Everyone wants − and needs − a second chance at life. If we believe that God can truly transform us, how does He do it? And what’s our part in the process?

When we desire a life change, it is tempting to focus on modifying our behavior. However, Pastor Adam Weber says our behavior flows from our level of intimacy with our Creator.

“Boundaries and guidelines are important in our life, but real change truly starts with a relationship with Jesus. It’s not about sin-management: God didn’t send us His only son so we’d be morally-good people, though that’s hopefully a byproduct of our following God. It starts with a relationship. The more we grow our love for Him, the more He’ll begin to change our hearts, to change our desires from the inside-out.”

Adam says the better we know God, the more our own perspective changes in response to His desires for our lives.

“We change from thinking, ‘I can’t do this,’ or ‘I know I should do this.’ Instead, we think, ‘Jesus, I love you. Because of that, I just want to change.’ Your natural heart begins to want to change the more and more we fall in love with Him.”

“After we have that relationship in place, there’s some guidelines in our life that are smart to put there, like guardrails on the side of the road, but those aren’t the starting place; they’re the second step. The relationship with Jesus comes first.”

If you are still struggling with challenges, temptations, and sins that you thought you had left behind, it is vital to remember your real identity in Christ.

“When we start following Jesus, we’re no longer the same person we used to be. We’re told we’re a new creation; the old person is gone and behold new things have come. But our old self, our flesh, is going to continue to battle against us. We still have the same temptation and desires, but we’re no longer the same person that we used to be.”

“When it comes to killing our old self, that’s really a daily thing: recognizing the old ways, acknowledging those things that we struggle against, and confessing it before God. We are saying ‘That’s not who I am now, I’m killing that. Jesus, would you, by your strength, help me today to kill any ounce of anger, lust, pride, etc. within me.”

Adam also recommends confiding your struggles in a trusted friend who can encourage and pray for you each day, and challenge you when they see sin in your life.

“Again, it starts with that relationship with Jesus, but when it comes to killing off the parts of our old self, it’s really intentional things, removing every ounce of it in our minds; not a legalistic way, but instead a life-giving way. If I don’t want to struggle with this anymore, I’m just going to remove this temptation from my life, not because I have to, but because I get to–I want to– because that’s just not who I am anymore.”

Adam Weber lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He likes typewriters, drives a Rambler, cheers for the Cincinnati Bengals, has 4 chickens, and a dog named Daisy. He’s the Founder and Lead Pastor of Embrace, a 10-year-old church that has grown to 6 campuses in two states. For more on this topic, check out Adam’s article, “Can God Change Me?

How God Transforms Us