John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
When we seek truth we will find how sin has us in its grip. We can be made free provided we fulfill the clause described above, "If you abide in My word." How well we abide in the word has to do with how well we focus on doing what it says. We must first learn what it says and then practice doing what it says. In practice we will often times find struggle within us to persevere each day without fail. Most of us will fail with many different forms of reasoning. In seeking truth we ought to evaluate our reasoning not to follow the word and put it down on paper to help us look at it more carefully. Whatever it is in us which keeps us from abiding in God's word is worth looking at more closely. We cannot correct or change what we do not acknowledge. So we seek out truth which blocks us from God's path and then replace it with truth so we may abide in God's word.
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
2 Peter 1:5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
We ought to have a willing heart to abide in God's word and to grow in God's character. This means change and living differently than our flesh seeking knowledge directs us. We are to willingly recognize there are times when the truth of the flesh and the spirit are at war within us. Within us we have adapted to ways that go against God's character and lead us away from spiritual development. Resisting such adapted behavior means struggle and sometimes suffering. If we seek God we suffer in denial of following mal-adapted behavior. If we follow the mal-adapted behavior and resist the spirit we suffer spiritually. Suffering is inevitable and unavoidable.
1 Peter 3:17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
We are to seek God's will. When we have adapted ways which are contrary to God's will and have practiced such ways over time then we set those into habits and even character. Our mal-adapted ways have become character within us. To change that character requires the same process we used to develop that character. We must be willing to think about and perform the character we want to develop. Over time we can become adjusted to the new character. If we are unwilling, then perhaps we ought to pray each day for willingness and evaluate ourselves thoroughly regarding our unwillingness. Why would we wish to avoid love, peace, mercy, and forgiveness? Are we to dependent upon pride, greed, anger, selfishness, and fleshly desires? Perhaps we need some humility?
1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Seldom will we hear someone suggest to us we ought to seek humility and stop thinking about ourselves, but this is the process of growing spiritually. Through humbling ourselves and seeking God's goodness we can grow spiritually. As we practice and experience God's righteousness we develop spiritual knowledge and wisdom. The application of God's character is our act in receiving God's grace. A gift to be had must be received. The character used by the bible to describe God, if we are to receive such character, requires humility. To have love, peace, mercy, forgiveness, truth, justice, generosity, patience, and compassion requires humility. If we are to engage with and grow in God we must first seek humility.
Proverbs 22:4 By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life.