Everyone has something in their life they want to change. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution, an addictive sin pattern, or just an annoying habit you are finally fed up with, the Bible states that change is possible. But it’s not easy. And certain changes can only be done through the power of Jesus Christ. Therefore, here are four Christ-centered, Christian ways to change your life.
Change Your Identity Through Christ to Change Your Life
The primary Christian way to change your life is to change your identity through the grace of Jesus Christ. At the core of Christian doctrine is the idea that who you are will determine what you will do. The world opposes this idea and states that to change yourself, you just need to change your actions. But again, Christianity states that to change your actions, your identity needs to change first. Jesus explains it this ways:
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43-45)
The Christian way to change your life is to change your very identity as a person through putting your faith (active trust) in Jesus Christ. When we believe Jesus is Lord, ask him to be our Lord, follow him as our Lord, and rely on him to transfer his righteousness to us rather than relying on our own good works, the Bible explains that we are transformed into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are born again when we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior (John 3:3, 16).
Change Your Beliefs About Your Identity in Christ to Change Your Life
After your identity has truly been changed when you become a Christian, the next most important change that must occur is your belief about your identity. The Christian way to change your life starts with a change in identity, but to carry this change through into action, we must also change what we believe about our self and about our desires.
Justification is an act done to us at the moment of our conversions. Justification means God transferred the holiness, perfections, and guiltlessness of Christ completely onto us. When God looks at us, he sees us with the purity of Christ. Sanctification, however, is the process by which we actually live out in action the justification that is completely ours in Christ. We are totally holy in Christ, but our life is not totally holy in our behaviors.
Our sanctification will grow the more deeply we believe in our justification through Christ. Sin occurs when we believe we want a pleasure outside of God’s will. To change your life and behavior the Christian way, you must change your beliefs about what you really want and about who you really are. But Christians do not believe in something that’s not true. Our justification in Christ is real, and the more deeply we believe this, the more it will show in our sanctification – the outward and visible actions of our ever changing lives.
If you desire to change your eating habits, you must believe that since you are a new creation in Christ, you desire to eat in righteous way, even when you feel like you want to eat in an unrighteous way. If you desire to change your sexual sin patters, you must first believe that you are no longer a person who finds pleasure in sexual sin, but now you are a child of God who finds pleasure in obeying your Heavenly Father. On and on it goes. The Christian way to change your life is to change what you believe about your identity.
Change Who Influences You to Change Your Life
One of the most significant Christian ways to change your life is to change the community you live in. I don’t mean the physical location of your house, but rather the social circles with which you spend the majority of your time. As the saying goes, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” We might think we are the exception to the rule, but no matter who we are, the people we choose to spend our time with will have a direct influence on our life and behavior patterns.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” Paul tells us “do not be deceived” because we all are tempted to deceive ourselves in thinking that we can keep unhealthy people in our lives and yet remain healthy ourselves. While we certainly can’t cut off everyone who is imperfect (because we all our imperfect), and while we should have people we are trying to help, we must also make sure we have a core community that is seeking to live the life in Christ we desire to live.
This is why the Christian way to change your life must involve the Church. I don’t mean a building, but the body of Christ. There’s no such thing as a solo Christian in the Bible. We are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). We need to help one another, and be helped by one another. To be detached from other Christians is to be detached from the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Change Your Life Through Christ Alone
The above Christian ways to change your life are just a small sample of the many ways the Bible teaches us on how to change. Of course we must also regularly pray and take the Bible into our hearts, we must read good Christian books, and we must live a life of serving others; but above all, we must remember that Jesus Christ alone is our hope.
To change our identity, we need Christ. To change our beliefs, we need Christ. To change our circle of influence, we need Christ. Above all, the Christian way to change your life is through Christ alone.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
We will never be able to change our life and behavior without the active power of Jesus. Jesus truly is the Christian way to change your life.