I would suggest that Christian living is hard because we have never been taught to live the Christian life. We have been taught a lot about the Bible. We know a lot of Bible stories from the Bible. We could give you a lot of Bible facts. We could even throw in a few Greek words and several dates. But, we have never been taught, systematically, step-by-step, how to live the Christian life.
Imagine a Canadian caterpillar chomping away on a plant in September. You whisper to this caterpillar, “You better get started. Winter is coming.”
“Where do I need to go?” responds the caterpillar.
How far is it?
He doesn’t really understand how far Mexico is. He doesn’t understand 3000 miles. But he thinks to himself, “I am going to have to try really, really hard.”
3000 miles would be a long way for any animal to migrate, but for a caterpillar, it seems impossible. And, of course, it would be impossible except for one thing. God created a caterpillar with DNA that allows it to enter the tomb of a chrysalis for a few weeks and come out a butterfly. As a butterfly, it will just do what butterflies do. Every year, millions of butterflies make this 3000-mile trek to a place they have never seen. Their secret is not trying really hard. Their secret is transformation. Once transformed, they just need to do what butterflies by the millions do every year. Once transformed, Jesus’ yoke really does become easy.
This is precisely the word Paul uses when he says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. It is also the word Paul uses in 2 Corinthians 3.18 when he says we are transformed by beholding Christ (ESV). Other passages indicate other ways that God transforms us. Here is a list, that will form the outline for this study:
- Transformed by training
- Transformed by the renewing of your mind
- Transformed by worship
- Transformed in community
- Transformed by habit
- Transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit
- Transformed by imitating a godly example
- Transformed by trying
- Transformed by faith
- Transformed by speaking the truth
- Transformed by pain
- Transformed by Sovereign Grace
Unless we have a working understanding of each of these principles, it will be almost impossible to live the Christian life. It won’t just be hard; it will be impossible. Impossible.
The book and study guide are both available on Amazon. The study guide is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.
This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.