There are entire books and sermon series based on the seventeenth chapter of John.  This chapter is quite possibly one of the most tear jerking chapters of the entire Bible for me.  When I read it I feel as if I have been granted permission to peek into the prayer journals of Jesus. Considering the context of what I know is about to happen to Jesus, when I read His words,  I find myself having such a mixture of emotions.

 I feel a bit of sadness because I know the rest of the story and what is about to happen to Jesus.  However, more than anything the words of Jesus in these verses give me both passion and purpose for my life here on earth.  So what is it in these verses that give me a passion and purpose in life?  

 The passion comes from verse 17. . . .

 John 17:17 (NIV)
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Okay…so I know the word sanctify is a ‘churchy’ word that some preachers today avoid in an attempt to be ‘relevant’ and easy to understand.  However, I personally love the word…and it is not difficult to understand…so in my opinion….you need to learn it! 

 Let me just explain it using the words of one of my favorite preachers…my daddy.

 “Sanctify (HAGIAZO, hog-ee-od’-zo) means to be set apart from sin to be used by God  Salvation is instantaneous, but sanctification is progressive.  The only way to be sanctified is by the truth of God’s Word.  That’s why attending Bible study, worshiping where God’s Word is preached, and having a daily quiet time are critical to the process of sanctification that makes us more and more like Jesus.” (Journey Into Knowing Jesus, p. 93)

 That’s not too difficult to understand is it?   Sanctification is not something I do.  It is something God does in me as I understand the truth of His words.   Though my salvation does not depend on my church attendance or my daily quiet times, my sanctification does.  My passion for my church and for my own personal time in the Word, is rooted in knowing  these words of Jesus in John 17:17….If Jesus desired for me to be set apart  through the Word of God…that must be my desire, my passion.

 The purpose comes from…

 John 17:18 (NIV)
18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

Let me quote my daddy again…

 “Sanctification always separates us from sin for service.  That’s why Jesus prays:  “And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth” (17:19).  This means Jesus is our Model of what it means to be sanctified.  Jesus was not a recluse or hermit; therefore, sanctification is not isolation.  He attended wedding feasts, accepted invitations to dinner, and mixed with the social outcasts of His day.  He was in the world but not of the world, and we must be also if we are to reflect His glory.” (Journey Into Knowing Jesus, p. 93) 

I feel very blessed that from an early age I was taught this truth.  I was encouraged to study God’s Word not just for my own sanctification, but also for the purpose of taking the truth of the Bible out into the world.

 Every decision I make in my life is filtered through my passion to live a sanctified life and my purpose to share the truth of God’s Word with the people of this world who are searching in all the wrong places for love, fulfillment, and peace .    My career decisions.  My family decisions.  My church life decisions.  All of these are made after they have been filtered through my passion and purpose.

 I challenge you to get in a quiet spot.  Cuddle up with the best book on the planet and read the prayer of Jesus in John 17.  I pray that you too will find passion and purpose in these words of Jesus….