“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him.”
I Thessalonians 4:3-6 (NIV)
The word sanctified is a ten-dollar word that means set apart, or set aside—in this case, for God. When we set something aside, we’re earmarking it for some special purpose. We might set aside leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or seeds from the garden for planting next year. We have good dishes we set aside for special occasions and money we set aside in savings for vacations or college tuition. Regardless of what it is, it’s set aside intentionally, guarded, designated for something specific.
So it is with us when we choose to follow Jesus. God sanctifies us, sets us apart for Him. Us. Broken messes, redeemed by Jesus’ death, cleansed of our sins, and now earmarked as His. We’re to live life a new way, the way Jesus did—telling others the good news that God forgives sins, serving others, praying for others, spending time with others, living a life worthy of the name we have chosen to follow. It means avoiding those things from our past—particularly sexual immorality—that would drag us back into brokenness and negate anything we try to tell others about God. In his first letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul explains why:
All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
I Corinthians 6:18-20
When we accept God’s offer of forgiveness through Jesus, He adopts us into His family. We take on His name, and His Spirit takes up residence in our hearts, breathing new life into us. Anything short of living a sanctified life would be dishonoring to Him. Are you living life fully aware of the Holy Spirit within you?
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my hidden thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead in the everlasting way.