I’m not a country western fan. In fact, I like to tell people that God created music and then Satan made an attempt at it which resulted in country-western. Really, there are so many different genres of music that I enjoy from classical to Christian hard rock. Head banger music is what our church admin assistant calls it. I’ve picked up a love for Irish, Scottish, and English folks music of late and sometimes old traditional Russian music will find its way to my Pandora stations. A seasoning amount of classic rock is threaded through my week as well. But I just can’t make the switch to country-western. Ok, maybe some John Denver once in a while. But that’s probably a bit more folk than western. No, country music and I just don’t do business with each other.
My wife however grew up on the country twang. Many of those songs bring fond memories to her and set her at ease. I don’t naturally like country, but she does. Thus the question of what do we listen to over the car radio. It’s mostly a compromise with Christian rock, worship songs, or some kind of talk show. There are times when I put on specifically what I want and then there are those times, like last Sunday night, when I made a conscious decision to find exactly what she wanted and young country is what flowed through our 2005 Honda Odyssey sound system for the rest of the evening.
I don’t get it right all the time and many times I get it totally wrong. But there are times that I do get it right and the cool thing is that those are becoming more frequent. Jesus said that He came to serve and not to be served and in that moment that is exactly what I was doing. I made a deliberate choice to serve my wife.
It’s those day by day and moment by moment decisions that determine life. While there are indeed defining moments that may change the course of our lives or even history, it’s the daily decisions that really produce the character of who we are and more importantly who we are becoming.
In Christian theology there are two terms that come into play here. The first is Salvation and the second is Sanctification. Salvation is a point in time when we step across the line to follow Jesus and our citizenship is changed from being of this world to being of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus referred to this as being born again in John chapter 3.
Sanctification on the other hand is the ongoing process in which followers of Jesus are slowly transformed into His image. Specifically the word sanctification, or to sanctify, refers to something or someone that is set aside or apart for a particular purpose. The Old Testament priests would sanctify precious items for the temple.
When it comes to people, on one hand the scriptures are clear that this process is something that God works in us. This is seen in such verses as 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:2 where the apostles speaks of the sanctifying work of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 6:11, the Apostle Paul noted powerfully that those in Jesus were washed, sanctified and justified. So there is this real sense of Christ followers being set aside for a grand purpose.
Yet on the other hand there are texts, as illustrated by 1 Thessalonians 4:3 where we are reminded that it is God’s will that we should be sanctified by the choices we make. As we continue to make these choices for Jesus, Paul assures us that we are daily being transformed into the image of Jesus with ever-increasing glory.
The more we humbly walk with him on a daily basis, the more we become like him.
Salvation is not something you earn. Ephesians 2:8-10 clearly shows that our salvation is the gracious result of what Jesus did on the cross for us. My hope of salvation does not rest in my performance, but in Christ. He paid my debt.
Sanctification is a gradual transformation into becoming more like Jesus. It’s kind of like the reality that you eventually become like the people you hang around with the most. In the day to day living out of this salvation state, I’m being sanctified by a regular abiding in His presence. Sure, I’m not there yet. But the daily decision to say yes to Jesus is what makes us become more like Jesus.
And who knows? The more we make sacrificial decisions to listen to our spouse’s country music, the more we might actually find some songs we like . . . well, maybe.