Change is Possible
By Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp
CBN.com Why do so many Christians remain ineffective, unproductive, and unchanged by the power of the gospel and the promises of God for their lives? And, why don’t the commands and principles of Scripture seem to work in the real world? In their new book, How People Change, authors Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp strike a chord in the hearts of those who sometimes doubt that the grace of Christ is really powerful enough to produce good, lasting fruit in such a troubled world.
A changed heart is the bright promise of the gospel. Yet, there are many people who know the Lord but whose lives fail to produce the expected fruit of faith. Their lives are not characterized by peaceful, loving relationships, a sweet, natural, day-by-day worship of the Lord, a wholesome and balanced relationship to material things and ongoing spiritual growth. Instead, these believers leave a trail of broken relationships, a knowledgeable but impersonal walk with God, a struggle with material things, and a definite lack of personal growth.
In How People Change, Timothy and Paul show readers what’s wrong with this picture—and how they can revolutionize it. While explaining the biblical pattern for change in a clear, practical way, the authors give the answers to some of our most plaguing questions:
- What resources do we really have in Christ to deal with our heart struggles?
- What power does Christ give us as we battle subtle yet powerful idols?
- Why is the Cross the only place of hope if our greatest problems are within us?
- What difference does the gospel make in the here and now?
- How does the gospel help us respond to difficulties while at the same time giving us meaning, purpose and identity?
Rather than a simplistic explanation of the Christian life, How People Change is a celebration of the Lord and his daily provision of grace. The authors tenderly invite readers to rejoice in a grace that not only forgives, but also truly and forever changes us from the deepest, darkest corners of our hearts to the smallest action and every idle word.
The authors recently discussed their book.
Can people really change—not just on the surface, but deep down?
PAUL TRIPP: Not only can people change, they do. We wrote this book because we believe a changed heart is the bright promise of the gospel. When the Bible talks about the gift of a new heart, it doesn't mean a heart that is immediately perfected, but a heart that is capable of being changed. Jesus' work on the cross targets our hearts—our core desires and motivations—and when our hearts change, our behavior changes. It's amazing to watch people who once seemed stuck in a pattern of words, choices, and behaviors start living in a new way as Christ changes their hearts.
TIM LANE: As we wrote this book we were thinking about real people, including ourselves, who struggle with deep problems. We know that the grace of Christ is sufficient, because we've changed, and we've watched others change.
TRIPP: The Bible is shockingly honest and shockingly hopeful at the same time. God knows how ugly, messy, disastrous, and hurtful life can be. Right next to that honest picture of life, he puts the promise of real personal change. That’s an amazing combination. The hope doesn't compromise the honesty, and the honesty doesn't diminish the hope. We wanted How People Change to communicate the honesty and the hope of the gospel.
Are you breaking new ground in this book?
LANE: This is not new material. It's all in the Bible. And we are building on what others at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, especially David Powlison, have done. When you read this book we want you to think, "I didn't learn anything new; I saw how to apply old things in new and fresh ways." We want this book to help people connect the gospel to their lives, and see how that brings change at the deepest level.
Who should read this book?
LANE: This book is for normal, average Christians who are trying to live out the Christian life in their homes, workplaces, and churches. It is for people who have hit a wall in their Christian life and stopped believing that real change is possible. And it is for those who need to change and, at the same time, are trying to help others change.
Often I get stuck: I know what I am doing is wrong, but I keep doing it. How will your book help me?
LANE: We experience that same struggle. We wrote this book out of our need, not our success. Many times we stopped in the middle of a chapter and talked about our lives. Noticing what a powerful grip sin still has can be discouraging. But when you read Paul in Romans 7 and 8, you see that his struggle keeps him humble, and reminds him of how dependent he is upon Christ. He says in Romans 7: "Oh wretched man that I am! Who can save me?" Then Romans 8 is all about the gospel. God uses our struggle with sin to remind us of our moment-by-moment need for grace.
TRIPP: Because our struggle is so intense and because we are often blind to ourselves, we need community. God is willing to make community with us, as messed up as we are. We don't turn him off or drive him away. We're a mess, and we're angry with people who are a mess! But God moves toward us in mercy and grace, wraps his redemptive arms of love around us, and changes us. To do that, he uses his community; God has an amazing way of using broken, messed-up people to change broken, messed-up people. Once when I was angry, my wife Luella said to me, "You know, Paul, you are not seeing what is behind your anger." Then she told me exactly what was making me angry. She was giving me sight. I can't do that for myself. That's why humble, honest, approachable relationships are so important.
How did writing this book change you?
TRIPP: It has given me more courage. I don't need to be afraid of what I am facing, or what anybody else is facing, because Jesus has conquered death. He has made adequate provision for what we all face every day. We can get up in the morning and be hopeful. We don't need to live fearful, worried, tentative lives.
LANE: Writing this book made me realize again that the most important thing in life is being united with Christ. Remembering all the past, present, and future blessings that are mine in him has changed the way I think and act. I know, in a deeper way, that this is the only thing that brings change to others.
TRIPP: This book is all about Christ. We are always measuring our potential. Because "I no longer live and Christ lives in me," we no longer measure our potential by the size of our problem or by our track record. The gospel is the announcement of a new potential that is not a system or a technology of redemption: it is a person. His name is Christ, and he literally resides inside us. He alters my potential as a human being. That is the message of this book.
Purchase your copy of How People Change .
Courtesy of The B&B Media Group.
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