Saturday, October 9, 2010

7 Ways to Grow in Christ

You Can Change: God's Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative EmotionsI have been reading You Can Change, by Tim Chester.  We all have areas of sin that we would rather not have, but we are powerless to change on our own.  And that is the author's point -- we cannot change on our own.  We are dependent on God's transforming power, that is available solely through faith in our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Much of the book outlines basic theology and principles of sin and sanctification, along with guidance for the proper perspectives and motivation for change.  But there is also a lot of practical application.  Chester has the reader focus on an area that he calls your "change project."  At the end of each chapter there are specific assignments for the reader.  This book would be a great resource for a Small Group or a Bible study.

In chapter 8, Chester gives seven things that reinforce faith.  He is clear to point out that these should not be thought of as personal achievements or a checklist, but should be a means of how God is growing us.  Our role is to repent and have faith; God strengthens our faith through these areas:
  1. The Bible.  "The Bible is the source of truth that counters the lies of sin that the world perpetuates." 
  2. Prayer.  "Praying and sinning will never live together in the same heart."
  3. Community.  We are to remind each other of truth, serve each other, provide accountability for each other, and more.
  4. Worship.  "Worship isn't just an affirmation that God is good. It's an affirmation that God is better."
  5. Service.  "Sin is fundamentally an orientation toward self. . . . Serving God and other people can help redirect us outward, taking our attention away from ourselves."
  6. Suffering.  It "reveals the true state of our hearts. It's God's diagnostic tool, preparing the way for the medicine of gospel truth."  And it gives us the choice to either get angry and bitter, or to find joy and peace in God.
  7. Hope.  We should spend time thinking about our future life in heaven.

Want to read more?  Buy a copy of You Can Change.

--  Joey Espinosa, Pastor of Children & Families

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Great list. I have a friend who often says, "If America ever faced true persecution (suffering), then you would begin to see true Christianity". I think it's easy to live half-hearted Christianity and slip into sin when things get easy.