As Christians we are all called to be holy and go through a process called sanctification, yet there is a common misconception about this process. Giving up the unrighteous things you used to do is an important decision you have to make, and outwardly shows the changes that God has made within.
But it’s easy to mistake outward changes as the only aspect of sanctification. To the point that we reduce it to not doing what we used to do in our own efforts, which is impossible if we still love what we used to do.
Therefore, it’s important to recognize the ultimate foundation of sanctification, and that is the Holy Spirit. Our foundation is Someone, not just something we do. No matter what lifestyle changes you make in life, you will never be holy without Him bringing you from death to life spiritually. You will never be sanctified without the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside of you, you are the temple that God has made His dwelling place in.
When you surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, the Spirit of God made you a new creation, becoming a child of God through Him. It is through the Spirit that your relationship with God changed, and because your relationship with God changed, so did you relationship with everything else.
In the book of John, chapter 16 and verse 8, Jesus said the work of the Spirit that He sent would consist of three areas of conviction:
If you try to walk out the process of sanctification without knowing and experiencing the work of the Spirit, your lifestyle will only bring an addition of restrictions to what you actually want to do, because of your flesh’s enmity towards the Spirit. But if you see your sanctification through the intimacy of your relationship with God, you’re able to increase your trust in His way of doing and being and you don’t take His commandments as a burden to be overcome.
God is not asking us to trick ourselves into believing that life in Christ is normal and easy to do. Through love, our desires are transformed, and we no longer want to do what we wanted to before. He offers us life and He has given us His Spirit, who sanctifies us as we demonstrate His sanctifying presence within us through our righteous lifestyle.