Secrets To Change Your Life!


January, 2002

Dear Disciple of Jesus,

Like most people, you probably want to change in some way for the better. Many people make New Year’s 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 God’s 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, shouldn’t you seek His help? Recognize God’s authority — His Word — over every area of your life and follow His instructions. God’s 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 doesn’t 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. Don’t 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 — don’t keep it a secret project!

Third, "The 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 wouldn’t 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 don’t 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 few keys:

1) consider the positive and negative consequences of your action or inaction,

2) consider the pain and discomfort that will eventually occur if you don’t put in the effort to change — this helps you overcome the perceived immediate discomfort of change,

3) remember you are "bought with a price, you are not your own" — so you have to live for Jesus, not yourself anyway, and

4) gratitude 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" to change.

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 God’s "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 process (Ephesians 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 didn’t. We need to stop wanting "quick fixes" from God all the time, and work at what we know to do from God’s Word. Then let God add some miracles. We don’t 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.

Seventh, understanding 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. Order it!

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 Ken’s 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 — don’t 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, "God’s 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,

Dale & Judi Leander


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