Sanctification is not only about obedience. It’s also about closeness. Both obedience and closeness rely on trusting God. Progressive obedience and progressive nearness – as we progressively trust God more – lead to progressive sanctification.
Progressive obedience also leads to progressive closeness. As we trust God more, we increase in our obedience. We want to please him. Obedience increases trust, too, and it’s an act of faith to desire the cultivation of that trust.
Many of us struggle with stepping toward increased trust in our heavenly father when our relationships with our earthly fathers is broken in some way. No earthly relationship is perfect, but one that is apathetic at best and abusive at worse creates a slog of mud one must trudge through at some point to realize that their heavenly father is trustworthy.
God can overcome our broken vision of what a father is like through faithfulness. If we’ll allow him – if we’ll choose to increasingly trust and obey him – he’ll show us another way of being loved by a father. He’ll heal the hurt through his boundless compassion and through drawing us closer to him. We need only to let him.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” (Psalm 91:14-16, MSG)