Does anyone remember Emily Post? Born in 1872 in Baltimore, Maryland, she became the voice of authority on rules of manners and etiquette. Because of her I would never consider passing the salt without the pepper. These two condiments are never to be “divorced” but must travel together around the dining room table.
I have been reading an excellent book called How People Change, by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp, and they’ve made me realize I’ve been “divorcing” two truths about change.
For a person to change, I would have said she should get a new way of thinking. Memorize Bible verses.
But Lane and Trip say:
“This emphasis on thinking as the solution to our problems fails to introduce the Person who has come not only to change the way we think about life, but to change us as well. We are more than thinkers. We are worshipers who enter into relationship with the person or thing we think will give us life. Jesus comes to transform our entire being, not just our mind. He comes as a person, not as a cognitive concept we insert into a new formula for life.”
The authors point out that commands about changing our thinking and our behavior are always nestled close to passages about the good news of Christ and his redemptive work within us.
Christ in us is the salt.
Changing our way of thinking is the pepper.
It would be more than bad manners to divorce the two.
I am wandering around the house this morning saying, aha, aha.
If we want to change, first we review the gospel basics.
Remember how we were hopelessly entrenched in sin and could not change ourselves?
Remember how Jesus came and covered up our sin with his own blood?
Remember how he said, Welcome to his kingdom and promised that we most definitely would change, not just a little but into the perfect, complete, blameless person we were always meant to be?
Remember how we gave him permission to move into our souls and take over renovations?
Now that we have the gospel like a fresh story in our minds, let us obey the commands to change our thinking. To stop being anxious, to trust, to love. And snuggled right up against those commands is the person of Christ, sleeves rolled up and doing the motivating and reminding and transformation.
“We are more than thinkers. We are worshipers…”
The two travel together.