The one thing that is a constant in life is change! In fact, there is one thing we know for sure; we are predestined to experience change and it should be a positive, healthy, enjoyable process. As Romans 8:29 says, For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. It is our destiny to be like Jesus; therefore, we never stop changing, growing, and developing!
One would think with change being a life-long process we would be better at it than we are, but we’re not. We can master change and make it a truly enjoyable, effortless process. Understanding how we got here will help us understand how we get from here to some other place. Most of the permanent changes that have come into our life are unintentional. They were beliefs that only served us as children in a specific environment. Then we become adults with dysfunctional beliefs and we spend the rest of our lives struggling to reverse those changes! We don’t understand how we became the way we are and we don’t believe how we can change!
When we came to Jesus we received the power to change any and everything in our life. We have deposited in us the capacity to be the person we choose to be; yet, few people ever realize this incredible opportunity. In fact, believers are frustrated. Charismatic and Word of Faith believers are probably the most frustrated! Why? Because we know the promises! We know what should and could be happening; we just don’t really get much of it to work! Information that doesn’t work doesn’t bring freedom, it brings torment!
There is one prerequisite law that we must believe in order to begin the process of positive change. We must start by realizing that all things are possible through believing! (Mark 9:23) Not only are all things possible by believing, all things exist or come to be the way they are by believing! This is the first law of faith! It is the first law of creation!
We all have the power to create life the way we choose. We might not choose the outcome, but you can be sure, we choose the life. We chose the life we now have and most of what happens in our lives. We didn’t know the choices we made would have the consequences. We didn’t know we could have made other choices. But we did make the choices.
The main thing we did not choose was the environment that influenced our choices. We did not choose our parents, their values, and their generationally inherited dysfunction. Unfortunately, no one told us that we could make new Heart Choices that would forever change the pattern of our life. But your choices can be the end of generations of dysfunction. The Bible says it starts with repentance, i.e. changing our minds! We can change our minds about the life we live; we can choose another life, we can then change our hearts, and our life will change!
There are some reasons why we have such difficulty bringing about the changes we so desperately desire. The first is homeostasis, that state of equilibrium that keeps everything the normal. Our conscious mind justifies and rationalizes the beliefs of the heart. In other words, my intellectual mind keeps giving me reasons and excuses for why my life is the way it is. Since we trust our intellect more than the Word of God we accept these reasons as valid. After all, they make sense; they are logical and “factual.”
We think we have reached these views through an intellectual process. We think we have gathered information and made an informed decision. But the truth is the only information that leads us to any limited decision is doubt! Doubt is not, after all, the disbelief of the Word of God, it is simply when we believe something other than the Word of God. And we believe what we have the evidence to believe.
When facing change the thoughts of our heart invade the thoughts of our mind and give us plenty of evidence. It looks at everything we have ever done, everything we have tried and failed, our assessment of life, and all of our fears that make all the limitations in the natural world seem realistic! We think this conclusion was the work of our intellect. No! It was the work of our heart. It shaped our perception based on our current beliefs, primarily our sense of self!
To go where we have never gone, to live life on better terms, to do what we have never done is a venture into the unknown. The heart is motivated by fear and love. Everything emerges from these two sources. Anything unknown is treated as a threat, i.e. fear! And it is a threat! It is a threat to our sense of normal, our homeostasis! When the mind starts thinking thoughts that exceed the accepted norms of the heart, they upset our sense of balance!
It is also a threat because it seems that it would be hard and painful to bring about such massive change. Because we don’t know the law of entering rest, we think that our efforts bring about our change, and effort is always hard! But effort really doesn’t bring about change. Effort brings only temporary changes in behavior that disappear when effort is no longer exerted. Believing brings about effortless, permanent, painless change!
One of the essential laws of change is this: I am not really changing, I am transforming. I am not trying to become what I am not. I am choosing to live and manifest an aspect of who I am in Jesus. Change, becoming something else, is a rejection of who we are in order to become something else. Transformation is a yielding to who we really are on the inside. It is an accepting of who I really am in Jesus!
There is another predominant limiting factor to change: attempting to control the process. We want to go where we’ve never been but we want to draw our own map. If we’ve never been there we don’t know the map. We don’t know how to get there. We find a false sense of security in doing something our way. But as Proverbs 16:25 elucidates, There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Just because it seems to be right doesn’t mean it’s even close!
Religion and faith are basically a struggle about the process, the way something is done. Religion has tried, since Cain and Abel, to choose the way that seems right to man. Faith, on the other hand, trusts the way, the process, that God says. All religious people want righteousness, some want to earn it, others receive it by faith. Everyone wants to know God but not everyone wants Him by faith! We try to choose the process that validates our current beliefs. This deceptive process insures we will never change. In fact, after we fail it ensures we will stop trying to change!
The struggle between true spirituality and religion is always about believing. Religion always comes up with some logical process that makes sense to the carnal thinker and always circumvents or, in some way, distorts believing. It is here that our struggle to be god of our own world emerges. The writer of Proverbs said, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) We want the process to fit our understanding!
We want to trust God but control the process. But if you don’t trust God’s way, you really don’t trust God. You can’t choose the end God promises and the process you desire. We must trust that our Shepherd will lead us down the appropriate path. Verses 6-7 of the passage from Proverbs goes on to say, In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. In essence we are saying, “God, I will only trust You if You do it my way!” But today you can choose to trust God’s ways even though you might not yet know those ways.
When we want a better income we want to get it through the job we have; we don’t want the pain of changing jobs. But what if you are as far as you can go on your current job? When we want a loving future we want it with the person we think will make us happy. But what if we are really bad at picking out potential mates? What if our omniscient Father can see that there is someone who could make you happy for life? We are like the woman with the issue of blood, “My miracle will only happen if it happens the way I think it should.” While God is calling us down a path to His promise we resist because it’s not the way we want it to happen. It’s not the process we trust!
Our sense of security must be in the goodness of God, not the process that makes us feel safe. I understand the need for safety, but safety while on a cruise ship is in the way we feel about the ship and the crew, even though we really know nothing about sailing. It’s the same every time we get on an airplane. If we had to understand everything that occurred in flight and make every decision we would probably crash the plane. We’ve got to settle down in God and know that He will get us there. And since we are going where we have never gone toward a better career, a loving mate, or a life of purpose and destiny, we don’t know how to get there. But He does!
Then, there is the issue of the heart. Our current course is the result of the beliefs of the heart. As previously mentioned, our life script was written when we were so young that it was totally irrational. It has very few roots in reality. It was a view of the world forged by our environment and we did not choose that environment. When these life-controlling beliefs were forged they were written on our heart. They were not intellectual decisions. We were, after all, in a meditative state from conception to around 10-12 years old. We can’t change the heart unless we are willing to work within the heart.
All transformation is a work of the heart. It is something that occurs by bringing about influence in your heart. Your current beliefs were created in your heart, so in order to change those beliefs it must be done in the heart. Positive thinking, behavior modification, and any other technique rooted in behavior has to do with willpower. And to borrow something I heard someone say, “Willpower only works when you don’t need it!” When there is a struggle between beliefs and willpower, willpower will always lose, no matter how close to winning you seem to come, and believing will always effortlessly win.
God has a way that ALWAYS WORKS; it’s called believing. It has worked for you all your life. You may have wished for some things that didn’t happen, but be assured, you became everything you believed about yourself. As surely as believing has brought you to where you are, it will take you where you want to go.
(This article is based on the new eight message series entitled: What to Do When You’ve Done It All and Nothing Seems to Work! )