Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. – John 17:17
When my boys were in Cub Scouts (back before the gender and sexuality warriors made such innocent places ground zero in their war on manhood) we learned how to make a fire. We explained to the boys that fire requires three things: oxygen, heat and fuel. If one of those things is missing you will never start a fire.
As I read Jesus’ words in John 17:17, I had similar thoughts about our growth as Christians. As with fire, certain things must be present or it won’t happen.
The first is prayer. Jesus is praying here for the sanctification of his disciples. We too must pray for the sanctification of ourselves and others. God has ordained prayer as one of the ways He works out his will for His people.
Second is truth. Christ says we are sanctified by truth. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to tell us what truth is. Truth is the word of God. Again, one of the means God uses to grow His people in the faith is His word. We must be continually in the scriptures if we are to grow.
Finally, while not directly mentioned in this verse but taught directly in scripture as a whole (Hebrews 3:13, Colossians 3:16), is other people. We’re not called to practice our faith in isolation. That is one of the reasons Christ created the church – to be a place where believers are taught the faith, loved and equipped to do the same for others.
Prayer, truth and people. If any one is missing, I won’t grow in the faith as I should.