© 2021Fall Series
You Can Change!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor Tuesday, 14 December 2021, Lesson 9, Part 2
Chip Ingram, Yes! You Really CAN Change
Devotional Time: “Change” Chapter 8 (pp. 167-175)
Personal Integrity – The changes God brings into our lives, affects our personal integrity. We should inevitably become more mature and spiritually grounded as a result of a change. This maturity has a course, and it involves our willingness to inculcate and obey the core spiritual values we have been taught. Spiritual maturity follows a pattern of formation, so it’s neither instant nor automatic. The personal integrity we attain through spiritual growth is important for our character development and Christian identity. The Apostle Paul offers the analogy of the athlete in training, as a description of the effort and commitment we must place in attaining spiritual growth and integrity (cf. I Corinthians 9:25-27, NLT). Paul used himself as an example, in which he could experience adverse consequences if he failed to discipline himself for the tasks required in his ministry. The spiritual practices (disciplines) are necessary in obtaining radical change in our circumstances. Meaningful change cannot come if we aren’t willing to apply the core values of the Christian faith to our lives. This is why Paul told Timothy, his mentee in the ministry, to give his all to the tasks before him (cf. I Timothy 4:15b-16, NLT) Pastor Chip Ingram says, “Sometimes we feel as if we are being pushed to the limits, but the goal is to reflect and restore our original design – to uncover the masterpiece our Sculptor already sees. We enter into training to transform into the people we are called to be.” Peter told the early Christians, because they were now in a saving relationship with God, they were obligated to put their best efforts first. How they treated others was also a mark of their Christian integrity (cf. I Peter 1:22-23, NLT).Our personal integrity should be representative of our Christian character. As in the early days, being a Christ follower should not be a mark of shame. The Christians Peter was addressing were under repression and reprisal, but they faced life with the joy of the Lord in their hearts. Life can be difficult, but the core values of our faith teach us that life’s contradictions are never final. There is always hope in Christ Jesus. (Cf. Colossians 1:27, “...Christ in you, the hope of glory.”)Paul says our speech and actions should be representative of Jesus Christ (cf. Colossians 3:17a, NLT). Integrity is inseparable from change. Our honesty to God, self, and others will build Godly character.
Spiritual and Emotional Control – Much of change is determined by our ability to control our attitudes, speech, and emotions. It is certain we can’t do this completely alone. The Holy Spirit lives in us, to renew our thoughts, attitudes, and to transform our behavior (cf. Ephesians 4:23-24, NLT). Pastor and author Chip Ingram says, “We enter into [spiritual] training to transform into the people we are called to be… Our trainer is the Holy Spirit. Like a master artisan, He already sees the image we are becoming. You cooperate with your trainer, but He’s the source of the change within you. You are submitting to being trained.” Ingram draws a distinction between “trying harder,” and “submitting to the Spirit.” We can’t become more mature and change by merely “trying hard, alone.” We are called to follow the will of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.” The scriptures instruct us to be “honest” with others, and especially to members of the body of Christ. This honest behavior is to be genuine, and it is at the core of a person’s spiritual identity (cf. Ephesians 4:25, NIV).Pastor Ingram says, “When you tell the truth…you’ll break the cycle of dishonesty and failure. Your integrity will flow from the inside and earn the respect of others.” Change can help us manage spiritual and emotional control of our behavior. Anger is an emotional response, which conveys our hurt, doubts, or fears. Unmanaged anger could be detrimental to a person’s integrity, spirit and health. Yielding to the counsel of the Holy Spirit will lead us to “manage” and “diffuse” unhealthy anger (cf. Ephesians 4:26-27, NLT). James says, “My dear brothers and sisters: You must be… slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires (cf. James 1:19-20, NLT).” James is referring to anger that’s out of control! Change and Christian maturity can also bring emotional stability. Also, refusal to provide for one’s self and family, when a person could have, in ancient times, was considered a mark of emotional instability. Christians were admonished to change the narrative in their lives, to be responsible and mature (cf. Ephesians 4:28, NIV; cf. also, I Timothy 5:8, NLT). Further, change means healthy communication; a wholesome attitude; and mature Christian behavior (cf. Ephesians 4:29-30, NLT; Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT).
What We Believe!
Change is a reflection of core spiritual values at work in us.
1. Change is the result of spiritual integrity and practice.
2. Change is reflected in our emotions and behavior.
I Corinthians 9:25-27, NLT
“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away,but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadow boxing. I discipline my body like an athlete,training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
I Timothy 4:15b-16, NLT
“Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”
I Peter 1:22-23, NLT
“You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.”
Colossians 3:17a, NLT
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus…”
Ephesians 4:23-24, NLT
“…Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God -truly righteous and holy.”
Ephesians 4:25, NIV
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to [your] neighbor,for we are all members of one body.”
“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”
Ephesians 4:28, NIV
“[Those] who have been stealing must steal no lon-ger, but must work, doing something useful with [their]own hands, that [they] may have something to share with[others] in need.”
Ephesians 4:29-30, NLT
“Don’t use foul or abusive lang-uage. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He has identified you as His own,guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”
Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage,anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted,forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”