"But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof" (Romans 13:14).
The self-made man may pull himself up by the bootstraps to accomplish his goals while the world looks on him with affirmation, but the Christ-made man clings to Christ to accomplish God's purposes as the Word works in him through sanctification. This dichotomy transcends all dichotomies in significance. Man either bides in himself and produces worldly things that do not satisfy, or abides in Christ and "bringeth forth much fruit" (John 15:5).
Scripture teaches that God's will for believers is sanctification (I Thessalonians 4:3), but we also know that our flesh wars against the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). Our flesh gravitates to pride and self-rule. The Spirit waits for humility and self-denial before graciously leading the surrendered heart back to Christ-rule.
As Christians, we remember that God "giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 15:57). While the world speaks of many types of victories, we ultimately discover that they are shallow experiences like empty cisterns. It is only with Christ that we have true victory! We "rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3). Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, had everything a man could want by the world's standards, but eventually discovered that it was all vanity without God. In the end, he concluded that the duty of man was to "Fear God, and keep His commandments" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
May we always be aware of the intense battle between the flesh and the Spirit and determine to put on the new Christ-made man that God created to be like His Son (Ephesians 4:24). Let us strive for true victory as we "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). MDR