My three-year-old son went to the office with me the other day. It didn’t take him long to discover the stash of Tootsie Rolls in my desk drawer. After I found the fifteenth wrapper on the floor I turned to him and said, “You’re gonna turn into a Tootsie Roll!” Without hesitation he responded matter-of-factly, “No-no, Dad, I turn into Spider-Man.”
Last year people spent more than $12 billion on self-help books. It seems like, for $15.99, anyone can find the formula for You 2.0 – The Better Version of You. But what do we really get for the money? Have you really mastered the seven habits of highly effective people? Are you living your best life now? Today, will you win friends and influence people? How have you really grown from ingesting all these self-help books?
Don’t get me wrong. These books can be helpful. They can help us discover areas of our lives that need attention. Through them we can learn best practices for business, finance and leadership. But at the end of every self-help book the theme is the same. They reveal how you can identify ways to turn over a new leaf. And that’s the problem. I have a friend that says when you turn over a new leaf all you find is old dirt.
It’s true. And that’s what Colossians 2 is all about. It’s what makes reading Scripture different from reading self-help books. God has no intention of creating a better version of you. He wants to reveal Christ in you. Your life becomes a reflection of Him. It’s not a better you. It’s a whole new you. It’s not about turning over a new leaf. It about finding a new life. Take a look at Colossians 2:6-7:
“As you have put your trust in Christ Jesus the Lord to save you from the punishment of sin, now let Him lead you in every step. Have your roots planted deep in Christ. Grow in Him. Get your strength from Him. Let Him make you strong in the faith as you have been taught. Your life should be full of thanks to Him.”
Some day, my son wants to be Spider-Man. There’s no self-help book in the world that can make that happen. If you remember the story Peter Parker had an encounter with a genetically enhanced radioactive spider that changed him on a fundamental level. He didn’t become a better version of himself. He became Spider-Man.
That’s what God wants to do in you and through you today. He’s not trying to make you better. He’s trying to make you holy. He’s not trying to clean you up on the outside. He’s trying to renew you on the inside. His work isn’t cosmetic. It’s foundational. People who have a genuine encounter with God are never the same. Now, let him lead you in every step. Plant your roots deep in him. Get your strength from him. Let him make you strong in faith. This change on the inside will lead to change on the outside. It won’t be a better version of you. It will be you, renewed.
Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me everything I need for life and godliness through your son. Today, I ask you to strengthen my faith. Help my roots grow deep in you. Do something in me and through me that can’t be explained because of me. I don’t want to waste my time turning over new leafs or trying to build a better version of me. I’d rather learn to become an incredible reflection of you.
I love you, in Jesus name –