by Pastor Tim Burt
Many, if not most people, have areas in their life where they feel like they are a failure. Nothing contributes more to that feeling than having repeatedly failed at efforts to make changes in your life that you deem important—changes you think about regularly—changes that you’ve half-heartedly taken a stab at making.
God didn’t create us to fail. He created us to learn from our mistakes, correct them and move forward, continually making progress, while experiencing transformation in who we are and how we live out our lives. That’s God’s will for us. It’s what parents desire and hope for, for their children. Yet here we are as adults, making excuses and experiencing repeated failures. Why do we fail so much? As I started saying yesterday, I believe most Christians could experience greater success in their attempts to make changes, if they would make some simple changes in their approach to how they execute their attempt to make these changes.
In Part One I talked about posturing yourself for success by praying and reading your Bible and a good resource book regarding the change you desire to make. Do so daily for at least two weeks prior to attempting to make the change.
Today I want to talk about the second thing you must do before you begin your efforts to successfully make changes. The second thing you must do is PLAN! You must create a strategy and plan of execution. Proverbs 21:5 (NLT) says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
When God moved on my heart to create the world’s first public infant changing table, I took three years to read, research, conceive, plan out, and take steps toward what God had put on my heart. I believe it is one of the reasons I succeeded and that you see them in every public bathroom in America and around the world today. When God moved on my heart to run my first marathon, 26.2 miles, I knew I wasn’t in the physical shape to do it. I wasn’t prepared. And so I set out a one-year goal of preparation and training to prepare for the effort of finishing my first marathon. Whether desires are big or small, they are important if God is giving them to you. And planning and execution are critical. As this verse says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity…”
Desire is critical to success but, all the desire in the world won’t help you succeed if you don’t have a plan of execution. This verse speaks to this also saying but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” If you approach the changes you desire to make hastily, without a plan of execution, it leads to failure and poverty!
Let’s stick with the example of weight loss. If you want to lose weight, you need to have a plan. You are going to have to eat differently. Not just less, but differently. That is what the reading is for. To help you learn why and what to eat that will help you succeed. But, if you begin your efforts with the same food in the refrigerator and cupboards, you will not succeed. You have to get rid of bad food. If you don’t, in a moment of weakness, you’d be like a squirrel hunting through every nook and cranny for a snack or treat. You have to remove the temptations. (If we were talking about pornography, you’d have to get rid of everything you can think of that might be around at a time of weakness that would contribute to failure.)
Then you have to bring in good food. I have been saying that in all changes, God has a part and you have a part. Planning (with the help of the Holy Spirit) and execution of this plan are your part. You not only have to get healthy food, but you also need to learn how to eat appropriate portions (that a good book would tell you how to do.) And you have to plan AHEAD OF TIME what you are going to eat for the next day and bring that food with you. For example, when I changed my eating routine, eliminated some bad snacks, and added unsalted nuts which are very healthy. But I had to find a small cup that was a good portion to eat from. Nuts are good, but eat too many and you’ve created a new problem. So, to not properly plan is to stick with previous problems or create new ones and this will increase your chance of failure. When you get hungry and don’t have the right foods, you succumb to the wrong ones. You’ll grab all the vending machine crap that undermines your effort. Build your plan BEFORE you start to execute it and your level of success will increase. This is true with anything!
I am not trying to teach on the subject of eating and nutrition here or it would be much more comprehensive. I am only using it as an example. No matter what area of change you make, you have to plan to get rid of the obstacles of failure to the best degree you can and have a strategy you execute to make the right changes that lead to success. And don’t worry, you may make mistakes but God will help you think through them if you lean on Him. And if you pray and ask Him to help you daily through His grace, you will see His grace show up in your life, and in many ways, only you would notice. That is God’s intimacy and love working with you and helping you!
All plans are adaptive as God shows you how to better implement them. Proverbs 16:1 (TLB) says, “We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands.” And Proverbs 16:9 (TLB) says “We should make plans—counting on God to direct us.” Build your plan and God will help you adapt and improve it as you go. Let Him show you the better way and be adaptable! You’ll find it amazing!
Remember, we are talking about succeeding at changes you’ve thought about that you know will literally change your life. Planning and execution are critical. Next time, I’ll share with you what increases your efforts of success exponentially!
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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