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The Person We Long To Be

Last week I shared with you some wisdom a friend offers from time to time: “Give up all hope of a better past.” It makes so much sense, for we waste a lot of life reliving, regretting or resenting that which is now gone and forever unchangeable. We can learn from our past and apply life’s lessons—indeed we should—but we do well to engage life as it comes, with well-placed hope and confidence. “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,” wrote David, “for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”1

This week, I offer a corollary to my friend’s maxim: “Give up all hope of a better flesh.” In a Biblical sense, “flesh” can mean our sin nature, or more relatably it is that self-willed part of us that wants to live life on our terms and not God’s. It presents itself in many ways: greed, manipulation, apathy, arrogance, infidelity, fear, unforgiveness, dishonesty, self-righteousness . . . we know this all too well. We try so hard, day after day, to remove our flaws, but they are deeply rooted; on our own we can only prune them for appearances’ sake. We can modify our behavior to an extent or for a time, but we cannot by our own effort change our flesh.

And this is good news! For God has provided a better way: we do not change our old self and its sinful nature; we exchange it for a new self, created to be like Jesus.2 Wrote Paul, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!”3 Our sin no longer disparagingly defines us, nor must our sin nature callously control us, for God has given us the means to live a renewed life in Him. Long ago He foretold, “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”4 And in Christ, God has done so, for through faith, the Spirit of Christ lives in us,5 just as God promised He would. The life of the Christian, then, is not the fruitless toil of self-help; rather it is believing who God is in us, receiving what He is doing in us, and submitting to His call in us. We will become the person we long to be, for He makes us so.

Father, thank You for making me new and for changing who I am. “I put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.” In Christ and by the power of the Spirit I pray. Amen.

1 Psalm 143:8
2 Ephesians 4:22-24
3 2 Corinthians 5:17
4 Ezekiel 36:27
5 Romans 8:9-10

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