We all know about the sensational practice of battling humanity’s foe through exorcism. Truth be told, that is not the most common way to fight. Each day is a new battleground. We fight by living a holy life. Worship, prayer, devotion, studying… Holiness is the most powerful weapon we have. It’s not as glamorous, or in-your-face, but it is very effective.
15 But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your conduct [be set apart from the world by your godly character and moral courage]; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy (set apart), for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-17 [Amplified Bible]
17 If you address as Father, the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in [reverent] fear [of Him] and with profound respect for Him throughout the time of your stay on earth.
9 for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago] …2 Peter 1:9 [Amplified Bible]
Why is it such a struggle to live a holy life? Conversion to Christ does not perfect us. We are still sinners. “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:17, NIV). Good news though – remember, we have been sent a Helper, a Comforter, a Teacher… the Holy Spirit.
Some people think that new Christians proceed to holy living automatically, with no help from other believers. After all, the Ethiopian eunuch was left to himself when Philip was whisked away. But the story of the eunuch is exceptional. Once Philip led the eunuch to Christ and baptized him, the Holy Spirit took Philip away to preach in another city. The main reason we have the New Testament is for our spiritual growth. Most of the Apostle Paul’s epistles are written to saved people to motivate them to holy living.
The Holy Spirit works through sound doctrine of sanctification. This presupposes good teaching. I spent my early youth in a church that encouraged you to believe that you could be sinlessly perfect. I am thankful for my background in many ways, but this teaching did not do me any great favor. Christians who think they have reached perfection will certainly fall, soon—and hard! God knows our frame. He remembers we are “dust.” Jesus, our High Priest, is touched with the feeling of our weaknesses and is always there to uphold us. Sanctification is progressive. We will not reach absolute perfection until we are glorified and made just like Jesus.
The Holy Spirit works through our regular, disciplined time alone with the Lord. Whether we call it personal devotions or quiet time, we get to know the Lord and His will largely through how much time we give Him. Children judge how much we love them by the amount of time we spend with them. If God were to assess our love in this way, how much would He say that we love Him? The Bible is the Holy Spirit’s greatest product. He wrote it. If you want to experience the power of the Spirit to live a holy life, get to know and love the Bible more than you do anything else in the world.
The only way that Satan will win in your life is if you submit your will to his influence. He is a defeated foe – remember that.
8 Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].1 Peter 5:8-10 [Amplified Bible]