Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Change?

Last week I started the first day of the "shred" and book club. I received many private responses to my post on forgiveness. I obviously hit a hot spot and boy was I tested last week. Since I have been baring my soul and struggles to you.. today I thought I would take a break and answer the question.. WHY CHANGE?

I did not have many responses to participate in the book club (we are reading, How People Change). I don't know if is because you really don't want to change (am I getting hotter) or if you are just too busy to participate.. anyway... I decided to keep myself accountable and work on the things that NEED TO CHANGE in my life (which consist of ALOT).

Next week, I will again bare my soul with another HUGE struggle of mine, but this week I want to give an excerpt from How People Change, answering the question.. Why do I need to change? I would love your thoughts..

Why Change?
Tripp and Lane, the authors, give "Five Gospel Perspectives" in directing their book How People Change. I thought I would give an excerpt from each perspective.. to answer the question.. Why Change?

Perspective #1: The Extent and Gravity of our Sin
It has been said that the doctrine of sin is one doctrine you can prove empirically, yet we all tend to minimize it. The struggle to accept our exceeding sinfulness is everywhere in the church of Christ. We accept the doctrine of total depravity, but when we are approached about our own sin, we wrap our robes of self-righteousness around us and rise to our own defense.

Scripture challenges this self-righteousness with clarity and power: "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Gen.6:5) and " 'There is no one righteous, not even one' " (Rom. 3:10). The effects of sin twist every thought, motive, desire, word and action. This disease has infected us all, and the consequences are severe.

Perspective #2: The Centrality of the Heart
That is why the Bible is very clear that God wants our hearts. Only when God has your heart does he have you. As much as we are affected by our broken world and the sins of others against us, our greatest problem is the sin that resides in our hearts. That is the message of the gospel is that God transforms our lives by transforming our hearts.

Perspective #3: The Presents Benefits of Christ
Our hope is not in our theological knowledge or our experience within the body of Christ. We are thankful for these things, yet we hold onto one hope: Christ. In him we find everything we need to live a godly life in the here and now. Paul captures it so well: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal. 2:20)

Perspective #4: God's Call to Growth and Change
What is the goal of change? It is more than a better marriage, well-adjusted children, professional success, or freedom from a few nagging sins. God's goal is that we would actually become more like him. He doesn't just want you to escape from the fires of hell- though we praise God that through Christ you can! His goal is to free us from our slavery to sin, our bondage to self, our functional idolatry, so that we actually take on his character!
(2 Peter 1:4)

Perspective #5: A Lifestyle of Repentance and Faith
God has blessed you with his grace, gifted you with his presence, strengthened you with his power, and made you the object of his eternal love. Because we belong to him, we live for his agenda. And if change is his agenda, then repentance and faith is the lifestyle to which we have been called.
There are always new sins for the Christian to address and new enemies to defeat. The Christian life makes God's work of change our paradigm for living, while we celebrate the grace that makes it possible. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ: (Titus 2:11-13)

I love how they lay out why we need to change, but I wonder.. with all the power we have through the gospel of Christ and his "life-changing" power.. why do so many Christians live in defeat? Why have we not allowed Christ to truly CHANGE us? I think the answer is seen in "perspective #1". We have become "self-righteous" and don't see the depravity of our own sin. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other "Christians" and not to CHRIST.

Another reason is... we hold a low view of Scripture.. and high view of ourselves. It amazes me how I can justify sin.. especially the "little" sins. (as if there is such a thing). There are scriptures that talk about gluttony, coveting, wanting "things of the world", discontentment, selfishness. (My struggles.. well, a few of my struggles.. I have plenty more!). For some reason, we as "Christians" only focus on the "big" sins. If we aren't doing those..then we are OK.

NO!! The effects of sin twist every thought, motive, desire, word and action. This disease has infected us all, and the consequences are severe.


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