It took me a while to learn the key to weight loss. Your weight is the balance of how many calories you eat and how many you burn. Lose a few pounds due to an illness or crash diet, and they'll be back in a few weeks. No amount of dieting can keep you thin until you make a permanent change in how much you eat or how much exercise you get.
Sanctification is a lot like that. The equation's more complicated, but this is an important factor: How much do you feed the "new man," and how much do you feed the old one?
Like dieting, you can make short-term gains. You can have fits of conscience or spirituality and make some temporary improvements in your life. But they'll all slowly slip away if you don't take care of the new man.
Here's the problem — the old man gets fed quite a bit. The world throws tasty morsels his way all day long. If you want the new man to beat up the old man, you've got to make sure he's well fed, too.
What does the new man eat? I don't think there are any surprises here: the word of God, prayer and meditation, fellowship with godly people, and service to God and neighbor. These things are not only food for the new man but poison to the old one. These are the things we have to fill our lives with if we want the new man to be with us for the long haul. These things are the key to being more like Jesus on Dec. 31 than we were on Jan. 1.
Photo by Moyan Brenn