rebelling against low expectations

Changed From the Inside Out (Summer Book Study Week Two)

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What needs to be changed in my life?

The other day I scribbled this question in my journal. I was struggling with several areas of my life, knowing I needed to change and desperately wanting to. But I didn’t know how. These struggles felt too deeply rooted, too ingrained into my heart and life to be altered.

Besides, they weren’t that bad. Nothing everyone else doesn’t also battle from time to time. It was tempting to simply push them aside and ignore the issues. Rationalize them and move on with my life.

We all have areas in our lives that need to be transformed. But it’s easy to forget about them. To push our sins into a dark corner and instead illuminate everything we’re doing right. Like I wrote later in my journal entry, I check all the boxes, but am I becoming more like Jesus?

As Christian teenagers, isn’t becoming more like Jesus our goal?

To accomplish that, one thing needs to be active and present in our lives. And that’s repentance.

We’re born sinners separated from God. Our hearts are sin-ridden, our lives out of sync with God’s standards.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, He cleanses our sins and transforms us into a new person. 1 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”

We’re a new creation, covered with Christ’s blood.

But we’re also broken people living in a sin-filled world. Sin has no place in our lives as blood-bought children of God, but that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to struggle. Before, living in our sin, we were a slave to it. Now we’re slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:18)

But sin still seeks to rear its head. Pride. Lust. Anger. Unforgiveness. Selfishness.

Too often, we give in. And our lives don’t change.

Jackie Hill Perry writes, “Christ did not die to redeem us in part. Neither did He rise so that we might have life in portions. But with us having a body made for Him, as well as the mind, will, personality, and emotions that it contains, we must understand that God is after us becoming victorious over any and all sin that would hinder the whole person from serving God fully and freely.”

We can’t sincerely love Christ and stay the same. God desires that we become victorious over “any and all sin” that would hinder our goal of becoming more like Christ. Jesus tells us we’ll know Christians by the fruit in their lives (Matthew 7:15-20). The changes God works in our hearts are practical and visible, such as the way we speak, act, and relate to those around us. He changes our thoughts, words, and relationships. He invades our old way of living and convicts our hearts when we don’t align with His standards.

We can’t sincerely love Christ and stay the same. Click To Tweet

Billy Graham once said, “Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion—it’s a daily process whereby you grow more and more like Christ.” Allowing God to work in our hearts and transform our lives isn’t a one-time quick fix. It’s a daily process.

What needs to be changed in your life? What areas are out of line with God’s Word?

This week, I challenge you to ask God to dig deep into your heart and reveal areas that need to be transformed. When He does, don’t ignore the conviction. Instead, turn, repent, and seek His help. Genuine surrender and repentance are marked by inward conviction followed by external change. You can’t have one without the other.

This process isn’t easy. In fact, it’s incredibly hard. But it’s worth it to become more like Christ . . . from the inside out.

I’d love to hear from you! How has God changed your life? What is He teaching you through Love Riot?

It’s not too late to join the study! Pick up a copy of Love Riot today.

Join me on Facebook Live tonight at 7:30 EDT on the Rebelution’s Facebook page as I talk more about how God changes our lives and answer your questions.

Book Study Schedule:

Follow along or read at your own pace!

Week 1: It’s Time for a Challenge: Moving from Superficial Religion to Wholehearted Relationship (read introduction and chapters 1-3)
Week 2: Digging Deep: Letting God Change Us From the Inside Out (read chapters 4-6)
Week 3: From Devotions to Devoted: Growing in Consistency, Love, and Knowledge of God and His Word (read chapters 7-8)
Week 4: The Nitty-Gritty: Giving God Control of the Day to Day (read chapters 10-12)
Week 5: Radical Conviction 101: Living for Christ and the Gospel in an Anti-Christian World (read chapters 13 and 14 and conclusion)

Come back next week as we discuss From Devotions to Devoted: Growing in Consistency, Love, and Knowledge of God and His Word.


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About the author

Sara Barratt

is an 20-year-old speaker and author. Her first book, Love Riot: A Teenage Call To Live With Relentless Abandon For Christ released from Baker Books in May 2020. Along with her work on The Rebelution, she also contributes to websites like The Gospel Coalition and Girl Defined. Connect with her on her website sarabarratt.com.

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rebelling against low expectations

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