by Pastor Tim Burt
Okay, get ready. I am about to make a big statement. 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 tried again and again and failed. Hundreds of millions? YES! How do I know this? I’ll tell you.
Alcoholism cost Americans over 270 billion dollars a year and that isn’t 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. To 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 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.” His part—He leads us by His Word and the Holy Spirit. Our part—we respond in obedience, and God helps successful results come in time if we don’t quit. This is a critical key to understanding how God works and helps you in your life—His part, your part!
First, when you want to make a change—for the sake of conversation, lets say, 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 is important to you for numerous reasons, and that God will help you accomplish what is His will for you. And the resource book, will teach you on 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.
Don’t try executing the effort to lose the weight or make the change until you’ve read and 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. 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 alsovin 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 it for vain-glory? 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. 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 open many doors for you.
I know we aren’t just talking about losing weight. That was just an example. Whatever it is you desire to do, Reading and praying prior to starting has to be a first step. I’ll share more with you tomorrow.
Be patience and let me give you all the steps to take before you begin any of this. I am writing this because so many people—hundreds of millions fail regularly. Let’s change that by understanding your part versus God’s part in working toward success! Part two tomorrow…
Psalm 20:4 (NIV) “May he give you the desire of your heart and make ALL your plans succeed.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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