The Man in the Mirror
Even those who profess to have no religious affiliations still display this religious way of thinking. From the atheist to the buddhist or the wiccan, they all belong to the same school of thought: man can improve his own self.
Have you ever considered how much time, money, and resources are wasted every day as people try to "better" themselves? Just take a look at marketing ads as an example. Need to obtain bigger bust lines, bottoms, or lips? There's a surgery for that. Need to remove wrinkles? There's an injection for that. Need to enhance your concentration or intellect? There's a school or conference for that. Need to grow longer eyelashes? There's even a drug for that. Businesses make billions of dollars each year, by taking advantage of people's desires to mold themselves based on what looks good in their own eyes.
People spend their whole lives examining themselves in the mirror and trying to perfect what they don't like. Yet in the end, they die in the same wretched inward condition in which they lived, because the extent of their change can only be cosmetic.
I am not saying that it is wrong to desire to improve one's self; I am calling us to look at how this is really accomplished. God says that He is the Potter and we are the clay. He is the One who created us and He alone knows who we were designed to be. If we never find ourselves in Christ, then we will never fulfill our true purposes in life (Acts 17:28). We will seek each day to change who we are in some way or to improve, but never be satisfied. There will always be something that is yet not right because the power to truly change the essence of who we are only comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Even those who have been born again often live after this same religious mindset, attempting to change themselves by the power of their own will...and experiencing the crushing weight of defeat when they cannot. I will have more faith...I will stop losing my temper...I will be more loving...I will get over this addiction...I will change my behavior; and yet remain unable to gain these victories.
God's answer for man is not to struggle in restraining the old man, but to no longer be a slave to him. One of the reasons that there is freedom in Christ Jesus is because we are not responsible for perfecting ourselves. We are not saved so that we can try, but so that we can die (to our own thoughts and our own ways)...allowing the new life - that which is created after the image of Christ - to live. It is the mirror of God's word that changes us as we are conformed to His image by His Spirit. All that is required from us is to yield and receive. God does not need our effort. Rather, He awaits our impotence when we find our true rest in Him, so that He can complete the work He has begun in us.
Don't be deceived and trapped in the frustration of trying to perfect yourself. If you could do it, you would not need Christ. But live a true life of victory through faith in Jesus, which only comes by a complete dependence on God...even for deliverance from yourself.