‘Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature,’ 2 Peter 1:4a
Too often we are far too little impressed by the tremendous calling with which we have been called by God. Paul says, ‘You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you’ (:9).
So God expects us to live no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit. That is only possible if we are born of the Spirit (John 3:6). Therefore Jesus has said, ‘You must be born again!’ This is essential. This is why Jesus came to earth, to achieve this for everyone who wants to obey Him.
But this life in the Spirit is not a sterile pious life. It makes us stand in the harsh reality of this world, like a tower of strength. But we have no strength if we are still dragged away by every sort of temptation. Therefore, we must put to death the misdeeds of the body, as Paul calls it (:13), because otherwise we cannot possibly live by the Spirit. It is only by the Spirit of God that all kinds of material desires are put to death in our lives. This is not a joyful process, it does not happen without tears. This being put to death of our ingrained materialism is - essentially - part of the suffering for Christ’s sake that the Bible speaks so much about.
Here on earth Jesus has suffered the most from the worldliness of the believers of His time. If we want to follow in His steps, we too will suffer the most from the slander and mockery of the worldly-minded believers around us. But when we joyfully accept this suffering, we will find how ever more - in every aspect - we may participate in the divine nature that so brightly radiated from the life of Christ too.