What’s the test of true change in your life? Whether you like it or not, your best self and your worst self are on full display in front of your family and closest friends. It’s in these relationships where it’s easy to slip back into your ingrained behaviors and habits. So, the test for true change … ask those closest to you if you’ve really changed at all.
You might remember, at the start of the season, Jamie and Heather wanted to focus on reflecting their internal, emotional, and spiritual work in their closest relationships and families. So, did they succeed? In this episode, they invite a special guest, their producer Chris Munch, to answer the question.
Did We Change at All?
(Three Truths for Real Life Change)
As Jamie and Heather have worked on truly changing patterns of dysfunction, they have walked away with three foundational truths for life change.
Check ’em out below …
1. You can’t change without Jesus.
(Like, really. You can’t.)
We know we know—You’ve heard this before. But we’re not talking about just having friends or accountability partners (although, relationships are a vital part of growth—more on that later). We’re talking about the foundational, essential ingredient for life change—JESUS.
THERE IS NO LIFE CHANGE WITHOUT STEPS TOWARD JESUS.
There is so much freedom in recognizing that you are wholly dependent on God. It’s only in surrendering to Him that any good change will occur in your life.
Though each season of life may look different and present different challenges, your life’s goal should remain the same: Move toward Jesus (one step at a time).
Moving toward Jesus looks a little different for everyone—we all start at a different place and move toward Him at a different pace. But ultimately, it comes down to allegiance to Him in every thought, every habit, and every relationship—You could call that, keeping in step with the Spirit.
Life change is a result of keeping in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5v16-18, 19-26)
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want…
The acts of the flesh are obvious:
Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is:
Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit…
Take a step toward Jesus:
When is the last time you prayed about the life change you were looking for? We often try to white-knuckle our way through change. Only to find, we’ve made a very small dent in the change we wanted.
There’s no change without Jesus. So, today, we invite you to stop and ask Him for help. Try praying this simple prayer: “God, I need you. Show me how to trust you at this moment.”
2. You can’t change without joy.
Life change isn’t always easy. There are so many ways we can fall back into dysfunctional patterns of thinking and behavior, because if we aren’t actively working toward health, then we’re actively moving away from it.
And as crazy as it sounds, in order to truly persevere, you have to have a foundation of joy.
In the book, The Other Half of Church, Jim Wilder and Michel Hendricks, explain, “Trying to do emotionally taxing work with an empty (joy) tank is like running a marathon without having eaten food for a month.” Joy doesn’t make things easy, but it gives us the strength to endure.
What is persistent joy?
By definition, persistence is always hard. No, like really. Check it out: Persistence is defined as “the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.”
How can there be joy when you’re angrily yelling at your kids, or when you don’t feel heard or seen by your spouse?
In moments when you feel out of control, joy is surredner. It is the declaration, “Lord, I need you.”
The fact that He never leaves us (even at our worst): That is joy.
Create space for persistent joy:
If joy looks like surrender, how can you stay surrendered throughout your day? It might look like this:
- Morning prayer
Before you scroll or have your morning coffee, pause and give your day to God. Pray, “Father, help me see where you are working today.” Then listen throughout your day for what He says.
- Re-center at lunch – Pray the Lord’s Prayer
- Evening evaluation – Before you go to bed, pause and evaluate your day. Use these journal prompts: Where was I close to God? Where did I feel distant?
3. You can’t change without authentic connection (Bring Your Whole Self)
Think about the times in your life where you’ve grown the most? For most of us, it’s in the classroom or on a team. Why? Because committed community is an essential component of growth.
The only problem is, most of us have … well, “less than committed” communities. We have “half selves” we present to the world.
So, what do we do? We have to learn to share our feelings without fear of being rejected or ignored. When you can trust someone with the good, the bad, and the ugly, you can trust them to help you grow.
Practicing authentic connection with God.
A great place to practice bringing your whole self is in time spent with God. When you feel secure in the unconditional love He gives, even though we will inevitably let Him down, you are able to be more trusting in your earthly relationships.
We’ve talked about this subject a lot in past seasons, so to go a little deeper, tap here: If I tell you my secrets, will you still accept me?
So, start practicing!
Thanks for checking out Life in Motion. You can text “Life” to 23101 to let us know what you’re learning in this season.
Check out where we started:
You can find Chris Munch on Instagram and Tik Tok at @chrismunchcomedy
COTMU is designed to equip followers of Jesus to take their discipleship journey to the next level. Learn more: https://cotmu.churchonthemove.com/