"And this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should be holy." I Thessalonians 4:3
There is so much preaching and writing these days about stepping into our destiny. It seems that all of us are "destined" for some kind of renown. This teaching has a wide range of listeners because it appeals directly to our flesh. We crave renown, recognition, applause. That's our idea of fulfilling our destiny. It's a very western, American mindset. It's a mindset found nowhere in His Word.
The word "sanctification" isn't getting a lot of play in the church these days. Small wonder as it is a work of the Spirit that will always result in the death of our flesh. One of the symbols of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, is fire. Fire burns. It burns away, and it burns up. The Bible says that God is a Holy God, a consuming fire. He does have a destiny for us and that's it. He seeks to burn up all within us that is not Him so that all that remains is that which is Him. That is His destiny for everyone who comes to Him. To enter into that destiny there is only one road, and that is the road to and through Jesus Christ and His cross. That's where we truly begin to enter into our "destiny." In His destiny for us, there's no room or place for self. No room for our agendas. All of that is burned up and out. What remains is Christ. His heart, His mind, His life, His way. That kind of destiny excites our flesh not at all, but in it, we behold the glory of God. We enter into His glory.
Holiness is a very unpopular word in the church today. It's "critics," and they are many, say it is just another word for legalism. There can be no doubt that many well-meaning and not so well-meaning people have made it about that. Keeping rules, having lists of do's and don'ts, and obsessively keeping to them. That is not holiness. If it were, the Pharisee's would have been the holiest of all people, yet they were the ones who led in the rejection of Christ. True holiness is a lifestyle of embracing the beauty of Jesus Christ on ever deeper levels. It is a life lived out in the Holy Spirit power of God. It is a life of purity, of Christlikeness that is not worked at by us, but worked into us by Him. It is not a life of cumbersome duty, but one of joyful living, growing, and experiencing Him. That's His destiny for us. It is a life of greatness, but a greatness that may go unrecognized by the world as well as by the degree of worldliness in His Church. It is never unrecognized by Him.
The destiny we hear about today always seem to have as its end, the victory circles of this world. Applause, achievement, trophies and plaudits. God's destiny has a victory circle as well, but it looks nothing like that. His leads to a cross, a jail cell, a headsman's axe, a cave on a prison island. Yet in all those places, the glory of God was seen and was upon all those who found themselves in those places. And what they saw and experienced is still being seen and experienced today by any and all who will embrace the destiny He calls us to. The cross, the fire. The dying out to and burning away of all our dross and impurity. The bringing forth in us, of His character and life. That's His victory circle. Do we dare to step into it. Paul stepped into his victory circle saying that he bore upon his body, "the brand marks of Christ." If you want to know your destiny in Him, that's it. His "brand marks" are always accompanied by His fire. The self centered life is not attracted to that kind of destiny. The Christ life presses into it, for, as the Word says, "the joy set before Him." Which "destiny" do you press on to? That which feeds the flesh, or that which sustains His Spirit? Here's a truth; we all have a destiny. To which is yours leading you to?