How We Change
We are a community following Jesus, seeking renewal in our city. And one of the ways we follow Jesus is by becoming like Jesus. And we believe that change is actually possible. But how does it happen? Here is our working theory of transformation: we believe change happens through truth, practices, community, and the Holy Spirit.
In order to change, we need to know what’s real and true. Truth comes at us in all kinds of ways. It can hit us when we hit rock bottom, or truth can hit us in the form of a new idea. But ultimate truth comes to us in Jesus. He said, “I am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and that His teachings were the truth, and “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). And while truth is necessary for change, it is not sufficient for change. Because we can’t simply will ourselves to believe something and live differently in light of it. We must move truth from our minds into what we do with our bodies. And that’s why we need practices.
Practices are the way we get the truth of who we are into our bodies and our mental maps of reality. Traditional Christian practices involve things like prayer, fasting, meditation, sabbath, and giving, to name a few. We have found that in a city like San Francisco, daily, devoted, undistracted prayer and mediation, as well as weekly sabbath, are a great starting point to practice the truth of Jesus. But our formation through practices into Christlikeness cannot happen simply by ourselves. We need to be part of a community of people who are moving in the same direction.
In Genesis 1:18, just after God had made the world and a human being and called everything good, He suddenly declares, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Human beings are hardwired for community. And that’s because we are made in God’s own image, who Himself is a community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). At the center of all reality is relational love. So in order to grow to become more like Jesus, we need deep relational connection. Jesus saves us into a community of people, the Church, so we should expect that our process of becoming more like Him will happen in the midst of community.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, we need the Holy Spirit to change. For it is God’s Spirit that leads us into all truth (John 16:13). The Spirit makes us one with God as we engage in spiritual practices, and the Spirit is the one who distributes gifts for the building up of the Jesus community (1 Corinthians 12:11; 14:12). The Spirit’s work in us is at the core of how we change and become more like Jesus.
We sometimes also call our theory of transformation the “Triangle of Transformation.”
For more on this topic, watch or listen to our teaching, “Change Is Possible.”