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Is a Changed Life Really Possible

Written by Chips Blog on . Posted in Chip Ingram

<p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><br /> If there&rsquo;s one thing we all have in common, it&rsquo;s that we all want to change for the better.<em> </em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">I don&rsquo;t know many parents that say, &ldquo;I really want to strive to be the worst parent,&rdquo; or couples who say to one another, &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s allow our marriage to crumble.&rdquo; And rarely &ndash; if ever &ndash; will you hear anyone say, &ldquo;My resolution this year is to gain a lot of weight and eat as unhealthy as possible!&rdquo; </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Instead, most of us are looking for ways to improve our lives and ourselves. There&rsquo;s a multi-billion dollar self-help industry that proves this. Whether it&rsquo;s improving our relationships or learning how to better manage our anger, it&rsquo;s evident with all of the self-help books and seminars out there that <em>there&rsquo;s something inside of each of us that longs to change for better. &nbsp;</em></span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">That desire for positive change and improvement is in our DNA because we&rsquo;re made in the image of God.</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;"> And His plan for each of us is that we <em>continuously</em> <em>change</em>.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Romans 12:2 says, <em>&ldquo;<span class="textrom-12-2">Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God&rsquo;s will is&mdash;his good, pleasing and perfect will.&rdquo;</span></em></span></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">This word &ldquo;transform&rdquo; is the very same word used to describe the drastic transformation that happens when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The word is <em>metamorphosis</em>. And the Holy Spirit uses this same word to describe God&rsquo;s intention and command for every one of His spiritual children.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">God&rsquo;s goal for the Christian&rsquo;s life is that we would be <em>transformed</em> into His image.</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;"> This is normal Christianity! </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Yet quite often our efforts for change &ndash; both physically and spiritually&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 15px;">&ndash;</span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;don&rsquo;t work. Statistics show that most people who lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, end up gaining it all back, and those who get in shape, get back out of shape &ndash; quickly. People who abstain from drugs eventually have relapses. And those who come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior rarely <em>live</em> like Christians. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We may sincerely want to change, but we&rsquo;re rarely successful. Many of us at some point in our lives have wondered: <strong>&ldquo;<em>Is it really possible to have lasting life change?&rdquo;</em></strong></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">The answer is, <em>&ldquo;Yes!&rdquo;</em> God has given us everything we need to be completely transformed. The Bible teaches and God promises that when a person is born of the Spirit and lives in vital union with Christ that <em>He</em> will radically change us from the inside out. This is a process and a journey. Yet most of us don&rsquo;t understand the process and we don&rsquo;t have the tools for the journey.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Ephesians 4 is about how real life change really works and how we can experience it. In it, the Apostle Paul urges believers to <strong><em>&ldquo;<span class="texteph-4-1">live a life worthy of the calling you have received</span>.&rdquo;</em></strong> <strong>(v. 1)</strong> </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Most of us don&rsquo;t know what our calling is &ndash; we haven&rsquo;t truly grasped the amazing truth and reality that we&rsquo;re filled with the Holy Spirit, we&rsquo;ve been chosen, we&rsquo;re deeply loved, accepted, and forgiven by God, and we have a purpose. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">In light of all that we&rsquo;ve been given as co-heirs with Christ, we are to let Jesus have full freedom to live His life through us. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">So often we think the best way to live the Christian life is by doing good activities and trying hard to be good. It&rsquo;s always about <em>do, do, do</em>. We focus only on reading our Bible, praying, and attending church, etc. Although all of these things are beneficial, simply doing them is not enough to truly change us. </span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Real change is not about duty and activity&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-size: 15px;">&ndash;</span><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;it&rsquo;s about <em>other-centered</em> <em>relationships</em>, which can only happen in authentic community. </span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Places of community are our families and our small groups. But we have to be willing to be authentic &ndash; to show up and bring our true selves. Only then can radical transformation occur.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">This week we&rsquo;re beginning the series, <strong><em>Transformed: The Miracle of Life Change</em></strong>. In it, we&rsquo;re going to unpack what it looks like to live out of the place of relationship rather than religion. We&rsquo;ll learn how to break out of destructive sinful patterns so that we can become the people we&rsquo;ve always longed to be. It&rsquo;s my prayer that through this series we&rsquo;ll move from experiencing the frustration of failure to the freedom we have in Christ.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Keep Pressin' Ahead,<br /> Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor<br /> Living on the Edge</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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