He's ornery, tricky and deceitful. He's uncontrollable. He's desperately wicked. Worst of all, he's You!
I don't men to be hard on you but someone needs to confront you with the reality of your pitiful condition. Please do take it personal. It's God's diagnosis, not only of you, but of me too.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9.
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" Romans 8:7.
Of course, if you've been born again in addition to the old you there is also the new you. I guess we could say there are two you's. Not that you're schizophrenic, but you do definitely have two persons battling for the mastery in your life.
There are many folks however who try to live new without becoming new. They try to make the old man of sin live the new man lifestyle of righteousness. Though a futile pursuit, nevertheless, scores of undeniably zealous men and women keep on trying to go the do-it-yourself route. They mistakenly suppose God wants them to merely modify and reform the old person that they are. Or perhaps they just don't think about it carefully enough to realize that this is what they're doing.
There are three basic strategies that old-man-Christians use to deal with temptation and attempt to live the victorious life:
1. Magnify guilt. By focusing on their past failures, some people hope to make themselves feel so guilty that they won't feel audacious enough to sin again: "I'm so terrible. I can't believe I did that. I'm so low, so depraved, so vile. If I don't get my act together I'll end up lost for sure. I know I can do better. and I promise I will.
2. Increased sense of Duty. There is a line of complex reasoning designed to increase a sense of duty that goes something like this: "It's wrong and you know it's wrong, so don't do it, because it really is wrong, it's just plain wrong, so don't you dare do it since it's wrong and you know you shouldn't --even though you want to." (Versions may vary according to personality.)
3. Brute strength. Sometimes when we are trying to be Christians without Christ we come right up to the forbidden deed and stare it straight in its sinful eyes, clench our fists, grind our teeth and say, NOOOOO! Nooo! No, no, no.....oh noooooo."
(Have you been there? I'm sure we all have at one time or another, probably more than once. Keep reading, this will all end in a beautiful way. But you must make it to the end to find out.