The Believer's Struggle
Sometimes people think that life will be smooth sailing after salvation, only to discover they have even more struggles than before. However, this is normal for a Christian. Before meeting the Savior, we were drifting aimlessly with the culture, and there was no inner conflict between God’s desires and ours. But after salvation, we began an upstream journey called sanctification.
Some people thought they were signing up for a Savior who’d give them what they want, but since it’s tough to be in perpetual conflict, they quickly give up and drift back to the world. Those who’ve counted the cost and surrendered to Christ as Lord, however, aren’t left on their own to do the best they can—that would never work, because human efforts cannot overcome sin. What’s needed is divine empowerment, which is exactly what we have in the person of the Holy Spirit, who came to live within us at the moment of salvation.
In the epistle to the Galatians, Paul warns us not to use our freedom in Christ as an excuse to drift back into sin and worldliness. Instead, we are to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16). Though we’ll struggle, believers should seek to move toward holiness and Christlikeness through the power of the Holy Spirit. This means we are continually living in conflict with the tendencies of our flesh.
Every day we grapple with sins like jealousy, strife, lust, selfishness, and pride. Yet at the same time, we can learn to walk by the Spirit, who empowers us to set aside these fleshly desires. By fully submitting to Him, we can walk in victory over sin and self.