The following content is based on the second message in the series “I Quit!” spoken on 11/13/11 by Brian Kruckenberg at New City Church in Phoenix, AZ. The following is not meant to be a full synopsis of the message but rather a brief look at the main concepts. For more context and understanding, please visitwww.newcityphx.com/media and listen to the message in its entirety.
Leaders using this Study Guide for groups should read the text thoroughly before beginning, using this resource as assistance and not relying solely on this material for insight.
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,22 to put off your old self,t which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,27 and give no opportunity to the devil.28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:20-29 (ESV)
The Key Ideas:
1. Change involves both putting on AND putting off.
When we try to change just by stopping certain behavior it never works. This sort of “will power” theology forgets that change involves both stopping old behavior and starting new behavior.
- Will-power theology falls short. Notice verse 28:
28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
- When is a thief not a thief? Not just when he isn’t stealing… that is just a thief between jobs but rather when he STOPS stealing and STARTS producing to GIVE things away.
- Will-power theology misrepresents the nature of God: Christianity isn’t about saying no to everything: stay inside, don’t watch movies, don’t read those books, don’t do what they do. This isn’t God’s message or at least it doesn’t fully represent it.
- Will-power theology leads to rigidity and judgmentalism. When it is all on us to stop certain behavior we can become judgmental of those who aren’t able to stop certain behavior as well as we are so we might find ourselves thinking we are better than those who still struggle with things we don’t.
2. Change can’t be just about doing whatever I want. Our culture as gone from “Just Say No!” to “Just Do It!” Most don’t practice the disciples of fasting, solitude or self-denial because they see that as legalism. Neither legalism nor license is the truth of the bible.
3. We must both put on and putt off and it takes WORK.
Each day things demand your time and we have choices to make: ESPN or family; golf or my wife; another beer or read my bible. xBox or some time with my friend who needs some help.
Often, we want a life of meaning, purpose and faith but we don’t want to work for it. We want 6-pack abs but instead we are drinking it. In essence, want to PLAY like Jesus but not PRACTICE like Him. Jesus rose up early to pray, practiced fasting and denial and insisted on the things of God. All great men and women strive after their sanctification.
1 Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.10 For to this end we toil and strive,t because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
4. There are two big issues today when it comes to the way we view change:
- We think change comes fast; and
- we are at the very center of change.
Too often we want change to happen in an instant and we want the change to better our lives. It is not wrong to want a better life and to have greater impact but the desire to change should be fueled by a desire to bring glory to God and to serve others first. If our glory is at the forefront of our reasons for changing, we are on the wrong path.
Questions for Reflection
1. What do you want to change? What is your “change project?”
2. How are you going to change it?
- what must you stop doing?
- what must your start doing.
3. Have you tried to change before by simply using your own will power? Did that work? Did it last?
4. What practices do you need to put in place? Reading, praying, fasting, Christian community?
5. Why do you want to change?
- is it for your glory?
- can you articulate reasons for changing that don’t put your first?
6. How will you respond when you get discouraged if change doesn’t come quickly enough?