“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
Holiness is not something that is easy to obtain; we need to pursue it, because we cannot automatically obtain holiness. The degree of one’s effort to obtain holiness doesn’t just depend on God’s grace, but it is influenced by how much he strives for it.
What must believers strive for in the sanctification process?
Battle against Worldliness. This is a battle to overcome all kinds of lusts of the world that constantly wage war inside believers. 1 John 2:15-16 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world…” Loving the world means loving everything that is in it. The Lust of the Flesh. Paul warned the church in Galatia to not live according to the desires of the flesh such as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. For those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God, meaning they will lose the power and the presence of God that preserves life and saves.
The Lust of the Eyes. This means wanting to own something (greed). The incident between David and Bathsheba reminded us about David’s greed to have Bathsheba, who was beautiful; Bathsheba had a husband and David also had had several wives. David’s greed resulted in adultery, lie, evilness and murder that brought the wrath of God upon him. Eventually, the Lord struck the child that Bathsheba conceived and the child died, and God said that the sword would never depart from David’s house.
The Pride of Life. This means everything that is seen (pride). Haman was promoted by King Ahasuerus, and all the king’s servants bowed down and paid homage to him, however Mordechai didn’t want to bow down to Haman. So, Haman was filled with fury because he felt that he deserved to receive the honor like King Ahasuerus. Then Haman plotted to hang Mordechai, and not only him, but he sought to destroy all the Jews throughout the whole Persian Empire. But in the end, Haman was the one who was hanged on the pole that he had prepared for Mordechai. Mordechai and all the Jews were exempted.
Battle to Endure Suffering. Jesus has promised that He will be with the believers who earnestly strive to live in holiness, because in this battle, believers will face many challenges in life. That’s what Paul said in Romans 8:36 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? God will work to bring good from all the distresses, trials, persecutions, and sufferings that believers experience. The Lord allows these things to happen in order to conform us and restore us to the image of Christ. Remember what Jesus said to the church in Pergamum, “To him who overcomes…” This refers to the fight of faith that all believers will face until the end of age. If we win this fight of faith, we will receive the heavenly reward.
Source: GBI Gatot Subroto’s article