This week we got rid of our old couch. It was too big for this house, sagging horribly, and really, really heavy. We had to disassemble it before we could get it outside: we removed the fold-out bed from the couch and carried the couch and the bed outside separately.
Once outside, I tried to put it back together. After maybe 15 minutes of struggling to get the metal frame back into the sagging wooden frame of the couch, I realized I was wasting my time. My wife had already called and arranged a garbage pick-up for the couch; it would be gone in 12 hours. So here I was, trying to repair a couch that we had already decided to throw away. More than that, we knew it would be picked up and left in the dump in less than 24 hours.
I remembered reading something by C. A. Coates about a man who keeps digging through the trash, revealing he doesn't really believe it's trash (Spiritual Blessings, pp. 34 - 35). And here I was, doing the same thing.
Really that's a good metaphor for our dealings with the flesh, isn't it? God's already given up on it, but we spend so much time and effort trying to make it better.
I've come to the conclusion that the hardest part of abiding in Christ is being content to abide in Christ. I have such a tendency to try and please God myself, rather than accepting my place "in Christ" with no righteousness of my own (Philippians 3:9).