I have a goal in life...live in the Spirit of Christ.
Within that goal are smaller objectives that support the goal. These include but are not limited to helping our family maintain and further develop in the love in Christ amongst us; help a family of believers in the Lord with whom my wife and I fellowship do the same; make friends and extend the deep heart of God in reconciliation with those I know but who do not know Him, and so it goes.
Examining my own life and observing the real world around me has been a continual classroom of learning. Class should teach facts, principles of the topic under study, known solutions to obstacles of those principles, analysis skills appropriate to the topic, and applications of knowledge and evaluations of outcomes which expand knowledge and establish confidence within the topic and beyond.
I've learned there is an obstacle to achieving the stated goal above, which must constantly be navigated.
The sinful nature of humans. Were it not for this obstacle, it would be a perfect world.
In wrestling with my sin nature over the years, I have pondered the questions of the last post often. I think all the answers are described in our Scriptures--Thank You, God!--we must simply apply faith to walk in the Truth of those answers. postmodern redneck responded to the last post with a clear summation of the work of "grace" in "sanctification" or for the uninitiated in theological terms: God's grace is His being willing to approach our sinful souls which are so alien to His perfection and move to help us, which leads us in the decision to separate and walk away from our natural inclination to live the habits and practices of the fallen world around us. This becomes a continuing process into ever-increasing levels of holiness.
Hmmm..."Holiness" there's a theological term that has ripped up more than one group of Christians. Some groups even take on this term exactly as part of a name. I won't even start on the lack of faith inherent in the naming of groups!
Back to sin or the opposite state of holiness.
Perhaps our greatest real problem is that we deal with sin in a sinful manner. Jesus said, "It is finished," on the cross. He meant His work on earth, and that means He had defeated God's enemy, Satan, who would no longer be able to enslave with sin humans who receive that completed work of grace.
Did you hear any fatalism in the account of the last post in which a pastor says to his flock, we only have a choice of what sin will be ours?