"... put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
Two years before he passed away in 2004,Marlon Brando organized and taught a unique acting class. Over the course of ten days, Brando shared his acting secrets with both aspiring and established actors. What a rare opportunity! He called the class “Lying for a Living.”
When Paul encouraged the Ephesians to “put on the new self,” he wasn’t telling them to be actors or liars. Many Christians struggle with what Paul really meant. Does it mean we need to smile and be friendly all of the time? Certainly Paul is not encouraging phony living. He wants Christians to take off the old, sinful self and step into the new self, which was created after the very likeness of God.
Naturally, we cannot do this ourselves. But through the power of the Spirit, God “renews our minds” (v. 23), fills us with grace, and gives us a desire to please God. When Paul told the Corinthians he was working hard for the kingdom, he reminded them that it wasn’t he, but rather the “grace of God” that was at work within him (see 1 Corinthians 15:10).
Right attitudes and actions never come from our flesh, but through the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.