Southern Sanctifried Chick (Rom. 12:1-2 Style)
on 15 July 2012.

The other night, I viewed a documentary about a popular funk band in the 1980’s. It was one of my favorite groups back then. I had enjoyed their music tremendously. But in the documentary, I learned that the same time frame that I gave my life to Christ, the group suffered a rift that eventually tore the band apart. Ironically, I gave my heart to Jesus in the summer of 1986, and the group suffered a crushing blow to the founding members’ lives in the summer of 1986.

At the time I gave my life to Jesus, I determined to not listen to secular music anymore. I was free of all those gods and only wanted one – Jesus. And I held to that conviction. I detached from the secular music scene – the music, magazines, video shows, and all. The week I got saved, I tossed all 100+ vinyl LPs in a local dumpster: Prince, The Time, Slave, Parliament-Funkadelic, Earth Wind & Fire, the Brothers Johnson, Rose Royce, Isley Brothers, the Bar-Kays, Patrice Rushen, Kool & the Gang, S.O.S. Band, the Commodores, Change, One Way, Cameo, BB&Q Band, Heatwave – and all the rest – “kicked to the curb” for Jesus. Within 3 weeks of that, out went the 300+ albums on audio cassettes that I had dubbed.

But to hear for the first time, just the other day, of the breakup of one of my favorite groups around the same time I gave my life to Jesus – to not have known about it at the time, but to become aware of it “by accident” over 25 years later – is quite a testimony. But to also learn from the documentary that one of the founding members of the group was killed in a home invasion around 10 years after the group’s road to breakup was also sad. Especially since his life had taken a turn for the worse down the road of alcohol and drug abuse with the group’s rift. So during the same time period in 1986, my life went one way, his, the other way. His path led to his untimely death. My path led to life eternal in Jesus Christ, and even some heaven on earth. All because I found my life in Jesus, and he found his life in his band and their pursuits.

He had the money, the party life, the mood-altering experiences, the sex, the popularity, and the fans. I’ve had the quietness of spirit, no notoriety, few “fans,” and more meager means of living. I do not know if he claimed Jesus as his Lord and Savior at any point in his life. Perhaps during his demise he did, or during his younger years. Unfortunately, however, the clamps of destruction were so deep into his lifestyle that the faith to rebound was not there. Whatever the case, he is gone to his reward, whatever that may be. And I am here, seeking to impact others for the Kingdom of God.

I think one word summarizes the difference between that former idol’s life and my life: sanctification. By definition, sanctification means “to be separated from an unholy use to that which is holy.” Sanctification means separation to God’s use.

Some treat Christianity as a religion to prepare you for dying. But contrarily, Christianity is a faith for living victoriously. Those who evangelize sometimes like to ask, “If you died today, where would you spend eternity?” I would like to see more of us say, “If you continue to live today, how would you like to live? With access to peace, power, wholeness, confidence, miracles, and hope? Loving and being loved, unconditionally? And that’s just the start!” That’s how I’d like to see us evangelize. People who are alive rarely think about dying. They tend to think about living, and living better, which is what God offers.

God begins the work of sanctification when we receive His salvation. The rest is left up to us with the tools He left us to use in becoming overcomers: His Word, His blood, and His faith. How we apply the tools determines our level of success living a sanctified life - -and living a successful life, in general.