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Yes! You Really CAN Change - The Role of Spiritual Training in the Transformation Process, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2021 6:00 am

Yes! You Really CAN Change - The Role of Spiritual Training in the Transformation Process, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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April 15, 2021 6:00 am

Just like physical training develops muscle and endurance, spiritual training develops godly character and victory over destructive habits.  Chip begins a 4-day journey into the role and power of spiritual training in the transformation process.

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Hi this is Chip Ingram with Living on the Edge and I want you know that God taught me something.

A number of years ago that literally took my spiritual life to the next level by me. Quite honestly, I was a pastor I was stuck there were certain things that I just didn't see change and then I was introduced to a concept is a concept called spiritual training. It will revolutionize my life. That's what I want to share with today. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with shipping Living on the Edges of international discipleship focused on helping Christians what Christians daily teaching and were in the middle of chip series.

Yes, you really can change the idea of training brings to mind the sports in order to be successful athletes go through rigorous preparation. Every competition how does that relate to our current series chips about the Telus open your Bible. If you have one Ephesians chapter 4. Let's join himself or his message.

The role of spiritual training in the transformation process. Despite some of the radical transformation that happened early on in most people's Christian lives. There's these nagging areas, there's areas that you try and try and try and try and try but they don't change some of the outer big stuff sometimes gets cleaned up but you is outbursts of anger or the workaholism or pleasing people work codependency or or there's just people that you know what you just find yourself you really love God your sincere you're actually reading your Bible, your praying. You joined a small group, but there are just pockets are closets in your life want to change and you have tried very hard and you're stuck what don't you know that we all have areas like that and the reason this is so important is because how we think about that and how God actually works to transform those things is different than most people to understand how that works.

In fact I would say probably the first 10 years I was a Christian. I made some progress in some of those areas almost by random chance, but I couldn't articulate what happened or why until I had a situation with one of my sons my youngest son Ryan. He gave me permission in this bench is going to tell a story. I can still remember sitting on the floor and my son had what an older translation says is a besetting sin when he was a young guy love God mean at 1011 years old, he's getting up reading the Bible's leading worship. Other times, in junior high. Although he doesn't like school and is not very disciplined. He's this young guy with a great heart. But this besetting sin is every little kid goes through a season of lying.

At least my forwarded but they usually grow out of it, but Ryan this shortcut. This besetting sin was whether his homework was due to work he was supposed to do that he got into a pattern. He got into a habit of lying. In fact, for like four years and he was really good. I mean he was he would lie so much that he actually tell me later that I lied about everything so much. I became convinced of my own lies and that I was asking so your homework to hell yeah got it taken care of and then you know his report card would come or you talk to so-and-so.

I mean perpetual said.

I mean I disciplined him.

I rewarded him. I grounded him.

If you're apparently never had one of these things, you know I did everything you can do as a parent and I mean I was just frustrated and put a robe reaching our relationship is that I never knew I could trust and in one of just a night three years of this not done everything I can do. I'm literally sitting on the floor he's sitting on his bed in a breakthrough came as as I'm sitting on the floor and literally tears coming down my eyes and tears coming in. I mean you just keep lying and lying and lying and a member him looking down at me and says dad I'm trying as hard as I can.

What you do. I've prayed I've memorized couple versus Ascot. I can't stop what you do when you try as hard as you can and you just can't change the member in that moment, I thought to myself.

Number one on his dad and he wants a really good answer from his dad.

Number two on the pastor right so I should have a good answer and I'm thinking I don't. What do you do when you're trying as hard as you can and you really love God and you're doing what what you know to do your in the Scriptures you renewing your mind. But certain things won't change. And as he said that and I'm feeling this overwhelming in adequacy as a father and as a pastor to give a good response. I'm praying was like superquick phrase in your mind of God, give me wisdom, give me wisdom, give me wisdom and he's crying and bawling and he's got a look at me like, well, dad, and God brought something to my mind. I've been studying it privately. But all the pieces came together in that moment Ryan relax. What is of relax. I got the answer. You do, you got the answer is I want you to do all pick up after school tomorrow.

Load your gym bag and what you put a pair of sweats you tennis shoes everything a gym bag topic you is what I had to teach my son was there certain things that no amount of trying harder and sincere can be will bring about change certain things are going to require training and so I pick them up after school and we started in the corridors that were not had Thomas said no to go someplace different.

The time I had a good friend. He was Mr. universe for number of years called names Dave Draper the own world. Jim other in Santa Cruz and he gave me a free membership and and so we walk in the world. Jammin hi Dave how you doing today flight coming days will this not, please hear this is a gym not a small there is no spandex anywhere. In fact, there are guys with big leather belts like this and is not a lot of machines and there's just a few cardio areas. This is like free weights, guys, lots of grunting. Probably few steroids in the back room, and I mean when they drop the way to Bouma mobile. And these guys look like they were born on these weight machines. So I walked in as we think Ryan there really big, and ending up nave lessons you think they were born that way. No dad said I don't either. What can your son so we been lifting in the garage with his older brothers ahead and lay down on the bench press we got warmed up and I knew what he could lift and so I took about 5 to 7 pounds on each and on what he could lift so I knew we could hold it but he could lift and so I said get down son William. So he gets down to the Cairo list a few reps of this okay okay here you go. Okay, ready son okay okay press, press, press, press, press okay, ready let it down okay okay not press it up and you've ever done low weightlifting and if you know it's just, you know, when you start to shake so he shaking and now it's coming down closer and closer to his neck, closer and closer to his neck, his mother would not be pleased at this moment and and so as he's laying down there in his face is red is coming close to his neck. I get over them and you have got my hands in case you know I don't want to his neck, and I start screaming, Ryan try harder, try harder, try harder and finally it's like inches from his neck and his arms are shaking down. I'm trying as hard as I can.

I lifted off. I said never forget that we sat there together and he was like overwhelmed and sweaty. I said Ryan me ask something you see all these guys how you think they got the way they got what I think they come here a lot I think you're right.

So let me ask if I would take maybe 10 pounds off each hand and you did three sets of eight or 10 today and it was a Monday we come back Wednesday. Do three sets of eight or 10 we come back Friday.

Do three sets of eight or 10. The next week we come back and you do three sets of eight or 10 made we had a pound or two you think in three months you could lift that extra five or 7 pounds and you can all yeah dad I'm sure I could do that, that's no problem. You know, my older brother Jason. He could lift 100 3040 pounds need is almost 300 hours the wrestler said Ryan.

Listen carefully you have everything in your body to lift about weight but no amount of trying hard will lift that weight right now you have to go into training. You have to develop what God has given you, and here's what I want you to know some of your anger issues. Some of your addiction issues. Some of your people pleasing issues.

Some of your alcohol and prescription drug issues. Some of your workaholism issues. Some of the issues that we all have that we all kinda keep over here and in your stocking. You really haven't seen change. I want you to understand. No amount of trying harder and working to go into training to talk about five habits to cultivate holiness from heart to there certain things when you go into training. They literally become habits you have spiritual supernatural responses to certain things that right now our besetting sins of others. A study done by Duke University drill is 40% of all your behavior. You don't think about is called habit me think about how mean like how many of you really thought through very specifically how to brush your teeth this morning. You got it down. I mean it wasn't like you got up okay I think you pull the brush out this angle carefully. Take the tube off can I go to work and said I want just enough here put the water on lightly to sprinkle under it. Begin with the molars up and down 45. Does anybody think about any of that stuff now when you teach her to her three-year-old to brush your teeth. You do all that habits the power of habit.

Research tells us that every habit has a queue or craving.

There's a routine and there's a reward.

Your besetting sin has become a habit in your life.

It's just like when when God wanted to do an amazing miraculous thing with the children of Israel. Certain things he has this big deliverance and so you see his power and then there's a process and a journey where your character gets developed. But there's sort of a grinding it out and doing things over time become a habit.

So when God takes the children of Israel. What happens what you do. The miracle of the Jordan parts Jericho dramatic fall supernatural. He and then for decades. What they do for decades. They get up and they going to training and they do battle in inch by inch they take more more territory. And that's a good picture of sanctification. What happens in our lives is someone to help you begin to break some of those habits you don't even think about begin to analyze what's really going on and as you do. These are very critical.

First and foremost, here's training station number one. The benchpress of spirituality is this it be honest, speak the truth in love. Paul picks up where he talked about in verse 15 versus speaking the truth in love, were to grow up in all aspects into him who is the head, even Christ. Therefore, verse 25 in to make the application laying aside falsehood, speak the truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another spiritual training station number one is honesty, personal integrity, this isn't just your speech, but all aspects of honesty, integrity, how you live what you say but especially you to put off falsehood, your training command is to speak the truth in love, speaking the truth but doing it in love not speaking the truth to hurt people speaking the truth to build relationships. The training action as you put off falsehood. This word falsehood is well beyond. This isn't just lying. The word falsehood has the idea of speech, deceit, exaggeration, the falsehood that comes from white lies the falsehood of silence Arthur times were someone saying something and you completely disagree, but in your silence.

You communicate that you agree with them since put off falsehood to notice the renewal as you recognize your shared membership in God's family put off falsehood but notice that the difference in thinking with your neighbor, for we are members of one another.

See at the end of the day.

The reason why Ryan lied to me because it always produces short-term relief and long-term consequences. I didn't do my homework but I lie about it so I'm not in trouble right now, but the one thing that it did in our relationship is what it violated trust the commodity of every human relationship, whether it's parent to child.

Whether it's your marriage partner. Whether it's a friend, whether it's a roommate.

Whether it's a business.

The commodity of every relationship is trust. Once trust is gone. You have no relationship once you lie to me a few times one. I will not trust what you say in the future and number two I will not vulnerably reveal anything about my life because what I know is you can't be trusted. When you lie when your life is falsehood, either by your speech or your actions. You can't be trusted relationships can grow. The apostle Paul is using the like. The human body says, just as were members of one another in the body of Christ me think about if your hand in your eyes and your foot begin to lie to your brain. If something was hot in your hand got on something hot told your brain. It was cold. What can happen. Pain and he saying to you, you have to rethink you are thinking only about yourself when you lie when you have less than the truth in relationships when you exaggerate when that these little white lies what you're doing is you're avoiding some front term pain but what you doing is you're eroding trust in little lies in marriage and up over the years. Big lies and when your words say one thing your behavior says something to your kids. They say I don't not only believe in you. But I don't believe in your faith. At a certain time member, you have to make a decision, delete then you have to run a new program in the new program is I'm going to be honest in everything all the time and you have to go into training to become an honest person. Now some of your thinking and honest person I don't like doing a big lies and I've actually reported everything on my taxes and what will. It's let let me probe a little bit on some of the exaggeration and some of the white lies and some of the small ways is Luke 1610 might jot that in your notes to financial passage, but is a timeless principle since he was faithful in a very little thing will be faithful also in much but he was unrighteous in a very little thing will be unrighteous also much. How many times have you left late for something and there's a little bit of traffic and you walk into work or to someone and you say over the traffic was really heavy but the traffic was really heavy but your light, not because the traffic's heavy you like because you left 15 minutes late for the ship to lie or how many of of us exaggerate. We just exaggerating a little bit here and a little bit there little lies little exaggerations. What I can tell you is we have all grown accustomed to doing that at such a level we just give one another. A pass truth, integrity see what we then do's and we lie to ourselves and I don't I don't really have a drinking problem. I don't really please people that much. I don't think I'm a workaholic. I just have a lot of energy.

I don't think our marriage really is in trouble. Like you I think she's just going through a season where she needs more attention. Lie lie lie when you don't ruthlessly say I'm gonna go into training. To be honest with God honest with myself and honest with others. 100% of the time when you do that, I will tell you it will bring about transformation in those besetting sins.

I was the early married and I happen to marry someone. All not all positive. She would say this, who whose integrity is like off the charts. In fact so literal at times that she kinda misses the point and I'm sort of on those big picture people in the picture. People have a tendency to just sort of generalized don't call line.

We caught generalizing, we call it rounding if you been around know I by the way, I love you but people and salespeople leadership so you you frame things in a way that just a little you know. And so we we were in this little church we just started out in and so we you know like 35 people in the church and we got all these neighborhood kids in the club and we had a mover on a midweek and had a little midweek thing on Wednesday and I was announcing to the church of the progress of God. How encouraging it wasn't that we had like 62 kids last week and you know or something like that in I get in the car.

My wife's request was from, why did you like when he lie we said there like 62 or 69 kids and they were like 50 some ascent around so will Heidi around from like 58 to 62. I set up in, and what I found was in little numbers and in little ways. Or, you know I'm going to be about five minutes late and it's 15 minutes late or this is what happened. I found that I exaggerated what I mean you and I'm a young pastor and to start now. Like every week for the first six or eight or 10 weeks and she's real quiet in every message there was something where and she would why did you lie and I'm just thinking is this can be the rest of my life. And then God says will probably if you keep why do you have to exaggerate what why do you have to try and make me look better or is it really about making you look better. What would happen if you were ruthlessly honest in every area of your life and times of someone said something to you and hey, we really ought to get together and this is a great idea think you love to do and you say something like, yeah, let's really get together sometime and yeah I think that's a winner and down deep the moment they walk out or anything and that I would never do that and I don't think a person's phone call in the future. But what you did is you. You did a little covering and you acted like you were interested because it would take a lot more courage to say you know that's an interesting idea. I don't really think that is for me and I'm not really interested at this point in time with my other priorities being involved in and so we lie all the time.

We say things we don't mean we present ourselves as better than we are. That's falsehood, but when you do that I want you know it's a disease and it grows and deception happens in your own heart and pretty soon you don't see yourself the way you really are and you don't see God what he is and things get more cloudy and the problem with these kind of things as they grow and things that are little little, 10, 12, 15 years later there but things is a God says go to training it so you put on truthful speech and authenticity will how you do that to me. How do you make the break with that really occurs idea in the same season got hammered me on this, and it was really life transforming. When I said that I learned the sword by random God brought some circumstances in my life where I learned this training apparatus in the training apparatus here literally is practice confession was during the same time I was passing little church and finishing up seminary and I'm in seminary and as I walked the halls of seminary. Being the basketball hall like I am in the halls is a 611 guy and I find out he plays West Virginia. There's a sick sick guy from Wisconsin. There's a 67 guy from Illinois there's a 6465 guy from New Mexico State.

Bill played college basketball will play together so we formed a little team. It was the most formidable in a real team you've ever seen. We had a blast and I got a call from the head of the what was called sports ambassadors and had been overseas playing them throughout South America and that I did one stent in the in the Orient and Bud Schaefer who is the head of the ghost. Susan China was closed many years ago you couldn't get in China.

We have an invitation to go to China to get to play all their national teams to play all the major provinces and in in small areas and allows to share the gospel chip. I'm looking for two guards. Are you in shape. Yes, will how many points are on a plainly right now. Oh yeah, and will how many portal 10 or 12 points.

Six) you probably three or four steals. While it's great well get back to you and hung up the phone and the peace of God just dissipated was gone to factors in that little intramural league. We didn't have a scorekeeper known as keeping track of points and was keeping track of assists. I just rounded up.

I so now desire here. So here's how habits work. The Q is I want to get something I want approval. I want this the routine. As I exaggerate white lie present myself falsely.

The reward is I get it. Occasionally the habit so I said all Lord I'm sorry as I'm in seminary now preparing to teach God's word. The people the truth.

That's ironic is that preparing to teach the truth as I like to this guy about getting on a ministry team to go teach the truth. We are will look in the mirror and will be quite so and so there's no peace. And so it's okay will I know the verse confess your sins and he'll forgive me.

So I confess my sins.

Lord, please forgive me. I hope I get on the team. Two days later still I mean I can't pray effectively. And I said this guilt there still no peace in God whispers. I want you to call Bud Schaefer own your stuff. Confess your sin and apologize. All Lord. Surely you just mean I'm in seminary. Do you realize how embarrassing it is for seminary student to say he lied about a ministry opportunity like this is the organization of done things with them before, and I want them to think well of me and I never forget phone call because it bugs chip and what you know the statistics I gave.

They don't really keep statistics so I made those up and I lie to you and I'm guessing you probably don't want someone on your team that lies is a representative to share Christ in China seems a great leader. He didn't gloss it. Chip. Thanks so much for your integrity and coming clean. You're exactly right. We really don't want players that habitually don't tell the truth but I think this is a great step will be looking for a couple other guards you know what I did. I went into training. I made a vow before God when I lied when God made aware that I lied and little things weren't big things to my wife to another person in a sermon. I would confess it and actually go to whoever I lied to and tell them not like to say that no that was like 25, 30 years ago. I can tell you have had to do that last two weeks because I'm in training and urine training, but I will tell you what, but I am large I broke the power of deceit in my heart and I broke the power of lying, because for 30 years I've been in training to be honest about exaggerating and white lies in presenting myself enjoy the servants is just you've been listening to the first part of his message the role of spiritual training in the transformation process from his series. Yes, you really can change the point of the series is not only to say the genuine life change is possible, but to help us reflect on areas where we struggle. Maybe you need to break an addiction repair a broken relationship or correct the behavior. Whatever the issue is you can make the change and would love to help you with that process. Digging deeper into the series would be a great way to start.

Take a look at the study guide stream. The small group video or download the free MP3s to listen anytime the place your order or for more details on yes, you really can change go to call AAA 83336003 or Special offers on the chip and remap chip as we listen to the series. I think we all recognize that there are serious issues, people struggle with, like addiction and depression and abuse, but there are others who were kinda coasting along in quiet desperation. They might even be reading your Bible.

I'm going to church every once in a while, but they just aren't experiencing the power and the joy you're talking about what you say to them, will Dave.

That's an insightful question because I think you're right. There certainly people that are going through really deep addictions and in this series is going to be super helpful for them.

But what I can tell you is, there are a multitude of Christians who are involved in any quote blatant sin, but are not experiencing this supernatural life were talking about and I think for many, the believed unconsciously that certain religious activity will bring about change.

We all can have idols in our life roadblocks in our life that were completely oblivious to it. So that's why the apostle Paul is so clear in Ephesians chapter 4 of this taking off this renewing of our mind and this putting on, and that's why these last messages are so important. I've seen people begin to specifically go into training and I've outlined that in this teaching series, but I put it in the book in such a way where there is a roadmap of very specific way for them to learn to go into training to renew their mind in a way that allows them to experience that joy and that peace and that power that God longs for them to experience because he would say I'm your father, you're my daughter you're my son is I would encourage people, especially if what you're listening to is resonating.

Get the book, do it with someone and see if as you dig in. Personally God won't speak to you in a powerful way is a great idea.

Thanks. What were pretty excited about the release of the new revised edition of Chip's book.

Yes, you really can change. Let me encourage you go to your website. to pick up your copy of yes, you really can change. Pick one up for yourself. Maybe get one for a friend and spend some time over coffee, encouraging one another on your new journey of life change. Now here's chip with a final thought as you ponder today about where and how you need to go into spiritual training in the area of honesty. Let me take just a minute and and share a little story about how God put me into training long before I knew what it was very first pastorate of the very small church wonderful group of people in rural Texas and it was my very first pastorate of 28 years old and you know the first two or three weeks on preaching my first messages and then the church starts to grow a little bit and we start a little Wednesday night group and so I say in my sermon.

You know, last Wednesday was really great when about 68 or 70 people and you know we go on with the message and I'm in the car on the way home and I mean my wife is like strangely silent and we drive a little while and I say you know like you would say hey honey, some wrong. Well yeah what's wrong why July today. I said what why July today really wide. I lie today Is a pretty good message. Actually, in a I watched you count Wednesday night.

There was like 64 people so I was just rounding. She said will hottie around from 64 to 68 to 70. I symbol what's it matter and she said, isn't that the point what does it matter and I thought brother you not think she's very detail oriented on the big picture guides a small misunderstanding and she just doesn't get it, but okay. You're right, you know, I exaggerate a little bit know you lied, you know okay so I'm thinking over forget it. I'm sorry I didn't really mean it, but unlike I go there next week.

I tell another story I use a figure again. I've got icicles coming home in the car in round two and I'm thinking you know this pastorate may not be very fun of this happens every week and said what's wrong. She looked that same looksee goes, why July again this week and I went though this is like a royal headache is not going to go as a what you mean and I exaggerate it again and I thought this is going to be a long journey. Being a pastor and what happened was I realize down deep that I like to exaggerate because somehow out of my own insecurities.

Even though it didn't mean anything I wanted to make myself look better than I really am. And when you're unfaithful in a very little thing than you can be unfaithful and much and God use my wife and I went into training not going to training because I was smart or spiritual. I went into training because you can only take so many of those drives home with your wife saying why did you live near the pastor and you know I went into training to down to the littlest parts of my speech to tell the truth and I'm not gonna tell you that overnight. Everything happen. It's like lifting weights. When I talked about with my son but I mean, week after week, week after week, and she learned to actually say it a little bit nicer and I went into this training about being honest and I don't have it licked, but I want you to know that integrity has been a foundational issue in my life.

After that first pastorate in those early years because I went into training. To be honest, down to the little things. Let me ask you, what would it look like today for you to go into training in the area of honesty. Okay, if you got it. Is it white lies is exaggeration or is it just plain falsehood. Have your mind renewed.

Remember, were members of one another and put on honesty that your life would reflect the very purity and truthfulness of Christ fixture.

Let me take just a second and think the generous people make monthly donations to support the ministry of Living on the Edge your faithful gifts help us inspire Christians to live like Christians. Every gift makes a huge difference. If you haven't partnered with us yet. Would you prayerfully consider joining the Living on the Edge team make a one-time gift or set up a recurring donation by going to or calling us at triple late.

333-6003 and no were blessed by whatever the Lord leads you to do well. Until next time, this is Dave Gurley saying thanks for listening. This addition of Living on the Edge

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