“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).
The call of Christ is an upward call; it is intended to draw us deeper and deeper into a living relationship with Him and it is absolutely imperative that it do so. If it doesn’t, we need to search our spirit to discover where, and in what way, we have left Him. Most often, it will be because we resist the necessity of death to the natural man; but unless we embrace the crucifixion of self we are kidding ourselves. Spiritual growth embraces a struggle between self and God; where self rules there will be neither God nor growth, just religious delusion.
As we move further into the knowledge of God that is, itself, eternal life (John 17:3) we inevitably expose ourselves to new areas of attack by our implacable foe. Spiritual growth entails ongoing battles against Satan in the areas of self and the world; it is endless in this life; every new step in Christ is resisted by God’s enemy and ours, who employs all the weapons at his command.
The temptation is to sit still and be a small target, gaining a feeling of security in religious company, but to do that is like praying to the east and walking to the west; a not uncommon habit of Christians. The greatest temptation is to seek a place of peace and comfort in this world since Satan will ensure that we will almost certainly find it in religious complacency, the most subtle temptation of all. This explains the low temperature of the Church in general and why it has become filled with spectators, rather than participants.
The choice every Christian must make is between self and Christ; the two cannot cohabitate; one must rule.