I highly recommend a book that Jim and I are currently reading together: how people change. It is written by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp.
The back cover reads: “What does it take for lasting change to take root in your life? If you’ve ever tried, failed, and wondered why, you need How People Change. This book explains the biblical pattern for change in a clear, practical way you can apply to the challenges of daily life. But change involves more than a biblical formula: you will see how God is at work to make you the person you were created to be. That powerful, loving, redemptive relationship is at the heart of all positive change you experience.”
I want to give you a taste of what is written in this book, but every chapter has so much …
The authors encourage us to look at our lives from the perspective of eternity:
“The Bible is a storybook that gives us everything from our origin to our ultimate destiny. God opens up the last chapter of the story for us and invites us to look in, to listen, and then to look back on our lives. The purpose of Scriptures like Revelation is not to provide maps and charts to determine when Christ’s return will take place. No, Revelation is in the Bible to help us understand our final destination, and thereby make sense of our lives here and now.
“The biblical story makes no sense without eternity. There has to be a better end than what we are living in right now! Sin has to be conquered. People have to be purified. The cosmos has to be restored. Anything less would be a universal defeat. All the suffering, brokenness, trial, sacrifice, and battle would make no sense. Paul says it powerfully in 1 Corinthians 15:19, ‘If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.’ If God isn’t taking us somewhere, following Christ has been a colossal waste of time. there has to be more than this — and there is!”
They encourage you to read Revelation 7:9-17 and then picture yourself in the scene of eternity. This is your destination!
“As you listen to the saints in eternity, can you see yourself there? If you are one of God’s children, you are in that scene. You actually see your future. This is the end of your story. How does the destination encourage you in the middle of your journey? How should the final chapter change the way you respond to the chapters in between? Where are you given new hope even when there doesn’t seem to be much hope around you now?
“You and I will only be able to understand what is valuable when we examine things from the perspective of eternity. The eyes of eternity alone can tell us what is worth living and dying for. Think very practically and personally for a moment. What are you living for? What is your goal in life? What is the end of your, ‘If only I had ____’? Every time you confront a friend, raise your voice at your child, or give your spouse the silent treatment, you hope to accomplish something. What is the goal? If you study for hours or work sixty hours a week, you have a purpose in mind. What hopes and promises are giving direction to your life?
“… you always look at your life from the vantage point of your hopes and dreams. You always have some goal or destination in mind, even when you don’t fully realize it. The question is whether the hopes, plans, goals, and promises that direct your actions and words are worthy of your calling as a child of God. Do they reflect God’s purposes to make you more like Jesus? Do they move you in that direction? Do they draw you closer to the One who will bring you there?
“Christianity’s change process does not revolve around a system of redemption but around a person who redeems. The Bible calls us to focus on Christ our Redeemer — the Word of God made flesh — who gives us the pattern and power for change. Christ is our hope. He links the forgiveness of the past to the growth of the present to the hope of the future. Hope for the present is rooted in the hope of eternity. It rests on him. The hope of eternity is Christ, and because I have him in my life now, I know he will empower me to complete the journey so that I can see him face to face.”
Encouraging words to live by.