Creflo Dollar - The Process Of Change - Part 2
I've said it before and I say it again and again that the most important thing you can do as a human being is to be born again and make Jesus the Lord of your life. But now once you have been born again, the most important thing, the necessary thing, it's got to be renewing your mind. Renewing your mind is exchanging your thoughts for God's thoughts, your opinions for God's opinions. It's literally taking your way of thinking, lining it up with the Word; and if your thinking doesn't line up with the Word, you don't try to change the Word. You allow the Word to change your thinking.
Now, you wouldn't believe the number of people that get born again, and nobody tells them the importance of being discipled, and discipleship is gonna be all about renewing your mind, renewing your mind. And so what happens is some people get born again, and they still behave the same way, why? Because they're not renewing their mind. They're not experiencing change. Notice the Bible says that you can be transformed, or changed, by renewing your mind. I mean, what good is it to get born again and have the exact same behavior after you get born again? So, what's the deal there? Well, there is something we have to do. There's something we need to do, something that's vital for us to do. I mean, God's grace and mercy has taken care of everything else, but now God's not gonna renew your mind for you. You're gonna have to renew your mind in order to see the transformation that the born-again experience has to offer you. You have to renew your mind in order to see the change.
And so you've got to understand that change is a process. Change is a lifestyle. Renewing the mind is not an event. Renewing the mind is a lifestyle. Now, one of the things that was really a very important statement last Wednesday night was the fact that renewing the mind is not just for learning. It's also for changing. Renewing the mind is more than just learning. Learning is important. That's a part of your discipleship when you get born again and start renewing your mind. Learning things according to God's Word is very important, but you're learning things so you can experience the objective of why you're learning things, and that is to change.
So, renewing the mind is not just learning. It's changing. Renewing the mind is not just learning. It's changing. So, if your life is still. in some areas. conformed with the world's way of doing things, that is probably the area where there needs to be renewing the mind. You probably need to renew your mind in that particular area. And there are lots of Christians who are still in conformity with the ways of the world just because they haven't renewed the mind. You know, I don't know what it is about people that get born again and they think, "Hey, I already know how to live a saved life". That's just not how that works.
A plumber's got to go and learn how to work on pipes before he can open up a business. A doctor's gotta go to medical school before he can practice medicine. And you, the Christian, you wanna get born again and think you know everything, and that's not how that works. You have to renew your mind in order to experience change. And so we're talking about that process of change, and I wanna get into that. And we're gonna look at the 12, I call it the 12-step program for change. Just make it simple for you, 12-step program to change. And the first step, in order to see and experience change in your life, now, this is as a result of renewing your mind. As you renew your mind, these are certain things that you'll see. But I wanna see if I can put in steps, so it can give you something to begin to set some objectives.
So, number one, the first thing you've gotta do is make a decision to change. This is the 12 steps to change. The first thing you've got to do is to make a decision to change. You see, without a decision, it can never become real. The decision is the open door for that change to become a reality in your life. And you'd be surprised the number of people who've just not made the decision to change. You see, just because you desire to change doesn't mean you change. Just cause you wanna change doesn't mean you change. Change isn't change until you have changed. And so we see in Deuteronomy chapter 30 and verse 19 the power of decision, that you've gotta get to the place where you can make a decision. Because without the decision to change, you're probably not gonna see change in your life. And that decision is a decision to renew my mind and the decision to change.
Notice what he says in Deuteronomy 30:19. He says, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, and blessings and cursings". So, notice he says, "I set it before you. Life is there, death is there, blessing's is there, cursing's there". And he says, "Therefore choose". Choose. And then he gives you a hint: choose life. He can't choose for you, but he's trying to tell you, "Now you've gotta make the choice". You're a free, moral agent. "Choose life that both thou and thy seed may live". So, see the importance. See blessings and cursings, and life and death, it's there. But whatever is gonna be in your life, whatever is gonna happen to you is gonna be based on the decision you made, where change is concerned.
And then look at this. I love this Scripture, Joshua chapter 24 and verse 15. You know, in this context, they were talking about the fact that they served idols, and they served all these different idols, and now we're telling them to serve God, but he wanted to let them know, "You still have a choice". In verse 15 he says, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, then choose you this day whom you will serve, whether you serve the gods, which your fathers served, that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell". He says, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". And so you've gotta understand it's still a choice. You know, heaven and hell is a choice. You can choose the path that leads to hell, the path that leads to heaven, but you will never be able to say, "The devil made me do it". Neither will you ever be able to say, "It's God's fault that I didn't change". Change is a choice. It is a decision you have to make, first base in the process of change.
Second step in this process of change: turn over your will to God totally and completely. Turn over your will to God totally and completely. Go with me to the book of Matthew, chapter 26:39. Matthew chapter 26:39. And look what he said here. He says, "And he went up a little further, and he fell on his face, and he prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me". So, Jesus has taken on the torment of all of the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane. And you know, his first thought was, "Take this cup from me". He's like, "You mean to tell me I've gotta take on everybody's sin upon my body? Then I've gotta die on a cross and literally be beat up and crucified on the cross, and have my flesh torn into pieces, and then I've gotta go to hell for three days and three nights"? That's a pretty heavy thing, a pretty heavy cup. And his first thought was, "Take this cup from me," but he knew the power of, watch this, "No, Lord, not as I will, but as thou wilt".
See, if you're gonna see change in your life, it's not gonna be you trying to carry out your will, but it's you deciding to submit your will to God's will. You have to begin to look at your life and say, "Lord, is it my will that I'm trying to accomplish? But will I be able to do what Jesus did? No, not my will, but let your will be done". Because when his will is being done for you, you're gonna end up at the right place, at the right time, doing the right things. You're gonna be prosperous, you're gonna be healthy, you're gonna be all the things that you're striving to try to be right now, because you are saying, "God, I lay my will down, and I want your will to be done". Look at John chapter 5 and verse 30, John chapter 5 and verse 30. As I was looking at some Scriptures today, I saw this. And he says, "I can of my own self do nothing," Jesus said. "As I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just," why? "Because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me".
There's something so amazingly safe and successful when you seek God's will for your life, rather than seeking your will. Are you willing to make that change? Are you willing to make the change to say, "You know what God? Not my will, but I'm gonna want your will to be done in my life. Let your will be done in my life". In fact, James 4:15 says this. You know, we're always going around talking about what we're gonna do and how we're gonna do it and when we're gonna do it. But when you become sensitive to laying your will down, and submitting to God's will for your life. You're gonna say this. See, in verse 15 it says, "For that you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or do that". Well, we're always talking about, you know, you know, "I wanna do this, I wanna do that". But he says, "You know what? What we ought to be saying is, if it's the Lord's will, then we'll do this and we'll do that".
And so that's very important, that if you wanna see change, in this process of change, you've gotta turn over your will to God totally and completely and say, "God, not my will, but I want your will to be done in my life". I don't know. How many years do you have to waste before you realize, "I've been trying to accomplish my will for the last, what, 10, 20, 30, 40 years," when you could just easily begin to pursue God and say, "God, I want your will". The truth of the matter is a lot of people are not interested in God's will for their life, because they've already decided, "This is what I want for my life". And then it ends up in a ditch somewhere. I tell you, you're gonna be happier, you're gonna be more prosperous, you're gonna be successful, you're gonna be healed and healthy when the will of God is able to operate in your life, but that has to be something that you decide.
Here's the third step in the process of change. Possessing, number three, possessing a strong desire to change. Now, this is so, so very important. I wanna say some things, and then I wanna make sure you hear this loud and clear. First of all, you know, possessing a desire to change, I wanna establish this thing, and I'll deal with it a little bit more. If you will submit to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will begin to work in you to give you the desire to do what pleases God. He'll begin, you know, that can be something that can be Holy Spirit birthed in your life, and you can possess that desire to change. But more on a practical level, understand you will never change because someone else desires for you to change. Just because somebody desires for you to change, just because your mama wants you to change doesn't mean you're going to change. And so you must have the desire to change.
Desire is the motivation of life, and God knows that. And what you attend to is what you'll desire. What you will attend to is what you desire. What you give your attention to is what you're going to desire. Please listen to that. What you give your attention to, what you expose yourself to is gonna be the thing that produces the desire in your heart. You expose yourself to the things of God, you'll have a desire to change in line with the things of God. But if you expose yourself to the things of the world, then your change will be in line with what you've been exposed to. Your change will be in line with what you've been giving your attention to.
Let me show you this Scripture in the Amplified, James chapter 1:14 in the Amplified. This is so, so very key for us. James 1:14 says, "But every person is tempted, or tested, or tried," when? "When he's drawn away, and enticed, and baited by his own evil desire". It's not the devil. You wanna blame that on the devil. He says, "No, you're tempted, you're tested, you're tried when you're baited by your own desires". So, whatever you've been hanging around has the potential to reel you in. Whatever you have been giving your attention to has the potential to reel you in. And so please understand the desire area of your life can be produced by spending time with the things of God, whatever you spend your time with. The Bible says, "Delight thyself in the Lord, and he'll give you the desires of your heart". I mean, if you become pliable and spending time with God, and getting to know God, he says that will be responsible for putting the desire of God on the inside of you, and that's what you'll want.
Let me show you this Scripture in Philippians chapter 2 in the New Living Translation, Philippians 2:13, Philippians 2:13. Desire is so interesting, because people have it, but they don't necessarily know how they got it. People have desires, don't necessarily know where it came from, but it's gonna come from what you expose yourself to and what you give your attention to. You can create desire. You can create desire. See, God is working, the Bible says in 2:13, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him". See, what happens is if you'll give your attention to renewing your mind, and you give your attention to that Word, then that's what you're gonna desire. You know, when he's talking about "Delight yourself in the Lord; he'll give you the desires of your heart," he's not talking about he's gonna give you your car, your house, what he's talking about is if you spend time with God, you're gonna start wanting to desire what he desires. If that Word abides in you, and you abide in that Word, then you'll have what you say, because that Word abiding in you has changed your desires to line up with that Word that's abiding in you. That's what that's talking about. And the same thing here.
See, when you've been spending time with God's Word and spending time in his presence, then you give God the opportunity to start working in you, and then he starts taking away the old "want-tos," giving you the new "want-tos," and now you're desiring what he desires. And you've got to understand desire is the motivation for life. It's the motivation for life. When you spend your time with what's right, you're gonna desire what's right. When you spend your time with what's wrong, you're gonna desire what's wrong, and that wrong desire could end up trapping you and killing you. You can't do that. There are people that create unhealthy desires all the time. And I guarantee you, when they come and say that they desire this, or they're addicted to this, I can just back and say, "Listen, I know what you've been spending your time doing, because your time given to that thing and that attention, that is why you've got that desire on the inside of you". And so number three, possessing a strong desire to change is that third step in the process of change.
Number four is very interesting. Number four in this: 12-step process of change, deepen your knowledge base. This is so important. Deepen your knowledge base. Go to Hosea chapter 4:6. You see, your knowledge base must increase if your life experience is to increase. Your knowledge base must increase if your life experience is to increase. Your knowledge base is the foundation on which you are building. But if your knowledge base is shallow or if it is small, then your life experience will be shallow, and it will be small. And so there are ways, I mean, just practically speaking, there are ways to deepen your knowledge or, you know, maybe some courses that you can take and books you can read, tapes and videos, church attendance. Those are all things that can help deepen your knowledge. You're coming to these Bible studies on Wednesday night. Those are ways to deepen your knowledge.
But look at what he says in Hosea chapter 4 and verse 6. I'm gonna read it in the King James and then the NLT. He says, "My people are destroyed," look at there, "they're destroyed because of what they don't know. They're destroyed because of lack of knowledge". There's so many people I know today, especially in this generation, they're destroyed because of what they don't know, what they don't know. And in fact, in this generation, people know more than what they understand. He says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge". Isn't that the thing? That's just like, "Well, I don't wanna know what the Bible says". And they don't even know it. The don't know of God, and he says, "Because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shall be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of God, and I will also forget thy children".
Now look at this in the NLT, because it's not just the obtaining of knowledge that he's talking about here. It's not just the obtaining of knowledge. I'm not talking about just, again, learning. He's not saying, "My people are destroyed because they're not learning". Notice what he says here in NLT. He says, "My people are being destroyed because they don't know me. They don't know me". See, that's the real deal behind this. He says, "My people are destroyed because they don't know me". And when we talk about deepening your knowledge base, we're talking about intimate relationship with God. You see, when you get to know God and you have a deep relationship with God, even deeper knowledge is gonna come, as a result of it. It's not just, well, "My people destroyed because of what they don't know". That is true, but if you wanna go in the deep knowledge of God, it's not just the knowledge you get from God. It's knowing God, which enables you to get that knowledge from God. "My people are destroyed because they don't know God".
There are lots of people today that are destroyed from sickness and disease because they don't know God. There are people today who are living in poverty, because they don't know God, people who are sad, broken, depressed, because they don't know God. Because when you know God... I don't care how hard-headed you can be about something. When you know God, he will come and convict you about some things, lead you, change you. God does some miraculous things just on the inside of our heart. And people are destroyed because they don't know God. I don't know about you, but I don't wanna just, you know, be a church goer. I don't wanna just be somebody that has a title of Christian. You know, I don't wanna do any... I wanna know God. I mean, I got in this to know God, and I wanna know him intimately. And that's just, that's a pretty good deal. So, anyway, number four, deepen your knowledge base, not just gathering of knowledge, but ultimately, "My people are destroyed because they don't know me," all right?
Number five, here's the fifth step in this process of change, the fifth step in this process of change. And number five says, "Look into the Word as a mirror to change". Look into the Word as a mirror to change. Let's look at 2 Corinthians chapter 3:18, both in the King James first, and then the Amplified. This is pretty powerful because I'm always telling people, "Listen, you're really not ever gonna change until you can get away from that mirror that's lying to you and find a mirror that'll tell you the truth".
You see, look into the Word as a mirror to change. Look into the Word. I can't say this enough. You cannot, will not be a successful Christian aside from the Word of God. You know, part of faith is doing the Word, acting on his Word, but you don't know enough Word to act on. And then I often say to people, when they come to me complaining about how bad it is, I ask them, "Are you satisfied with the amount of time you've been spending with God and his Word"? And the answer is always, "No, I'm not".
Change is gonna come when you start looking into that mirror of change, and that mirror of change, for the Christian, is the Word of the living God. Look what he says in the King James. He says, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord," now notice this part here. "We are changed into the same image from glory to glory," and notice this part, "even by the Spirit of the Lord".
Notice the Spirit of the Lord accepts responsibility for changing you when you, when you take the initiative to start looking into that Word. The Bible says we're changed just by beholding Jesus. And we behold him in the Word. We behold Jesus as we begin to read about him and what he's done for us and what he's provided for us, and the promise is that as you look into the Word of God, this just, this really blows my mind, as you look into the Word of God, you're gonna be changed from glory to glory, by the Holy Spirit. You know, here's what I see the Scripture saying. If you will get in the Word, and begin to focus on the Word, you will allow the Holy Spirit to focus on your change. If you'll focus on the Word, then the Holy Spirit will focus on your change.