Time to Shed My Snake Skin
I found an unwelcome surprise outside my front door a few weeks ago: a two-foot-long shed snake skin.
Of course, I posted a photo on social media—not much else excitement during these days of pandemic “sheltering at home.”
Comments included this observation from a friend:
“With all the FL sun damage to my skin, I can’t help but think, wouldn’t it be nice if humans could do likewise.”
Hmmm…not a bad idea. After all, the beauty industry has been offering chemical facial peel products for years to help us “shed” our skin. But what if we took that wish a step further. What if our shedding didn’t stop with skin?
The Bible does tell us 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 4:22-24 ESV).
It’s not an easy process, is it? That “old self” doesn’t go willingly. And it’s certainly not something we simply wriggle out of. No, the old self clutches us in a death grip (literally!), refusing to go without a fight. Regardless of how hard we try and no matter how determined we are to change—”to put on the new self”—we fail.
We fail because if we were able to shed our old nature in our own strength, we wouldn’t need a Savior. We wouldn’t need Jesus.
I’m reminded of a passage from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Book 3 in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Eustace, a boy enchanted into a dragon recounts how he changed back into a boy:
“I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off . . . . and instead of just scales coming off here and there my whole skin started peeling off beautifully . . . . I looked down and saw that it was all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as it had been before . . . So I scratched and tore again and this under skin peeled off beautifully . . . . and exactly the same thing happened again . . . . so I scratched away for a third time . . . . but I knew it had been no good.”
Eustace learned the hard way that he could not change himself. He had to allow the lion, Aslan, to do it for him:
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off . . . . and there was I as soft and smooth as a peeled switch . . . . I’d turned into a boy again.”
The change in you and me comes through surrender. It occurs when we submit to God’s Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out as a result of the salvation found in Jesus Christ. Only He, the “Lion of Judah,” can peel away our old self to reveal the new nature He gives us.
Like Eustace, are you tired of trying to change and repeatedly failing? Are you frustrated with new year’s resolutions that don’t last past February? Will you allow God to do in you what you cannot do for yourself?
A snake can shed its skin, but not change its nature. We, on the other hand, cannot shed our skin, but at God’s doing, our nature can be changed. Not to become a better version of ourselves, but to become a new creation.
Say yes to the kind of shedding only God can initiate and complete in you and me!