Sometimes Christians put such pressure on themselves. We have a tendency to burden ourselves with the impossible task of recreating ourselves. We try to suppress our "old nature" and encourage the development of our "new nature". And although this concept is good, it tends to get thwarted by our limited perspective.
I know that I have dug down into my soul to try to burry the bad and bring out the good. We try to reinvent ourselves. We give time and money into creating a new image, a new personality, a whole new person! Well... as I'm sure you've discovered, this is nearly impossible.
The "new man" I am supposed to be does not come from my efforts of self-transformation. It is not the result of regimented discipline or the completion of religious check lists. It doesn't come from a new wardrobe, a good book and some new eating habits. These things are not bad. But they are not going to change us into new people. Not at all. If you are like me, you've tried these things, and we ended up the same old us, just with a new sense of failure.
Ephesians 4:24 says, "Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness".
The new man is not engineered by me. It's not prescribed by a culture or a religious institution. It's not according to any one's interpretation of society or social norms. It's not according to my view of who I would like to be. The new man is not of my making. It is not my efforts towards holiness, not my fabrication or good deeds. The new man that I put on is created entirely by God, according to God.
I can fabricate false righteousness and holiness. But I know it's false. God knows its false. And the vast majority of those around me know its false to. God isn't about masking or hiding or covering up. He is about CREATING. He comes to CREATE in me a clean heart (Psalms 51). He comes to CREATE in me a new man. And this is not false. It is real. It is true.
It is HIS righteousness. HIS holiness. It is of HIS making, not mine. Today I make the choice to step into a divine nature, an out-of-this-world version of me, created with supernatural material, designed by a perfect God, transformed by forces that are higher than mine. I put on a man, a new man, that was created and formed and fashioned by a perfect and loving God. This is the same God that created my body type, my personality, my sense of humor. And He has designed the perfect man for me to be. My works, my efforts, my imagination... these are helpful, but they don't cut it.
Make a decision with me to stop beating ourselves up, falling short of our own expectations and insulting the grace of God. Instead, let's accept and receive the new nature that God has designed for us. Be transformed by His grace, not our works. Receive a new nature designed according to Him, not according to us. And enjoy the knowledge of being righteous and holy, in a real and true way.