7 Keys to Real, Lasting Change
What about yourself are you wanting to improve? What area of your life are you needing change? Is real, lasting change possible?
Romans 12:2 let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
If you want to change your life you've got to change the way you think. The Bible says, your thoughts determine your feelings, your feelings determine your actions.
So, how do you allow God to change your thinking? How do you transform your mind? How can you experience real, lasting change so that you can start living a better life?
I change the way I think by changing my FOCUS.
I am going to give you seven ways to change your focus so you can cooperate with the way God wants to change you.
1. I focus on changing one DEFECT at a time.
Proverbs 17:24 Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
Some of us would say, “I've got about 30 things I’m working on changing about me.” Don't do it. You'll get overwhelmed. You'll get discouraged. You won't change anything. You must be specific.
What I would suggest we do is we pray to God and say, "God, which specific defect would You like to work on first in my life? Not what I'd like to, but You." We don't just pray, "God, I'd like to be a better person." We've got to be specific. "God, this is what I want to work on, my anger, my anxiety, my tendency to control people or my workaholism." Ask God, “Which of these is damaging my life the most?” Let Him start working on that. We must work on one defect at a time. Otherwise it doesn't work.
2. I focus on victory one DAY at a time.
Matthew 6:34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Don't worry about tomorrow. Just today. Rome wasn't built in a day, character wasn't built in a day. Character defects aren't removed in a day.
We want instant everything. We want instant maturity, spiritual maturity. One day I'm a total mess, the next I'm Billy Graham. It doesn't happen that way. We must grow by inches. We must grow by days. One day at a time.
At night we stop and thank God for whatever change or victory, no matter how small, "Thank You that you gave me help today." Any victory, no matter now minor, we thank God for it, and take one defect at a time, and we get victory one day at a time.
3. I focus on GOD'S power not my power, my willpower.
You already know willpower isn't enough. If willpower worked you'd already be changed.
In fact, depending on your own strength, blocks progress in your life. We know resolutions don't work. You'll never change in your own willpower. But, here's the good news.
Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
So we pray, "Lord, I know I can't change on my own power, but I'm trusting You to take away this defect." I want you to literally imagine God taking away your defect. What are you working on first? My temper?
Here's what I'd imagine in my mind: I imagine taking my temper out and opening up the garbage can, put it in the garbage can, putting the lid on the top, setting the garbage can out by the sidewalk. The garbage truck comes up that says "God & Son, doing business with people like you for 2000 years." Jesus sends out one of His buddies, they pick up the garbage, they dump it in the truck, they crash it down, you see the truck turn around and speed off to heaven. That's what it means to visually think about giving my problem to God. “God, I'm throwing my anger in the trash can again. I'm throwing my, whatever the defect, in the trash can.”
That’s called denying yourself. That’s called relying on God’s power to change you. Willpower doesn't work. You trust God's power, not your own. He can help you master it. We will get to the rest of the 7 keys in Wednesday's blog.