stuck in the mud you are, He can and will give you a firm place to stand and restore you to a place of praise. If you allow yourself to walk through this process of grieving the death of your dream or your old self, and move toward healing, restoration and sanctification, He will also use this as a testimony of grace at work so that others may also know and understand this kind of healing.
I get it. You're not there yet. Frankly, neither am I. Not yet, at least. So how do we do this? One baby step at a time. One minute at a time. One victory at a time. One ounce of grace and strength at a time. Forgetting what lies behind, straining toward what is ahead, pressing forward one painful movement at a time. Right now the future seems dim. But eventually the past will become so distant, the only thing that will remain is the memory and the altar...the day you made your agreement with God.
(Today this song has spoken straight to my soul. Let Him breathe new life into you. May He sing a song of peace over you.)
My Beloved - Kari Jobe