You were taught … to put off your old self … and to put on the new self, created to be like God …
Do you ever feel as if you are two different persons?
Back in the nineteenth century, Robert Louis Stevenson explored that idea in his short suspense novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
In an effort to become a better person, Dr. Jekyll, a mild-mannered man of science, develops a potion that can separate his good self from his bad self. What happens instead is that his bad side turns out to be much more evil than expected. At night he becomes Mr. Hyde, a mysterious and violent man who thinks only of his own desires. Once Dr. Jekyll realizes his own evil, he clamps down on his Mr. Hyde, resolving not to take the magic potion anymore. But Hyde has become too strong. In despair of ever changing himself for the good, Dr. Jekyll commits suicide.
The apostle Paul speaks of the same struggle in different terms—“old self” and “new self.” One of the great issues of life is how we can change permanently and deeply so that we look more like Jesus all the time. Will it take moral effort, or meditation, or what?
In Ephesians 4 Paul says it requires “the truth that is in Jesus.” There is much to learn about how the power of the cross creates that truth in us. But today let’s give thanks that Christ can change our old self into a new self that honors him.
As we worship you today, Lord Jesus, fill us with hope that we can change. Teach us the truth about you, and may we give you thanks. Amen.
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