Many Christians sincerely resolve to be better Christians; not once but many times; this is a mistake. The devil loves people like that because they are really saying that they can do the work of the cross themselves, which they can’t, and it gives the lie to the notion of the Fall, since if we can do the work ourselves, then there was no fall and therefore no need for salvation.
The fact is that there is nothing good in the natural man, he must be exterminated root and branch and completely rebuilt; there is nothing in man that can ever please God, nothing at all; he must die.
We need to leave that old man where he is, buried with Christ, and stop digging him up all the time and bringing him back to life and saying “we must do better”. God will do all for us that needs doing if we will let Him; He undertakes to put everything into us that He wants out of us. The whole Adam life is fallen and cannot be improved; it is poisoned by the serpent in root and branch and cannot live.
The whole scheme of redemption is that God must start again and make a new creation out of those coming to Him. Through the cross He aims to bring an end to the Adam life and build a new creation in the midst of the ruins. There is not even a divine spark left in the old man which can serve in any way in the new; all must be done over completely and absolutely. That really is the message of the cross. We can’t keep the flesh dormant; it must be crucified. If we try and suppress the flesh and keep it dormant it will keep coming back; it must be put to death.