Encouraged by “You Can Change”

If you’re not interested in changing sinful behavior and negative emotions stop reading now.

However, if you desire change and want to grow closer to Christ I encourage you to read on and pick-up Tim Chester’s encouraging and practical book You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions.  

Chester will challenge you with the gospel and God’s grace which is where change begins. We often hear (or think) that change begins with us, but it must begin with God’s grace and His transforming power working in and through us.

“You Can Change” is a good book to read with others in a one-on-one discipleship scenario, accountability group, or small group. The chapters are laid out with direct questions. For instance:

“What would you like to change?” Why? “How are you going to change?”

“When do you struggle? What truths do you need to turn to? What desires do you need to turn from?”

We all struggle with something (sin, fear of man, negative emotions, or not doing what we know we should). This book helps us identify what we need to change and helps us deal with it by focusing on the truth of scripture and God’s grace.

Chester reminds us to speak the truth to ourselves and “hold every thought captive.” He quotes the famous preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself.” We should constantly remind ourselves of the truth (which sets us free).

He gives us four life changing truths that we must consistently preach to ourselves:

  1. God is great – so we do not have to be in control.
  2. God is glorious – so we do not have to fear others.
  3. God is good – so we do not have to look elsewhere.
  4. God is gracious – so we do not have to prove ourselves.

Chester points out that “the number-one reason why people don’t change is pride, closely followed by hating the consequences of sin but actually still loving the sin itself.”  “Often we don’t change because we don’t really want to.” He states, “we avoid responsibility for our sin by minimizing it.” Yet, “true repentance grieves over sin, it never minimizes it.”

He goes on to write, “give up – give up on yourself. Repent of your self-reliance and self-confidence. Your second step is to rejoice in God’s grace – his grace to forgive and his grace to transform.”  This is so counter to our culture of  self-esteem and self-help and it’s a refreshing reminder that our hope and joy is in the Lord and not our ability.

So, what do you need to change? Are there areas of sin and pride that God is uprooting in your life? “What truths do you need to turn to?”

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