But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.—Ephesians 4:20-24
Pretty much everybody has seen Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray plays a contemptible TV reporter who finds himself reliving the same day—Groundhog Day—over and over again. Each day begins with the radio alarm blasting Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You, Babe,” which in itself must represent one of the circles of Dante’s inferno.
But Murray grows through the experience, eventually building upon what he learned in previous iterations of that day. We see his rough edges slowly sanded away as he becomes a quintessential renaissance man, a friend and a hero, while simultaneously becoming an expert card-thrower, French speaker, ice sculptor and pianist. Finally, in the end, he deservedly gets the girl.
And on Groundhog Day, on which the movie is sometimes played continuously on some cable networks, potentially millions of people will relive that day vicariously.
Meanwhile, back in reality, real people are caught in a real endless loop, except that it’s one they don’t outgrow. Despite living through the consequences of their choices, they wake up each day to repeat the same mistakes. They remain spiritually stunted and allow themselves to become embittered by the fallout of their choices.
This is not a path to progress. It is a path to defeat and despair. And Jesus died to set you free from all that.
That manner of life is corrupt and stained by deceitful desires. These are the desires that tell you your way is better than God’s way and that God’s way will never satisfy like your way can.
And thank God for that.
God’s way is marked by true righteousness and holiness. It does not cave to temptations of the flesh. It does not cave to pressure to conform to the world or return to the toxic mindsets, habits and relationships you left behind. His way is marked by renewal and transformation.
When we put off our old selves—when we count ourselves as nothing and Jesus as everything—we immerse ourselves in His word, and what goes in comes out.
For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45
We put on the armor of God, and we abound in the fruit of the Spirit. We become less, and Jesus becomes more. We increasingly take on the likeness of God as the truths of His word drown out the lies of the things that have tempted us.
Does your every day seem like a replay of the previous day’s mistakes? It doesn’t have to be. But you can’t experience true change on your own power. The good news is, God’s power and grace are without measure. Tap into them today, and break the cycle. It’s only endless if you want it to be.