The Christian life is a battle. Knowing this should set your expectations. The battle will be hard. You will have your defeats as well as your victories. Surprise attacks will come just when you think you are making progress. Your holiness will never be complete in this life. Expect this battle to be intense and ongoing.
Listen to the language of the New Testament:
- Fight the good fight of the faith. (1 Tim. 6:12, NIV)
- Endure hardship … like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (2 Tim. 2:3)
- Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Eph. 6:11)
- “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.” (Luke 13:24)
- “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Mat. 10:34)
- For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12)
- Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Cor. 16:13)
- Fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. (1 Tim. 1:18-19)
J. C. Ryle says in his book Holiness: “A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience—but war within. He may be known by his warfare as well as by his peace.”
If you are experiencing this conflict, be encouraged. The true Christian is at war with sin in his or her own soul. That is what sanctification looks like in this world.
Are you engaged in the battle for purity? What does that battle look like?