A news clipping carried this anecdote about planning for a new church building. “A certain congregation was about to erect a new church edifice. The building committee, in consecutive meetings, passed the following resolutions:
(1) We shall build a new church.
(2) The new building is to be located on the site of the old one.
(3) The material in the old building is to be used in the new one.
(4) We shall continue to use the old building until the new one is completed.”
Try to figure that out! This story reminds me of the contradictions of trying to live our new life in Christ using “old materials” in an “old location.”
Many believers in Christ have dedicated themselves to living a holier life by using the “old materials” of the flesh and self-effort. This attempt is a lost cause, for Paul declared in Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” And he rebuked the legalistic Galatian church asking, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).
Instead, we need to walk in the power of God’s Spirit: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). This new source of life and power is in direct contrast to the self-life.
It is impossible to successfully renovate your life by the strength of the flesh: “… You can work throughout your life and never get your flesh cleaned up. Christ didn’t come to improve the flesh; he came to execute it and to give us new life. Trying to clean ourselves up is merely turning to the law–the ultimate exercise in futility.” 
Optimism for spiritual victory is based on the adequacy of Christ who indwells every believer by His Spirit (Rom. 8:11). “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
Similarly, we cannot experience abundant life in Christ by sticking to our “old location“. In Christ we have a new identity and citizenship–a new spiritual “location.” “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
And Colossians 3:1 calls us to focus our attention on this new spiritual location: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).
F.J. Huegel wrote of the implications of our new position in Christ: “Now when by faith we rise to claim our place in the heavenlies, our spirits are released from the thraldom [bondage] of the ‘flesh-life’ … We are no longer in bondage to ‘self.’ We are set free. Our life is no longer lived at the circumference. It flows from the center to the circumference. Thus it is that we truly come into our own [develop our full potential in Christ].”
Christ promised to build His church (Matt. 16:18). This is the primary mission of this present age of grace (Eph. 3:1-12). As God’s grace is essential to the corporate building of His church, it is essential to your personal growth and victory. Let us claim His promise: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
With the new resource of God’s indwelling Spirit and the new location of our heavenly position in Christ, our plan for growth will not contradict reality but will cooperate with it.
Our Father, we realize the need to exchange our plans for growth for Yours. Thank you for our new identity and position in Christ. We depend upon You to complete that good work You have accomplished in our salvation. In Christ’s name, Amen.
 Bob George, Classic Christianity p.162; cf. Rom 7.
 Bone of His Bone, p.59.