OBJECTIVES OF THIS STUDY
This is not intended to be a retreat into mere academic inquiry. While we will explore various texts, but we will focus on identifying the nature of the faith-life. If God's people do not know the character of the battle in which they are engaged, Satan will get the upper hand with them. My ultimate purpose is to give advantage to the people of God. If God is to be glorified in us, we simply cannot be uniformed about the life we possess in the Son.
Identify the cause and nature of inward struggle
Why do we have struggles within? What is it all about? Some think the new birth eliminates inward struggle. Is this so? We will seek to clarify spiritual struggle, giving you an appreciation for why it is present. Considerable time will also be given to describing that struggle.
Confirm the souls of believers
Getting into Christ involves a triumph over the devil. But that is not the end of our exposure to him. The great difficulty is NOT getting into Christ, but remaining, or abiding, in Him. A "good fight of faith" is not related to being converted, but to remaining sanctified (1 Tim 6:12). Intense spiritual activities like running (Heb 12:1-2) and wrestling (Eph 6:12) have to do with life after we are born again.
This is why early messengers were so involved in confirming and edifying the saints of the Lord. "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). God's people must be strong if they are to finish their course. Understanding the nature of inner conflict will contribute to that strength.
Affirm inward struggle to be evidence of spiritual life
One of the loftiest insights I ever received was this: struggle is evidence of spiritual life. For years I interpreted inner conflict as a sign of distance from God, spiritual weakness, and Satanic triumph. It is important that you see this is not true. When you have conflict with Satan, it is because you no longer belong to Him. When you experience war within, it is because you have been reconciled to God. The part of you that remains unregenerate did not go to sleep when you were born again.