This is the will of God, even your sanctification. 1 Thess. 4:3.
The Death Side. In sanctification God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. Many of us spend so much time in the place of death that we get sepulchral. There is always a battle royal before sanctification, always something that tugs with resentment against the demands of Jesus Christ. Immediately the Spirit of God begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle begins. “If any man come to Me, and hate not … his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
The Spirit of God in the process of sanctification will strip me until I am nothing but ‘myself,’ that is the place of death. Am I willing to be ‘myself,’ and nothing more—no friends, no father, no brother, no self-interest, simply ready for death? That is the condition of sanctification. No wonder Jesus said: “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” This is where the battle comes, and where so many of us faint. We refuse to be identified with the death of Jesus on this point. ‘But it is so stern,’ we say; “He cannot wish me to do that.’ Our Lord is stern; and He does wish me to do that.
Am I willing to reduce myself simply to ‘me,’ determinedly to strip myself of all my friends think of me, of all I think of myself, and to hand that simple naked self over to God? Immediately I am, He will sanctify me wholly, and my life will be free from earnestness in connection with everything but God.
When I pray—‘Lord, show me what sanctification means for me,’ He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts into me: it is Himself in me.
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).