On Progressive Sanctification

In this article I will share with you my own experiences on progressive sanctification, as well as what you should be guarding against.

I’m writing this article because when I get new readers or subscribers, some watch all my videos in a short period of time, and they might think that it would be too difficult for them to change their lives so that it’s more in alignment with the biblical way of life.

That’s, of course, not the case, and in this article I will share with you my own understanding of how to allow this sanctification process to be done swiftly and without putting on you too heavy burdens.

Let the Holy Spirit sanctify you

Firstly, it’s important to understand that it’s the Comforter that does the work of sanctification in us, and we simply obey. So instead of planning how to sanctify yourself, you should tune into the Holy Spirit instead, and listen to what it prompts you to do.

The Holy Spirit will lead you gently, yet swiftly. If you listen to it and act on its promptings, you will be quickly and led through the process of sanctification, to the extent that it might even look unbelievable to others in how short a period of time you get changed.

This is the mystery of the Holy Spirit – it doesn’t overburden you with things to do and to change, yet if you obey it, the change will be very fast and extraordinary.

Also, the Holy Spirit will know exactly how to work with you. Some people get firstly convicted about the necessity to change the way that they look; some first feel the need to target some sinful habit, and some – to start observing the Sabbath and biblical feast days.

Therefore we see that the Holy Spirit works differently in different people. We cannot use our limited minds to figure out our plan of sanctification; it’s not our job and we would do it poorly anyway. The Holy Spirit already knows how to sanctify you, and your job is to listen to it and act on what it prompts you to do.

Taking it to the extreme

Another danger of listening to your mind and not to the Holy Spirit is taking some prohibitions to the extreme. I consider myself to be a little guilty of doing it, because a few times I took the promptings of the Holy Spirit further than, I believe, it was necessary.

For example, it’s not written in the Bible that Christian women should cover their heads all the time, or that they are not allowed to wear their hair loose. Yet I did both of these things. Now, as I’m getting established in the faith and my understanding of the love of God grows, I no longer feel it necessary to keep my hair at the back, in a ponytail, all the time. I don’t feel convicted when I wear my hair loose, though, of course, when it comes to spiritual activities, I cover my head.

So I’m coming to the understanding that it’s okay for Christian women to wear their hair loose, if it’s not done in order to attract attention. There’s a big difference to simply keeping the hair loose, and styling it so that it turns others’ heads.

The same applies to clothing too. Although our pagan society expects women to be sex objects and therefore they are conditioned to dress in a way that turns the heads of others, this is not the biblical way of how women should dress. The attention should be on who we are as spiritual beings, and not to our flesh.

When I got convicted about wearing men’s clothes (as the Bible tells it’s abominable for women to wear the clothes of men in Deuteronomy 22:5), I threw all the trousers away and wanted nothing to do with them. But now I’m thinking that I took it a little bit to the extreme, as there are feminine dresses, for example, that require tights or even loose trousers to be worn under them. So those are still feminine clothes, because men would not be able to wear them.

Therefore I believe that my current understanding is healthier – that women can indeed wear tight-fitting or loose trousers under a skirt or a dress, if that’s part of the feminine attire. For example, in India, it’s considered inappropriate to wear their kurtas and churidas without trousers. They have openings on sides which would indeed make it unseemly if they would wear no trousers under them. Therefore feminine trousers are required. But that doesn’t make this dress abominable, because it’s still a female attire.

Also, it’s not told in the Bible to wear only skirts or dresses, but only that women should not wear the clothes of men, and vice versa.

I would also like to mention the issue of long hair for men. It’s told in 1 Corinthians 11:14 that it’s an abomination for men to have long hair. But before jumping into wrong conclusions, first we need to research what was considered long hair in biblical times, and what was considered an appropriate length of hair for Hebrew men. It’s a mistake to look through our western eyes into the commandments that were given to a totally different culture.

So I encourage men to research this topic – you might find out that what you consider long hair might not be so in that culture. From my personal research it seems that men’s hair should not grow more than the width of the palm of one’s hand (without the fingers), unless he’s under the Nazarite vow.

Therefore we should not try to add our own thoughts or cultural bias to what the Holy Spirit prompts us to do, as it’s not our minds, but the Spirit in us, which which should lead us to holiness.

How to hear from the Holy Spirit

If you have never been convicted by the Holy Spirit, you must make sure that you are saved. When you receive the Holy Spirit, it will start changing you. If that change is not taking place, maybe the Holy Spirit is not there. We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), therefore make sure the Holy Spirit dwells in you.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit stops convicting people when they start doing things their own way, without consulting with God about their actions. Christians should understand that they are not their own once they are saved, because they are purchased, to do good works.

If you disregard this and do things your own way rather than according to the will of God, He may turn away from you too. But as long as you live, you can repent and turn back to God, and get into the right way of life. And when you do, then God will start sanctifying you, and you will hear from the Holy Spirit.

It’s unfortunate that the sanctification process is ignored by most churches today. Early Christians were expected to get sanctified. It wasn’t enough to be saved. That was only the starting point. After this, all strove to be sanctified as though in a race, as without holiness nobody will be able to see God, as it’s told in Hebrews 12:14. So receiving a pardon from your sins was not enough. They were washed clean and strove to live clean, and we received the Spirit of God so that this way of life can be possible.

I’m in Nepal at the moment. When people become Christians here, most of them remain the same as they were when they were Hindus or Buddhists. Nothing changes. They even use the same “sacred” items they used before, such as red powder that they used to put on their foreheads – now they put it on Bible pages! So they mix light with darkness, and pastors say nothing about it, because they themselves cannot tell right from wrong.

The same problem is everywhere, even Western protestantism has many pagan elements, and most people are not saved. No wonder there’s so much hatred for the law among those calling themselves Christians – they are religious unregenerate men, and therefore they do not delight in the law that’s spiritual (Romans 7:14).

In the first century church, getting the Holy Spirit was just a first step. Then they were required to start their journey of sanctification – so that they become a pleasing sacrifice to God. The first steps that they were expected to take were abstaining from (according to the council of Jerusalem as we read in Acts 15):

  • the pollutions of idols
  • fornication
  • eating strangled animals
  • blood

These commandments were tailored to the situation of the early converts, who were idol worshippers, steeped in the sin of fornication as their religious rituals required it; and they were eating meats sacrificed to idols with blood.

Our first steps might be different from their own, depending on what circumstances we are saved from. Maybe instead of abstaining from idols, we need to abstain from worshipping our ideas, teachers or celebrities. And when it comes to fornication, maybe it’s not so much about not engaging in religious sexual rites but from self-abuse in the form of masturbation, flirtation and having sexual relationships before marriage.

Of course, when it comes to abstaining from strangled animals and blood, it applies to us as much as to the first-century church. We should not eat meat with blood in it, because spirit is in the blood (wrongly translated as “life” in our bibles).

Also, we must abstain from eating unclean animals, because they are not healthy for us, and they attract evil spirits. We read that it was into pigs that demons went after being cast out from the body of a man from Gadarenes (Luke 8). Therefore we do not want to get loaded with evil spirits because of eating prohibited meats.

The sanctification process won’t be done at once – it will be gradual. That’s why the council at Jerusalem decided to burden the converts only with a few rules; afterwards they were expected to learn the law of Moses every Sabbath in synagogues, as we read in Acts 15:21.

Jesus said that His yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). The Holy Spirit won’t convict us of all things we do wrong at once, as that burden would crush us. Instead, it sanctifies us gradually.

Although the Holy Spirit works in different people in different ways, I personally firstly was made to pay attention to the way that I dress, and then to observing holy days, and now the Holy Spirit is making me aware of holiness towards God, as well as issues to do with food.

I recently started being prompted to sanctify myself before prayer. In the past I would pray as soon as I would wake up without any conviction. But now, I feel that I’m being taught to firstly take a shower, dress in clean clothes, clean my praying space to make it holy, and only then pray.

The Holy Spirit also teaches me about food. I thought that I eat in a healthy way, since I don’t eat meet and I also stopped eating sugar after my attempt to fast three days without water. So I was very surprised when I started getting the inner knowing that if I continue with such food habits, in ten or twenty years’ time I might suffer from a heart attack or full or partial paralysis of my body because I’m clogging my veins and arteries.

So I started researching the food that I eat to find out why this could be the case. And what I discovered stunned me – I indeed was eating unhealthy. I love full-cream milk, cheese, and eggs, but all these are very high cholesterol foods which cause artery walls to get clogged. So now I’m transitioning to a diet that’s richer in vegetables, fruits and grains.

So from my own experience I’m learning that the Holy Spirit not only teaches us about the spiritual aspect of our lives, but it’s concerned with everything about our lives. Its focus is to make us whole and perfect in everything that we do, and not only when it comes to religious things.

Conclusion

Instead of thinking what to work on next in the process of sanctification, allow the Holy Spirit to make decisions for you. When it prompts you to change something, act on it. When that aspect of your life is brought into harmony with God, other areas will be highlighted to work on.

At first you will be completely unaware that you are doing something wrong in some part of your life, for example, but after you clean up one area of your life, others will be highlighted that need change. This is the way that the Holy Spirit gradually sanctifies you, and this journey is very fulfilling and exciting.

It would be very different if you would take upon yourself to change yourself. This would probably be dull and difficult. But not so when you allow the Holy Spirit to change you.

It will be done so swiftly and lightly that you yourself will find it difficult to believe how much you have changed in a short period of time. But we shouldn’t be surprised about it, since it’s not we that are making the change, but the Spirit sent to us from the Most High.

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Comments

  1. Rosemary St.Jacques says:

    Simona!! Shalom from Roanoke Virginia, U.S.!
    A few years ago, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit to abandon Protestant and Pagan culture that my country is steeped in. I learned about Saturday Sabbath and the Biblical Feasts and I have made attempts at keeping it. I abandoned pork and unclean meats and began to wear only feminine clothes.
    Happy Sukkot also; I have been staying in a tent in the backyard.
    I still struggle with sinning, namely smoking cigarettes and sex out of wedlock.
    Yesterday I laid out to pray; and I ended up meditating and opening my third eye; and “woke up” in a dream where a demon dressed as an attractive blonde male came and tried to rape me when I realized there was a problem with him. I called the name of Yahshua and he fleed from me. I woke up and knew I had done something to invite him to me! I began searching the internet for Christian information regarding dreams and I found you. I am grateful to Yah for you and your information. I realized from you that meditation that was on my body and not the Word invited that dream. Also recently I started seeing a doctor that uses Shiatsu or accupressure and I did not know that it was rooted in the New Age. I spent the day repenting and casting out demons. I have much more to do. Yah is good to me and has led me thus far; he is calling me to continue sanctifying and He sent me the comforter yesterday. Praise Yahshua He is Good! I have faith that though I am still a sinner if I continue to seek his face he will continue to chase these demons out. I do not know hardly anyone who practice the Sabbath and Feasts here, especially not a woman and I am grateful to make your acquaintance.
    I also work in a boutique that carries an Indian influence with necklaces that have buddah on them and the women who I work with are witches even if they don’t know it. I pray that I will find a job that will glorify His name and plans and purposes for Earth. If you have time to respond I ask your opinion on my job; am I a light to them? Or am I serving the wrong master working there? Thank Yah for you! Keep going and I will do the same.
    Rosemary

    • Hi Rosemary, if I were you, I would keep praying for YHWH to open better opportunities; I would have nothing to do with occult things. Thanks for all good things you said about my work.

      • This section in Matthew 5 speaks about types of adultery. Matthew 5:30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
        If your masturbating, your most likely committing adultery in your mind & heart.
        If a person masturbates daily, they have spirits of Lust in them. Because these Lust demons are living through you and the orgasm fullfill their needs, so they will compel you to keep doing it.
        Before I was saved I use to do this . Now It disgust me and if the thought comes in my mind, I know its a spirit making suggestion and I rebuke it immediately. Thats the first thing I resisted when i turned my life over, it feels so unclean now,

  2. Simona, why do you think masturbation is wrong, or self-abuse, as you wrote?

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