Our homegroup recently began the series How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp. It is a great introduction into the biblical goals of what God wants to do in our lives and how he wants to do it. I read the following quote in the How People Change Workbook and found it to be an insightful summary.
We look at our lives and decide where change is needed and what it should look like. The problem is that even our best definitions of change fall short. Often our desires for change aren’t fundamentally wrong; they just don’t run deep enough. The Bible confronts us with a hard-to-accept reality: The change most needed in our lives isn’t change in our situations and relationships but in us. The thing God is most intent on rescuing us from is ourselves. God knows that what messes up relationships and situations is people, and people are the objective of his loving and lifelong work of change.
We are often at odds with our wise and loving Lord because the change he is working on is not the change we have dreamt about. We dream about change in it, while God is working the midst of it to change us. What does he want to change us from and to? He wants to change us from people who “live unto themselves” to people who are literally like him. Peter say it in the most amazing way! “That…you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4). This is real change! My selfish, sinful nature being replaced by his divine nature! God is shaping me into his own image. In the mud and muck of life, he is right beside me and his focus is me. In the middle of it all, he is radically transforming my heart by his grace, so that I am able to think, desire, act, and speak in ways consistent with who he is and what he is doing on earth. Positive personal change begins to take place when my dreams of change begin to line up with God’s purposes for change. Leaving behind goals of personal comfort and self-fulfillment, I begin to reach out for Christ, desiring to be more and more like him each day. As I do this, I become more and more prepared for my ultimate destination—eternity with him. (pp. 6-7)