At some point or another, I feel like we have all asked “Will I ever be free from this struggle?” Everyone, no matter how great of a person they are, struggles with the issue of sin in their lives. In fact, a great deal of our spiritual battle rests with what our flesh wants and what God has set up as the best plan. We battle, we fight, and do everything in our power to resist temptation, but still sometimes we lose the battle. At first it’s a momentary set back, but then we keep giving in to the temptation. After a while, we lose hope thinking that this lifestyle, this temptation, or this inclination is merely what our life will be like. However hopeless we may feel, we are always welcome to return to Christ.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
– Psalm 40:1-3, NIV
The call of the Christian is not to die in their sin but to be renewed by the grace of God. As Jesus Christ came into the world, hope was firmly established and rooted in the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross and the victory in His resurrection. Wherever we find ourselves, whatever struggle or temptation or even habitual sin that we face, our God is a God of hope. We are called to Christ, no only as individuals, but to walk through our faith with one another.
Pursuing Holiness by Pursuing God
No matter how much effort we put into making ourselves Holy, we will never be able to accomplish that task. I can rid myself of all sin and it would not change the fact that my heart craves things that are against the will of God. Even sinless, I cannot say I am Holy. Not that it matters anyway because I am the farthest thing from Holy. Struggling through temptation may feel hopeless but only if our concentration is on anything other than our Savior.
Hope cannot be found in our own attempts to make ourselves Holy. Hope can be found in the calling of a Holy God to an unholy people and He alone will make us Holy. Grasp hold of the hope that comes from our relationship in Jesus Christ. He is working in you. He is working through you. Our turning to God means we have turned from sin in the same movement. God is not finishing working in you either. As the Psalmist says, wait patiently and know that God is pulling you out.
Pursuing God Together
Isolation in the midst of struggle easily paves the path to hopelessness. While we have this knowledge that everyone sins and everyone is looking for support in their faith and in their pursuit of holiness, we have this innate fear in letting people know we struggle. Even for things we are sure are common, we don’t want people to know we are going through this. Yet God, being communal and relational, desires to see His presence lived out in the lives of His children.
Being accountable to other persons of the faith can provide a major source of hope and encouragement for those who struggle. For one, we have someone who can support us when we are at our weakest and we borrow strength from one another. Furthermore, there is comfort in knowing that we are not the first person to struggle through a particular issue. We are not alone and committed to pursuing God with one another. In Christ, we encourage one another in our pursuit of God and we stir up the hope that, together, we will be made whole as one body of Christ. The love that God has shown to us can be shown to one another as we hold each other up and pursue God together. Our hope is in God and we stand in unity as one body, together.