I'm all about the process of sanctification. I love it; to be ever more conformed to the image of the Son (Rom. 8:29). Most of what I write here is toward this purpose--the daily, hourly walk along the path of righteousness; attention and application to the "ancient paths" (Jer. 6:16).
This is a real, practical discipline I have just written about which can help in self analysis to determine where your state of faith lies. "If you love Truth . . . then you love ______" allows you to ascertain where strongholds of resistance remain in your soul against God.
I've heard it often from certain Christians--pastors even--who will say something like, "I don't LIKE doctrine of Hell . . . but that is what the Bible teaches, so I have to believe it to be so." Or, "I don't LIKE that not everyone gets saved, but that's just the way it is." Or, "I don't really understand or like that God commanded that the Amalekites all be killed, men, women and children--in fact I hate it, but that is what His Word says so. . . ."
And I have once felt somewhat the same; even now some of these hard teachings give me a moment's pause according to my natural (man-centered) reaction.
But then, I have since learned to love and trust God so much that I want to love ALL that He does and did. If I personally understand it or not . . . or have knee-jerk, humanistic reactions to it . . . is beside the point. I want to love the Truth, and I do (as far as able) love the Truth, Who is Christ, Who is God--the same God who said ""Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matt. 19:14) . . . as also told Saul, "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." (1 Sam. 15:2-3)
If I find a cognitive dissonance involved between these depictions of the Lord, where I cheer one on but turn away in disgust from the other . . . then I have discovered a stronghold of sinful resistance which ought to be thrown down. Many just stop there at the discomfort and shrug and say something like, "Yeah, I don't like all the things that happened in the Old Testament that God did . . . but anyway, I just mostly look at the 'red letters'." As if the Bible contains the history and teachings and depictions of two different Gods, one really nice and gentle and loving . . . and the other one sort of petty and vindictive. The intellect may accept that what we have is the one, same God; but the heart breaks away and rejects a portion of the Divine.
And . . . that would be blasphemous. It is not a small, shrugging matter to continue to hold within . . . in hidden recesses of the soul . . . revulsion or disagreement or rejection of God. Yet many, if not most do and don't even realize it. I want to love the Truth and with my mind AND heart love the "whole of the counsel of God." (Acts 20:27)
Which is why I like to go to the so-called "hard teachings" of the Bible and check myself out there; see what my real, inner response is. If I do not love all that God is and does--if I do not follow the first greatest commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" . . . then I'm falling short as a disciple.
I have found that learning to love God, love the Truth . . . in ALL His aspects, instead of simply glossing over some that are more offensive or difficult (to my natural self) . . . it propels me to a higher, deeper, more robust and broad appreciation and love and devotion to ALL that the Lord is.
Rather than turn, or run away from such "natural" difficulties . . . I find my mind widens to a new level of righteousness as it seeks to rationally comprehend the full personality and nature of the Creator. As a result, in practical living . . . day to day . . . I also find that I stabilized and anchored ever more securely to the rock of Truth and capable of dealing with the many challenges presented in this world, especially at this tumultuous time where the faith (thus my own faith) is being attacked constantly from many sides. I want to love and praise God in all His ways knowing that His glory is shown in everything . . . as it is, as He is. This is the walk of sanctification--to be more like the Son Who loves the Father and is one with the will of the Father as I am to be one with the same. This is the walk of the ancient paths.