The foundational element of God’s program for change is found in His provision for our salvation through the death of Christ, which enables us to enjoy a relationship with God, the ultimate life-coach, and also gives access to the Holy Spirit, the power source for change.
This is common knowledge to evangelicals. Let me address an issue which is not.
Salvation by faith alone comprises a prime principle of the evangelical belief system. However, how do we reconcile numerous passages such as the following with this position?
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)
The answer resides in understanding faith to include not only a cognitive element, “I believe that Jesus died for my sins,” but a volitional element also, “Therefore, I submit my life to Him.”
Marriage provides a great metaphor for understanding salvation. In traditional culture, when the bride said her vows, she enters into a new relationship in which she took her groom’s name, moved into his home, and adopted a whole new lifestyle. Likewise, believing in Christ means both believing the facts regarding who His is and what He has done, but also means entering into a relationship in which our lives are directed according to His agenda.
I fear that many evangelicals struggle with change because their faith does not include this volitional element, leaving them without a genuine relationship with Christ.