Pursuing holiness through the process of sanctification means to grow in Christlikeness and to be found pleasing in His sight. Today, my appeal is simple: patiently pursue love. For the full ripening of fruit to come, it must be nurtured. This takes time, and Christ is patient toward us for He understands our weakness.
When I first joined the church, the vow I made included a promise before God to make diligent use of the means of grace. That’s important to note. We aren’t just to make use of the means of grace. We are to make diligent use of the means of grace. If you neglect the means of grace, your fruit will be sketchy at best. But if you want healthy, edible, tasty fruit, you must pay attention to the garden every day.
Those means of grace are prayer, Bible meditation, the sacraments, and fellowship. And I want to highlight that last one. You’ve got to have fellowship with other Christians if you want to have fruit. You cannot walk the Christian life in isolation.
You need the body of Christ. You need the discipline of the church. You need to serve the church. Serving God is a means of grace. Bearing witness helps us bear fruit. Being involved in the work of Christ produces fruit—not only fruit for the kingdom of God but also in your own soul. Don’t neglect the means of grace. Make diligent use of these things so that the fruit of Christ might be perfected in your life.
I end our week where Paul ends 1 Corinthians 13: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (verse 13). Paul reduces all of the virtues to three: faith, hope, and love. But then he gives a hierarchical value to them by saying that the greatest of all Christian virtues is love.
These three virtues are elevated to the level of supremacy for believers. A Christian is a person who has faith. A Christian is a person who has hope. But above all, we as Christians are people who have the love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts. If we want to grow in Christlikeness, if we want to have confidence that we are in Him, then we will diligently pursue love. There is nothing greater.
What means of grace is the most difficult for you to make diligent use of?