“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts…” – 1 Peter 3:15
I recently signed up to do a project for work, but passed up the opportunity to become the project manager instead. I purposely did that because I did not want to take on the stress of managing other people on the team and worry about getting everything done in a timely manner. For a few days it was great, but when I realized tasks were not getting done, I wanted to jump in and take control. I had an urge to make a plan, send out emails, and remind people of their tasks. It was driving me crazy to not be in control! For those of you who don’t know me, I tend to have a “take charge” personality. Some may call it being bossy, but I tend to think that’s a little extreme. All jokes aside, I realize this is a character flaw, and I see it affect my spiritual life as well. How many times have you acted in a way that says, “If I were in charge, I could definitely handle things better than God?” I know I never said those words out loud, but my actions certainly made it seem that way.
The definition of “sanctify” is to be set apart or holy. It’s obvious there is nothing we can do to make God holy, because He is perfectly holy. What I feel Peter is saying in the verse above is that we are to regard God as the holy Lord of our lives, and trust in His wisdom over our lives. Now, Peter of all people knew how difficult it was to allow God to be Lord of his life, and yet in this passage, he challenges readers to sanctify God in their hearts. He challenges us to make Jesus ruler of our lives. To give Him all the honor and glory and to trust and obey Him in all that we do. The problem is that we may recognize Christ to be Lord of our life, but too many of us want to help Him in His role as King. There is only room for one ruler in our lives, not two!
In John 13, we see an interaction between Jesus and Peter. Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet, and when He approached Peter, the conversation between the two went like this:
Peter: Lord, You shall never wash my feet.
Jesus: What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.
Peter: You shall never wash my feet!
Peter, while he was calling Jesus “Lord,” was telling Jesus what to do. He recognized Him as Lord and King, yet He did not want Jesus to wash His feet. How many of us do this in our lives? We call Him Lord! We cry out to Him in our time of need! We pray that His will is done in our lives, yet in reality we still want control. I’ve often found myself thinking, “God if you just handle this one huge thing, I’ll take care of the rest,” or “God if you just let things go my way, I promise to obey you in this certain area of my life.” The problem with this: I still want some level of control. I want to trust God, but my lack of faith hinders me from submitting all that I am to Him and trusting Him with every decision of my life.
I pray that we, together as brothers and sisters in Christ, would be moved to give ourselves completely to God. Jesus Christ deserves to be King of our hearts, not just a mere guest. I know it can be difficult to sit back at times and allow God to have full control. This task seemed near impossible for Peter, but after time, he finally understood what it meant to sanctify God in his own heart. I want to close with the following quote that I pray will settle in your heart as you read it:
“You paid much too high a price for me;
Your tears, Your blood, the pain;
To have my soul just stirred at times,
Yet, never truly changed.
You deserve a fiery love that won’t ignore Your sacrifice
Because You paid much too high a price.”
He paid much too high a price for us to sit back and allow Him to be a guest in our lives. Christ is ready to be Lord of your life. The question is, are you?