What Sanctification Feels Like

From Ray Ortlund's excellent commentary, Proverbs: Wisdom That Works (Crossway, 2012), pages 51–52:

Proverbs 2:1–22 opens a door to every one of us. We all want to grow in Christ. In this passage God is telling us how we can move forward.

If you see a sign in front of a church, “Revival here next week,” you can be sure there won’t be a revival there next week. We do not program God or control God. But in this passage God himself tells us how to take our next steps into newness of life. We want to change. We want to get closer to him, closer than we have ever gone before, closer than we have ever dreamed of going. Now God is telling us how. . . .

Proverbs 2 is one of the most helpful passages in the Bible, because it explains what growth and sanctification and renewal — what all of that — feels like. This passage explains the psychology of change. This new mentality is the opposite of complacency. What happens inside people who are seeing God in powerful new ways? Is my soul in that positive condition today? Is yours? Can we go there together? God has brought us to this passage to open that door for every one of us.

The flow of thought in Proverbs 2 is clear. The structure can be outlined in this simple, twofold way:

1. You can be renewed in God (vv. 1–11)

A. Get real with God (vv. 1–4)

B. And God will get real with you (vv. 5–8)

C. And you will change (vv. 9–11)

2. You can be protected in this world (vv. 12–22)

A. Safe from devious men (vv. 12–15)

B. Safe from deadly women (vv. 16–19)

C. Safe forever in God’s place of blessing (vv. 20–22)

You do not need to run from life. You only need to run toward God, and he will prepare you for real life.