Creflo Dollar - The Process Of Change - Part 3
Romans chapter 12, verses 1 through 2, in the Amplified if you have that. Romans 12, verses 1 through 2, in the Amplified Bible. And then we're gonna review, we did six steps last week, review those really quick, and then we're gonna pick up with the remaining steps concerning this "Process of Change". Romans chapter 12, verse 1, "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg you in the view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies presenting all your members and faculties as a living sacrifice, holy, devoted, consecrated, and well pleasing to God," verse 2, "which is your reasonable service, rational intelligence".
He says, "Now, do not be conformed to this world, this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs, but be transformed", and it has in parentheses "changed". "Be transformed or be changed," how? "By the entire renewal of your mind". So notice, the transformation or the change is gonna begin with renewing the mind, and so I thought we would look at what I call the 12-step process to renewing the mind... oh, excuse me, the 12 steps to change is what we're talkin' about. So last week, real quickly, the first step to change was to make a decision to change. Without a decision, that door of change just won't be opened.
So the first step was to make a decision to change. Choose life or death, blessings or cursing. You have to decide.
The second step to change was turn over your will to God totally and completely. Turn your will over to God totally and completely so "It's not my will, Lord, but it's your will be done". And this comes as a result of renewing your mind. Change takes place.
Here's the third process of change, possessing a strong desire to change. You're not gonna change because, you know, somebody wants you to change. You're not gonna change because your mama wants you to change. You're gonna change because you have a desire to change. And last week, we told you how the Holy Spirit will play a part in imparting that desire for change in your life.
Number four, last week, we talked about deepen your knowledge base, that your knowledge base must increase if your life experience is gonna increase. So if your life experience is gonna increase, your knowledge base has got to increase. We talked about that.
Number five, look into the Word as a mirror to change. Look into the Word as a mirror to change, and when you do that, the Holy Spirit has accepted the responsibility of helping you to change and to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We talked about that.
Number six, number six, diligently apply the truth you've learned day after day. Diligently apply the truth that you've learned day after day. Now, let's pick up with this one and continue on. So the sixth step in change is diligently apply the truths you learned day after day. Let's look at Jeremiah chapter 12, in 16, because, when you're diligent about something, you're gonna really get ahead in life. You change or renew the spirit of your mind through diligence. You will change and renew the spirit of your mind through diligence. How diligent are you? The Bible says in Jeremiah chapter 12, in 16, he says, "Then it shall come to pass, if they will," what? "Diligently learn the ways of my people," if they will... see, he's talkin' about learning the ways, but you have to do it diligently learning the ways.
So you change or renew the spirit of your mind through diligence, and basically diligently thinking new thoughts, diligently seeking new ways, diligently applying yourself to grow and to change. You know, many people fail in this process of renewing the mind because they fail to be consistent. They fail to be consistent. Look at Hebrews chapter 11, in 6. A failure to be consistent. I always like to say consistency is the key to the breakthrough. If you want to break through and experience change in your life, how consistent are you? It's just what you do. It's what you do day by day, by day, being consistent or being diligent.
Look at verse 6. He says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is," and watch this, "and that God is a rewarder of them," watch this, "that diligently seeks him". I mean, are you only seeking God when you're in trouble, or is it a relationship where this thing is consistent? I believe somethin' so big happens when you turn your Christianity into a relationship where something consistent is happening between you and God. You have a relationship with him. You are diligently seeking Him. And then, look at Proverbs 12, in 24. You're diligently seekin' him. When I use the word "diligence," I'm talkin' about constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken. Basically, I'm lookin' at being persistent. Are you being persistent? And in Proverbs 12, in 24, he says, "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule". "The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful," or the lazy one, "shall be under tribute".
Now, one of the things you gotta understand is I believe diligence demands change, and I don't wanna get you to the point where you're just, like, it's all self-effort, but the thing that you need to be diligent about is God, your relationship with God and seeking him and being persistent and consistent in your relationship with God and that's where the real change is. I don't want you to confuse what I'm saying. It's the fact that I am diligently seeking the Lord. I'm diligently trusting God. I'm diligently relying of God, amen?
I don't want you to get this point where you think, "Well, if I could just do this, and I'm gon' make God do what he's already done". No, please understand that there are some things that God has already finished, things that God has already done, so if you're gonna be diligent, be diligent about your thanksgiving. Be diligent about your praise. Be diligent about seeking God. Don't try to be diligent about somethin' that Jesus has already done. Be diligent about believing God, and your faith, and all of those things. Apply diligence in the right place, and you know what? You will receive the reward. You know, faith takes possession of what grace has already made. So be diligent in your life of faith, be faithful to the faith life, and your faith will take possession of what has already come to pass. So that's the sixth step, diligent apply the truths that you have learned day by day, and that's true, diligence in applying the truth every day, not just learning, but applying those true things into your life.
Number seven, the seventh step in this process of change: guard the entrances to your heart. Guard the entrances to your heart. Proverbs chapter 4, and starting at verse 20 here, now, this is so important. If you wanna change, you're gonna have to understand that Satan is after your ground, your heart. The heart is the ground that will grow your life. Whatever gets in your heart can show up in your life. That's so powerful. Whatever gets in your heart can show up in your life, and if you don't put guards over the entrances of your heart, then you could allow some unwanted seeds to come in, plant some things in your heart, and then it shows up in your life. I mean, the Bible says, "Out of the heart flows the issues of life," all right?
Look what it says in verse 20. Let's identify the entrances into a man's heart. He says, "My son, attend to my words," so that's vital. Words act like seed if we're gonna compare it to farming. He said, "Incline thine ear unto my sayings". Oh, the ear is an entrance. "Let them words not depart from thine eyes". So the eyes would be an entrance. "Keep them in the midst of thine heart". Verse 22, "For they are life unto those that find them, and they are health", look there, "It's health to all their flesh". Come on, 23. "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the," what? "Issues of life". 24, "Put away from thee," watch this next entrance, "a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee". Because, you know, "Let your eyes look right on. Let your eyelids look straight before thee".
And this just goes on and on, but we've identified those three entrances into a man's heart, and the three entrances into a man's heart is the eye gate, the ear gate, and your mouth. Put a guard over your eyes, put a guard over your ears, and put a guard over your mouth because what happens is, if you don't put a guard at the front of the entrance, then it just kind of just floats into your heart, and so you've got to be aware of, you know, your eyes. What are you giving your attention to? Your ears; what are you hearing? Your mouth; what are you saying? And those are the entrances into a man's heart, and he says to guard your heart, for out of it flows the issue of life. So if there's gonna be change in your life, you're gonna have to change what you're allowing through your eye gate, you're gonna have to change what you are allowing through your ear gate, and you gotta change what you're saying with your mouth. Those are the entrances into the heart. So guard the entrances of your heart. That's step seven to this process of change.
Now look at step eight. This is good: Defend your mind against the old thoughts. Defend your mind against the old thoughts. Now, there's one thing I'm sure of. Pressure applied to your life will indicate what's really on the inside of you. Pressure that's applied to your life will indicate what you have on the inside of you. It indicates what's in your heart. It's kinda like an orange: you put pressure on an orange, it'll put the squeeze on, and you'll see the juice that comes out. Well, defend your mind against old thoughts. Now, how many of you understand that old thoughts are gonna show up, okay? They may go away for a bit, but Satan kind of uses the same file. Whatever he was successful with in times past, he's gonna hang on to that. So are you prepared for those old thoughts that continue to challenge your life? Are you prepared for those old thoughts to show up?
Well, let's look at 2 Corinthians chapter 10, in verses 3 through 5, because defend your mind against those thoughts. Somebody says, "Well, how do you do that"? I used to think, well, there's nothin' I could do about thoughts. I mean, how am I gonna have anything to do about thoughts? It just kind of shows up when it shows up. Not exactly. Let's look at verse 3 through 5. He says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh". Verse 4, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they're mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity," watch this, "every thought to the obedience of Christ," isn't that somethin'?
You can bring into captivity every thought. You can literally capture every thought. Well, how do you do that? With words. You have to open your mouth to catch those negative thoughts. So when that negative thought comes and says you're gonna die, and you have to open your mouth up and declare what the Word says: "I will live and not die". Now, what happens when you open your mouth up and declare the Word in the middle of that thought, that bad thought, that old thought knockin' on the door? Well, you capture that old thought, and you bring it into captivity, and you bring that thought into obedience of Christ. You're kind of like a maintenance person over your thought life, and you've got to be aware of what you're thinkin' about. You've gotta think about what you're thinkin' about.
And so, when you recognize that this old, familiar thought shows up, that's when your renewing of the mind comes into place. You now take what the Word says. You speak it out loud. You pull that thought down and capture that thought, and don't allow it entrance into your heart. So we can be custodians over our thought life, but it's gonna require us renewing our mind with the Word of God so we can take what we got from God's Word and use it like a net to capture that thought before it enters into your heart, and then once it gets into your heart and it's on there, you know, then you literally release it, and it becomes a part of your life. The Bible says, "Take no thought, saying". It's kind of like, how do you sign for a thought? You open your mouth and you say it.
So it's not only just, you know, what you're giving your attention to that doesn't line up with the Word or what you're hearing that doesn't line up with the Word, but also if you're openin' your mouth and agreeing with that bad thought, then you're signin' for that package. So defend your mind against old thoughts. I like Matthew chapter 6, in 28. I just mention it, Matthew 6:28 and 31. Let's just look at it anyway, Matthew 6:28 and verse 31. He says, "And why take ye thought for your clothes, or raiment"?
Now, the first thing that got my attention is the way he said it: "Why take ye thought"? So that means you can take a thought, and if you can take a thought, that means also you don't have to take a thought. So I'm interested in what has to happen in order for you to take a thought. He said, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin". Now look at verse 31. He says, "Therefore take no thought," watch this, "saying," so that's how you take a thought, "saying". See, just 'cause you have a thought doesn't mean you have to sign for the package. Just cause a thought shows up doesn't mean you have to give it voice and take it because, when you give it voice, you have taken the thought. So make sure that you don't allow yourself to open your mouth and literally sign for the package. Cast that thought down, bring it into captivity, and don't let it enter into the field or the ground of your heart, "for out of the heart flows the issues", or another translation says, "flows the forces of life," amen?
Now, step nine. Step nine. Be selective of what I expose myself to. Now, we just spoke about that, but this is so important. Be selective to what you expose yourself to. Now, what am I talkin' about? I'm talkin' about exposing yourself to certain people. I'm talking about exposing yourself to certain places. I'm talkin' about exposing yourself to certain things. Be careful and be selective of what you choose to expose yourself to. You know, a lot of people say, "Well, you know, I'm not gon' do nothin', I'm just goin'". Yeah, but, you know, that's how a lot of seed is sown. You're not doin' a good job of being selective and selectin' the right things to expose yourself to.
Here's Galatians 6:7, if you'll flip over there. Here's what it has to say about this, and this is so important that you are selective of what you expose yourself to. Verse 7, says this. He says, "Be not deceived. God is not mocked". Watch this: "For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also harvest," or reap. Look at this in the NLT. So he tells us don't be deceived, and the deception is that you think that you can just expose yourself to anything, and, you know, it doesn't affect you in any way. And he's settling that, he says, "Don't be misled," in the NLT. "Don't be misled. You cannot mock the justice of God". Can't make fun of the justice of God. "You will always harvest what you plant". "You will always harvest what you plant".
And that's the question tonight: What're you planting? What're you givin' attention to? What're you choosin' to expose yourself to? I know people don't wanna hear this anymore. They just think it's ridiculous for somebody to talk about stuff like this, but this is life. This is the anatomy of life. And he says, "Don't be deceived". So when you say that it's okay, "I can plant this thing, and I won't get a harvest," he says you're misled. He says you're misled. "You cannot mock the justice of God". Whatsoever, he says, "You will always, always, always harvest what you plant". So if you don't like where your life is, plant a new type of seed. If you don't like what's goin' on, stop planting and exposing yourself to the same thing. You expose yourself to brokenness, you gon' get broke. You expose yourself to frustration and anger, you will always, always, always harvest what you plant, both good and bad, might I add.
Number ten, here's the tenth step of change. This is very important: Disassociate yourself from the past. Disassociate from the past. Now, let me add perspective to this. You're talkin' about pickin' up past victories, great things that God has done, havin' a flashback of the goodness of God? Absolutely, you know that. You use that for your encouragement. You believe that, if he did it once back then, he'll do it again right now. But we're talkin' about that dangerous past, that past that's filled with condemnation and shame and great temptation and guilt. We're talkin' about that kind of past, full of sin and lasciviousness. You gotta... and, listen, also people. Also people. Disassociate from the past.
Look at Philippians chapter 3:13. I wanna share two or three Scriptures with you right here. Philippians chapter 3:13. Out of all the things that the apostle Paul could say, here's what he decided to say. He said, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended," or attained, "but this one thing," one thing? Out of everything, you have attained but one thing? He says, "Yeah," he says, "but this one thing I do, this one thing I do", what is that one thing that he said, "I do"? "Forgetting those things which are behind, and I reach to the things that are before me, and reaching forth unto those things which are before me". And listen to me very carefully. He says, "This is the one thing I got. I need to forget the stuff that's behind me so that it will enable me to reach to those things that are before me".
Some of you are stuck in the past. Some of you are tied to the past, and the past is wounding you right now, and it's stopping you from reaching this place where God's trying to bring you, but every time you get close to it, it's like the rope has been tied to your waist, and it just won't let you go any further. But Paul says, "This one thing I know I got to do. I gotta forget about the things", and listen, you gotta remember what did Paul do. He persecuted the church. He was behind the stoning of Stephen. He had to forget about all of that tormenting, condemning, shameful, guilty stuff. He had to let it go in order to go forward. Had he not be willing to let it go, he would've never gone forward. You gotta disassociate from the past, or it'll stop you from the glorious wonders of the future.
Look at Isaiah chapter 43, verses 18 and 19. Isaiah 43, verses 18 and 19. Now check out what he's saying right here. He says, "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old". I'm believin' that this is kind of the same thing Paul was talkin' about. It's not just forget it just for the sake of forgetting it or don't remember it just for the sake of not remembering. He says, "Behold, I will do a new thing". And in a lot of your lives, God has been tryin' to do a new thing, but you just can't let go of the old. You're stuck with the old when God's tryin' to take you to the new. "Now it shall spring forth. Shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert".
See, God says, instead of remembering the wilderness, instead of remembering the desert, you know, we love to preach about the wilderness and the deserts, but God says, "I'm gonna make a way, I'm gonna make a way. I'm gon' give you some rivers in the deserts. I'm gon' make a way in the wilderness if you can let go of some of that painful, hurtful stuff in the past and renew your mind where that is concerned". So you may feel comfortable with some of your old ties, but you may never get to the place that God wants to take you.