Did you ever think that after conversion life would be simple and challenges few? Far from it, the Christian's life is much like a salmon swimming upstream. Thomas Watson, preaching his farewell sermon on August 17, 1662, about to be ejected from his pulpit for nonconformity, said:
If you are living fish, swim against the stream, dead fish swim down the stream.
The Christian is holy but the world in which we live, where God has posted us, like a soldier at an outpost in the wilderness on duty to serve in his kingdom, though it is created good and belongs to him who made it, is not. We can no longer float downstream in conformity to the world's ways. We now live for him and daily die to ourselves, and that is to be conformed to him and to resist following the multitude in the ways of sin, or as Watson puts it, to "walk [as] antipodes to the corruptions of the times," which often results in persecution. In fact, that is promised to us (2 Tim. 3.12), for we where our Master has walked, there must we walk too. Though renewed in the pure image of Christ, we find in ourselves corruption which works against us. We have responsibilities to God, to our familes, church and society, and to ourselves. We have a command to work six days a week, and even on the other day we have works of piety, necessity and mercy to perform. We must always be on guard against the world, the flesh and the devil. Idleness only works in Satan's favor. Man was made to work even in the Garden of Eden, and Christ bids us "Occupy, till I come" (Luke 19.13). But the good news, friends, is that it is Christ who is our strength, who gives us the Spirit without measure, who enables us to live, to live as we ought. It is the bondage of sin which is the hard master; he who puts his yoke upon us promises that his "yoke is easy and "his "burden is light" (Matt. 11.30). Therefore, after instructing us to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" the Apostle adds for our comfort "[f]or it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2.12b-13). "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2.10). In the strength of Christ then, we are called to "gird up the loins of your mind" (1 Pet. 1.13) and put on his armour (Eph. 6), trusting that duty is ours but events are God's, and "[t]herefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15.58).
Richard Sibbes, Divine Meditations and Holy Contemplations, in Works, Vol. 7, p. 204:
178. Christianity is a busy trade. If we look up to God, what a world of things are required in a Christian, to carry himself as he should do: a spirit of faith, a spirit of love, a spirit of joy and delight in him above all. And if we look to men, there are duties for a Christian to his superiors, a spirit of subjection; to equals he must carry a spirit of love; and to inferiors a spirit of pity and bounty. If we look to Satan, we have a commandment to resist him, and to watch against the tempter. If we look to the world, it is full of snares. There must be a great deal of spiritual watchfulness, that we be not surprised. If we look to ourselves, there are required many duties to carry our vessels in honour, and to walk within the compass of the Holy Ghost; to preserve the peace of our consciences; to walk answerable to our worth, as being the sons of God and coheirs with Christ. He must dispense with himself in no sin; he must be a vessel prepared for every good work; he must baulk in no service that God calls him unto: and therefore the life of a Christian is a busy trade.