How to Make Changes that Last a Lifetime

By Chip Ingram

How often have you heard anyone say, “I want to learn how to be a terrible parent”? Or, “I want to become a bad spouse”?  Probably not many times if any. It seems that as humans, we possess an innate desire to constantly improve ourselves. We want healthier eating habits, better looking bodies and more successful relationships.  But behind our constant quest for self-improvement is God’s original design for our lives.

The Bible says we were created in God’s image and therefore hardwired for spiritual transformation and growth.  Yet, as Christians, many of us are stuck in the cycle of “do good, try harder then… fail.” Consequently, we become frustrated to the point where we are ready to throw in the towel of our faith.

During my 20 years being a pastor, I’ve seen many people’s lives radically changed after they came to know Christ. Yet, sadly, I’ve also met thousands of Christians who were desperate for change in certain areas of their life, but just didn’t know how to do it. Maybe you can relate and have also wondered… is real life change possible?

Here’s the good news: Yes, it’s possible! But life change doesn’t happen by trying harder or doing more spiritual activities.  Real life change happens when we allow Jesus to live His life through us.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul makes it clear that we’re called to live a life that reflects the character of God. And he addresses all believers — not just the pastors or leaders in the church. He writes: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” (4:1)

So, how we do this? In order for Jesus to live his life through us, we must living and actively serving in a healthy community.  Paul goes on to say, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (v. 2-3) Although the process of life change won’t occur without God’s power in our lives, it also requires our active participation in sacrificial, other-centered relationships in healthy community.  When we surrender our own agenda and our self-centeredness God comes in and does something amazing and completely transforms our lives.

We also need to recognize that life change is a process – a spiritual metamorphosis. Similar to the life cycle in which a caterpillar is transformed into an adult butterfly, a spiritual metamorphosis must occur in the life of every believer who wants to mature.  God’s plan and desire for each of our lives is to “morph” us into being more like Him.

Our spiritual metamorphosis can be divided into three main stages:

  1. Spiritual Birth (“the caterpillar”) Our transformation begins with our new life in Christ and it continues as we allow God’s grace to fill our lives and depend on Him for strength.
  2. Spiritual Maturity (“the chrysalis, or cocoon”) — This is the crucial stage where Jesus progressively becomes our Lord and we “grow up” in Christ. It’s here that our identity and view of God becomes clearly defined. And this only happens through serving others and growing in community.
  3. Spiritual Reproduction (“adult butterfly”) – God wants to use us to love others and to testify that His Word is real. We’re all called to grow in maturity so that we can pass on our knowledge and experience of God’s love to others both inside and outside the church.

This week, we will begin the new series, The Miracle of Life Change. In it, we will discuss how life change is truly possible. We’ll identify the barriers that can hold us back from receiving God’s best and being the people that God has always destined us to be. My hope is that as we embark on this exciting journey of spiritual metamorphosis we would eagerly look forward to experiencing the freedom we have in Christ!

Keep Pressin’ Ahead,

Chip Ingram
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge


Written By

Chip Ingram

Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge

Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.

More Articles by Chip

Like what you're reading?

Get free sermon MP3s, devotionals, blog content and more. Join our email list.