For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we also live with him. (Romans 6:6-8)
It is easy at times to get mixed up and start believing that I can actually rid my life of sin by trying to eliminate it at the surface rather than dealing with it at its core. When I try to take my actions, behaviors, or patterns and simply try to stop doing them, I am fighting a losing battle. I can cut them off at the surface, but since they are rooted much more deeply, they will grow right back. Paul knew this well and reminds us of it right here in Romans 6; that if we really want to rid our lives of its "slavery to sin" we must do it at its core. We must crucify the old self, rather than just trying to crucify our sinful behavior. This crucifying of the old (false) self involves a much deeper work. It involves naming that self, recognizing where and how we have believed that that is who we truly are, and determining to kill that false name(s) we live by in order to truly believe, and be convinced of, and live according to, the new (true) self (name) that God has bestowed upon us. This false self, whatever his or her name may be, must die; it must be nailed to the cross with Jesus. Then, and only then, will this body of sin be done away with, and we will have the possibility of no longer being slaves to sin. That is the dying that we are invited to during this Lenten season; dying to (old) self that we might live (anew) to God.