Dear Disciple of Jesus,
Like most people,
you probably want to change in some way for the better. Many people
make New Years resolutions to break a bad habit or start
a good one, perhaps exercise more or lose a few pounds, save or
make more money, pray or read more in their Bible, or maybe some
similar change. But most people find that true change is difficult
and often not permanent. Yet a few people seem to constantly improve
all their lives! What are the secrets to changing for the better?
As usual, the Word of God contains powerful insights. I will share
below many revelations from the scriptures that can unlock your
ability to change.
First, all change
or "growth" comes from God, because all life comes from
God. Without Gods active involvement in any attempt to change,
the efforts are usually doomed. The Topeka State Mental Hospital
had a success rate in the 18 percent range before Christian psychiatrist
Karl Menninger took it over. By implementing scriptural processes,
the success rate shot up to over 80 percent. You need to go before
God in prayer, humbly ask Him for His help (while repenting of
any relevant sins), and make Him your source looking to
Him and depending on Him every step of the way. To think we can
improve by ourselves is a formula for a fall (Proverbs
16:18). God created you, loves you, and wants to help you.
My goodness, if the most intelligent person on earth wanted to
actively help you, shouldnt you seek His help? Recognize
Gods authority His Word over every area of
your life and follow His instructions. Gods Word is pre-programmed
for success, we just have to line up with it in any area that
we want success.
Second, refocus on
relationships first with God, then with other people in
your life. For relationship with God, read in His Word daily and
have a daily prayer life. This doesnt have to be "religious"
just do it. I roll out of bed onto my knees first thing
to pray, and my family starts our day with a family prayer time,
but you might pray in your car on your way to work and read your
Bible at lunch. Dont feel there is only one way to have
a devotional life with the Lord. And concerning relationships
with other people, if you are in strife with others there will
be "every evil work" in your life (James
3:16). That is not an environment for successful change! So
forgive all other people. And God said, "It is not
good for man to be alone." So you need the involvement
of other good believers in your life for fellowship, encouragement,
creative ideas, teaching, accountability, etc. Get others involved
in your efforts to change dont keep it a secret project!
righteous are delivered through knowledge." (Proverbs
11:9). Get a strong injection of Godly, practical information
in whatever area of life you want or need to change. Listening
to teaching tapes or reading ministry material shows you what
to do and gives you motivation (through revelation) to change.
Example: my wife never smoked because in elementary school she
saw what cigarette smoke did to cotton balls in a special presentation
to the kids. She got a revelation! You probably spend anywhere
from $20,000 to $100,000 a year on everything known to man. But
how much do you spend a year on teaching material to help you
improve? You wouldnt want to get to Heaven and tell Jesus
you spent $3,000 to $5,000 a year eating out, $3,000 a year on
new car payments, etc., but only spent $50 a year to grow spiritually.
Fourth, realize any
change in a positive direction is going to take effort. The most
proven law in physics is the second law of thermodynamics which
says that unless you put energy into anything in the universe,
it will deteriorate. It could be your lawn, your mind, your body,
or your spiritual condition. If you dont put effort into
it on an ongoing basis, it will "atrophy". There are
many motivators to help you want to put forth the effort (maybe
that's a future teaching letter), but let me briefly mention a
the positive and negative consequences of your action or inaction,
the pain and discomfort that will eventually occur if you dont
put in the effort to change this helps you overcome the
perceived immediate discomfort of change,
you are "bought with a price, you are not your own"
so you have to live for Jesus, not yourself anyway, and
is free will-power, so constantly think about what Jesus has
done for you... suffering and dying for you, forgiving you for
all those sins, protecting you more times than you know... and
as you grow in gratitude, you will automatically find more "power"
Fifth, on the topic
of power, an often overlooked aspect of the Word of God is the
literal energy it gives your spirit. A guy in ministry that I
know started reading 20 chapters of the Word each day, and his
life and ministry were powerfully transformed. The Word is a "medicine"
that you can take larger doses of if you need more results. Another
important source of real power is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of what you believe about speaking in tongues, being
"filled with the Spirit" is a Biblical command (Ephesians
5:18). If you want more insights about the baptism of the
Holy Spirit, ask for my free cassette tape on the topic.
Sixth, be willing
to accept slow change. Slow change is better than no change. In
our microwave society, many people want results in 30 seconds
or else they're angry! And many people think Gods
"Plan A" is instant miraculous change, and if you are
somehow "spiritually deficient" then you get "Plan
B" which is gradual change. It is actually the opposite.
"Plan A" is to see your needs met in a gradual, ever-better
2:21) and if you fail at that you might could get a
"Plan B" miracle. I have had some miraculous healings
in my family, but Jesus rebuked the people who were seeking signs
and miracles! Jesus expected His disciples to use their faith.
In fact, He rebuked them when they didnt. We need to stop
wanting "quick fixes" from God all the time, and work
at what we know to do from Gods Word. Then let God add some
miracles. We dont have a problem with the sovereignty and
power of God, we have a problem with not enough faith, action,
and responsibility among humans! Any problem on earth is not a
God problem or a God failure, but a man problem and a man failure.
The sinking of the Titanic was not a failure of the designer or
manufacturer. Management on board sank the Titanic.
the dynamics of "spiritual warfare" can be crucial to
many changes. Some problems have spiritual causes. Greater insight
into deliverance and breaking spiritual strongholds can be obtained
from my cassette tape series, Winning at Spiritual Warfare.
And when should you
change? Dr. James Kennedy, pastor of a mega-church in Florida,
creator of Evangelism Explosion, best-selling author, and radio
and TV media minister, was once a new convert in 1959 trying to
learn how to lead people to salvation. An older minister named
Ken Smartt took young James with him to call on the home of a
couple in Atlanta one night. The wife was receptive to Pastor
Kens presentation of the Gospel, but her husband expressed
no interest whatsoever in fact, he had complete disbelief.
After leaving the house, the two ministers got into their car
to leave. But Pastor Ken said he felt God was urging him to go
back to the house to try to win the husband to the Lord. James
pointed out the lights were now turned off, and the couple was
retiring for the night! But back to the door they went and rang
the doorbell. The husband reluctantly let them back in, and as
Pastor Ken shared more scriptures the husband became convinced
of the truth of the Gospel and wanted to accept Christ as his
Savior. He prayed with Pastor Ken. The next morning, the wife
found her husband had died during the night as he slept! So when
is the time to change? Right now! If you have never asked Jesus
Christ to be your Savior, do it now. If there is something else
that needs to change, begin now dont go to bed until
you begin working at what you believe God would have you to change!
One area that everyone
would benefit from is a better marriage and family. Even if you
are single, understanding keys to family relationships and related
issues would be valuable both now and in the future. The Lord
specifically led me to develop a 12 cassette tape set where I
teach practical principles on each of the critical aspects of
marriage and family life. Just one of these topics could be worth
a hundred times the cost of the tape set! Hosea
4:6 says, "Gods people are destroyed for
lack of knowledge." So I encourage you to get the
knowledge you need to become everything you want to be!
Helping People Change,