by Pastor Tim Burt
Okay, get ready. I am about to make a big statement and here it is. There are hundreds of millions of people, if not more, that have dreamed about accomplishing something that is doable and so important to them that they think about it all the time, but, haven’t been able to get it done. They’ve thought about it countless times and tried a number of times, and failed each time. Hundreds of millions? YES! How do I know this? I’ll tell you.
Alcoholism cost Americans over 250 billion dollars a year and that isn’t even touching the rest of the world’s 7+ billion people. The cost of recovery from cigarettes, drugs, overeating, and gambling—the costs of efforts to stop these destructive habits ranges from 600 to 700 billion dollars a year just in America. And this is just money spent on the effort to try and stop. It doesn’t represent or translate into successful efforts. On the contrary, multitudes fail. And at one point, it was projected that there are over 20 million people in America struggling with problems or addictions in these areas who aren’t even getting help or treatment.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to start your day on such a dreary note. It is my belief that through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, the results could be astoundingly more successful, and at a much lesser cost. And yet, even many Christians are failing at not just these addictions, but other areas of desired change that are so important to them. They think about them all the time, occasionally trying to make some changes, yet failing and quitting again and again. Can you relate to this in any area of your life you’ve desired change in? It shouldn’t be like this.
I believe most Christians could experience greater success in their attempts to make a change if they would make some simple changes in their approach to how they execute their attempt to make these changes.
In James 2:20 we read that “…faith without works is dead.” As you become a student of the Bible and develop in intimacy in your relationship with the Lord, you’ll come to understand that in most everything in life, you have a part to play and God has a part to play. God tells us repeatedly, to follow the instruction of His Word. Psalm 32:8 (NIV) says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” What is His part? He leads us by His Word and speaks to us through His Word and inwardly through the Holy Spirit. What’s our part? We are to respond in obedience to His leading so that we will experience greater and more frequent success if we don’t quit. Did you know that at almost every failure, God is already showing you what you should have done? Harnessing that moment is a critical key to understanding how God works and helps you in your life—His part, your part!
For the next few posts, I want to give you the rest of the equation that I believe will help you experience greater ongoing success. For today, let’s look at the first step!
First, when you want to make a change such as changing your eating habits and losing weight, you must start with two sources of reading—the Bible and a good subject resource book. The Bible will establish that moderation and health are important to you for numerous reasons and remind and reassure you that God will help you accomplish what is His will for you. The resource book will teach you the subject of nutrition and how it works and helps your health. If you didn’t know this, I’ll tell you now. Your mind LOVES to learn. It’s true. God created you that way. If you were a poor student in school, don’t let it rob you of a truth you may not have discovered. Your mind loves to learn! Now you can learn on your terms and in a way that works for you. But, your mind will love it just as your spirit loves learning about God. And so, before you begin, you must read about the subject in your Bible, and from a good book on the subject that brings great knowledge and instruction. Take at least two weeks to pray and ask God to speak to you about your desired change.
Whatever you do, don’t try executing the effort to change your eating habits and lose weight or whatever your desired success is until you’ve read and have prayed for at least a couple of weeks. Why? Because one of the ways God works within you is to it to build godly desires and passions that help fuel your effort once you begin. Your prayer and reading will begin to affect your mind and heart and they are both needed for success. Psalm 51:10 (NKJV) says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” When you pray day after day asking the Lord to prepare your heart for this upcoming effort, He will. (Keep thinking… His part, my part.) Pray before you read and trust that the Lord will blow on the embers of your heart and create a charged passion to succeed.
Also in your prayer and reading time, meditate on this verse and pray it. Psalm 37:4 (NKJV) “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” God will give you this desire to succeed, but think about why you want to lose weight (or whatever change you want to make) and for what purpose. It is for vain glory? If so, that is not a great reason. Of course, you want to look better but don’t make that your purpose. Succeeding at weight loss is inspiring. It inspires others. Your example and success can influence others and I promise you it will. Make being a light and an influence for the Lord your purpose. That will take your eyes off yourself and give your efforts a higher purpose. This is in line with God’s will and you can put confidence in His help because it is His will for you to influence and help others toward Him. It will carry you far beyond the success of your goals. Being an influence for the Lord is the highest purpose in life. God will fuel that desire, strengthen you in it, and supernaturally help you in ways that are particular to you!
I know we aren’t just talking about losing weight. That was just an example. Whatever it is you desire to do, Reading God’s word and reading an educational source that your mind loves, and then praying prior to starting your effort, has to be a first step. I’ll share more with you next time.
This is one of the most powerful spiritual truths I’ve learned that has helped me and others again and again. I just had a friend tell me last week who I taught this to years ago, comment that he was experiencing success because He followed this very plan. He uses it continuously! So, be patient! I will give you all the steps. You can begin toward a goal now if you follow this step I’ve shared with you today. By the time you begin your attempt at a new goal, I will have shared the rest with you! Next time, Part Two!
Psalm 20:4 (NIV) “May the Lord give you the desire of your heart and make ALL your plans succeed.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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