The call to die is really a call to experience life the way we were meant to.
There is a gap of action and desire in Christian holiness today. The Christian is called to follow Jesus, become more like Him, and die to self. Most Christians know that God is calling them to live a life of holiness and submission to Christ, yet few actually act on these desires. This is what we call the “sanctification gap.”
Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35, ESV). The dichotomy of losing life to find it, denying self to find our true selves, and following Jesus to find our true purpose is at the crux of the Christian experience. It’s a beautiful opportunity to experience life and spirituality outside of ourselves and, as I say in the article: “The death of self and submission to Christ is not a sad end to an otherwise great life, it’s a huge gasp of air after living underwater.”
Sadly, many Christians see the Christian experience as the opposite of a breath of fresh air: a confining list of rules, regulations, and heaping levels of guilt and shame when failure comes. Churches have been complicit in this idea, either watering down the necessity of sanctification or creating incredible burdens that no one can bear. We need to understand the Gospel to help us come to solutions.
To help us think through this, Influence Magazine asked me to write an article that outlines some of the problems inherent in this gap and what to do about it.
In the article, I quote some helpful statistics to get our minds around the holiness gap:
39% indicate that they “confess . . . sins and wrongdoings …