Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, STRIVING AGAINST SIN.
Read this very familiar passage today, and that final phrase really jumped out to me. Let's concentrate on it together for just a moment.
According to Webster, to "strive" is to contend; to contest; to struggle in opposition to another; to be in contention or dispute; followed by against or with before the person or thing opposed; as, strive against temptation; strive for the truth.
I have heard much and spoken much on the need for the Christian to PRESS toward the mark (Phil. 3:14), to RUN the Christian race (Heb. 12:1), to SUBJECT the body to the control of the Spirit (1 Cor. 9:27), and to do so by LAYING ASIDE sins and LAYING ASIDE weights and FIXING his eyes, his mind, his heart on Jesus Christ. But in addition to all that, Hebrews says that there is a need for the Christian to STRIVE AGAINST SIN.
I'm afraid we're often far too casual in our individual efforts as Christians to identify and overcome personal sins in our own lives. Galatians 5:17 says, "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." I don't believe the conflict between the Spirit and the flesh is one that we can solve through diplomacy. I don't believe God intends for the Spirit to be engaged in a "Cold War" against the flesh. I believe the Bible teaches us that we must identify the enemy (the flesh), declare war on the enemy (the flesh), and fight it to the death! This battle against that which God hates ought to be one of all out combat.
What have we done to gain victory over the sins, habits, vices, lusts in our personal lives (we ALL have them!) that could be described as striving? We strive for so many things that don't really matter. May we each devote our time and our energy to ardently attacking and ridding our lives of the sin which doth so easily beset us.
Onward, Christian soldier!