It has been studied that 47 percent of Americans make New Year's resolutions. Only 8 percent have been found to actually achieve those resolutions.
It seems today that people are very prone to talking about change, but not really stepping into it. We look at transformation sometimes as a "it would be nice" rather than an actual reality that can manifest in our lives.
Why is it that when it comes to long-lasting transformation, there seems to be a very tiny percentage of people to experience it? Over the years, I have found that there are some key blocks that get in the way of people developing goals, reaching them and growing more and more.
We have to be aware of these roadblocks, because they will take people out every time they seek to walk in transformation:
1. There is no clear vision. This one is at the top of the list, because when I interview people about their lives, the majority have no clear vision for their lives. They can fake it in conversation with "what would be nice" kind of talk, but they have made no steps toward the things they speak of.
The reality is that our brokenness and lack of being mentored has kept us from having a clear vision that we are following in our day-to-day choices. Our lack of mentoring leaves us with no references. Our brokenness keeps us stuck with a broken vision.
When you have a laser-focused vision of who you are and where you are going, then nothing will stop you from making the steps necessary.
Sadly, I watch so many who are perishing from the inside out because they lack vision. Their decisions day to day reflect a lack of divine potential in their hearts. They are living from a lesser perspective than God's.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18).
If we want to see change take place in our lives, we have to have a vision; otherwise, we will lack discipline and do whatever our feelings dictate in the moment.
"Where there is no vision, the people perish; but happy is he who keeps the teaching" (Prov. 29:18).
2. We do not count the cost. This takes many out, because going into change, they don't understand paying a price. Many today want everything free with little investment. So when things get hard, they bail out way too quickly. I am very concerned about the "quitter spirit" developing among people—simply because many do not understand that a cost is involved in every endeavor.
Jesus was always clear about costs involved before entering into any transformative decision.
"For who among you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost to see whether he has resources to complete it?" (Luke 14:28).
The goal is finishing. Most people start off strong and fizzle out. I have watched hundreds of people start off strong in their commitment to God, their marriage, weight loss, business endeavors, ministry starts and many other goals, only to disappear.
One of biggest contributors to this is that talk has become really cheap. We talk so much about what we are going to do, but we never do it. So our words lose power in our lives. Studies have found that it is a mistake to share with everyone what big change you are making. Your body has a chemical reaction in your talking to everyone about it that makes you feel like you have achieved it already. So therefore you don't take much further action.
Those who count the cost know to make a plan and share it only with a few close people, because they know there is a cost involved. Therefore, we must be aware that everything in life is a process.
3. We do not live from priority. Most people's lives are lived out to serve the urgent, not the important. Not everything that urgently screams at you is important. In fact, most are not. Everyone is in a daily battle to walk in the priority of heaven and not chase things that have no long-term value. We have to guard our priorities in a daily fight, lest they be taken away from us.
Jesus said to seek first the kingdom. That word first is "proton" which means "first in time, place, order and importance." Everything else falls into place when the priorities of heaven are operating in our lives.
If not, we end up serving whatever is the loudest in our days. We will live busy, but not effective days. Our lives become stressed and we live worry-filled lives. In the end, we have no margin and what is important for transformation does not get tended to.
The only way to fight this is to establish on paper is what is of critical importance in our lives. Make those non-negotiable by putting them on your calendar as appointments, so each week, you are visiting what is important.
4. We lack heart connection. One of the plagues in our current generation is a disease of "shut-down hearts." A spiritual and emotional numbness has come over the hearts and lives of those who have not tended to the issues of the heart. They have been broken or distracted. Brokenness causes our heart to become infected and worn down. Distractions cause us to fill our hearts with things that do not feed to the life of the heart.
Jesus said if you want to find the heart of the person, find the treasure. We have to discover what has captured our hearts and kept us distracted from what really matters.
So the question is, "Do you really want to change?" The only way you can truly say yes is if you have a heart connection. But most people are truly numbed and cannot have a heart connection leading to transformation in their lives.
Here are some common conditions that affect this:
- A Misplaced Heart: Affections and attention to things that are shallow, so our passion for the things of God wanes (Rev. 3:15-16)
- A Dulled Heart: When heart relationship has not been cultivated, so your spiritual senses cannot receive (Acts 28:26-27)
- A Hard Heart: A condition where a fresh work of God to bring change is blocked from your heart (Mark 16:14)
- A Disconnected Heart: Going through the motions but with no passionate desire (Jer. 29:13)
The only way these conditions are solved is when a person comes to the place of "enough is enough." We often don't change until we hurt enough that we have to change. We have to humble our hearts so God can heal us and fill us again with a proper affection for His ways to change.
5. We have knowledge but little application. This may sound harsh, but it seems we are the smartest generation in knowledge and the dumbest in application. Our head knowledge by far exceeds the application. Millions could tell others how they need to lose weight but don't do it. Most Christians could talk about how to have a great prayer life but don't have one. Knowledge abounds everywhere, but it is meaningless unless added to experience and application.
Many believers walk around with a lot of head knowledge to impress people, but as the Scripture says, it just puffs them up. There is no true manifestation in their lives.
I have found it to be important to never think I have learned something unless I am actually applying it in my daily life. Even then, I still need to be position as a constant learner. Those in healthy transformation are always positioning themselves as novices, always learning, applying and making adjustments.
Those who break free from this hurdle have to humble themselves and become teachable by others in their life. They have to develop a posture where they stop thinking they know it all and receive from God and others what they need to grow. This moves us from just being hearers of the Word into becoming actual doers of the Word.
6. We are not equipped for the resistance of spiritual war. Most believers know there is an enemy but have few tools to overcome his work. We spend our time shadow boxing in our prayers or we get caught up in being hard on ourselves, thinking, "What is wrong with me?" Meanwhile, the enemy, who comes to steal, kill and destroy, is having his way in people's thoughts, families and communities, eroding health and vitality.
If we are not armed up for the spiritual resistance that comes against us, then transformation will always be far from us.
This is one of my biggest passions in helping people, because spiritual warfare is not only very real but also very practical. We have left this entire subject to only those who make it so mystical that it seems out of reach or so odd. In in reality, those thoughts and feelings that rise up in you to resist your fruitfulness—that is the war over your life. Recognize it as the enemy, because you must position yourself to break agreement with his ways and develop a stern spiritual resistance.
Are your spiritual muscles strong? Have you developed a strong spirit? This can only come by developing a spiritual awareness over your life and purpose and utilizing the tools of Scripture to fight the enemy that wars within your members.
7. We never get to the root issues. We waste so much time chopping away at branches while never seeing the roots system that keeps feeding those deadly growths in our lives. Many of our bad habits, struggles and areas of bondage have a root that drives them. Without addressing the root, we fruitlessly cut leaves with little long-term change.
The ministry of Jesus lays a foundation of cutting down to the root system.
"Even now the axe is put to the root of the trees" (Luke 3:9).
We don't get to the root system for two main reasons:
- Ignorance: We don't know any better.
- Denial: We don't want to know. This involves a combination of fear, where we don't think we can handle the issue, so we avoid it. Then pride comes in because we don't want to be vulnerable or exposed regarding the issue.
Here are some quick signs that we live in ignorance or denial about the root issues we need to face:
- You do the same thing over and over again without any change.
- You have "don't go there" topics that people cannot bring up.
- You don't have anyone who speaks into the issues of your life.
- There is an unwillingness to be stretched.
When we get to the root issue, we develop leverage over the enemy because we realize what is feeding the problem. True spiritual discernment involves looking beyond the struggle in front of us and seeing to the foundation that empowers this bondage in our lives.
So what about you? What block do you need to face in this coming year?
Mark DeJesus has been equipping people in a full-time capacity since 1995, serving in various roles, including teaching people of all ages, communicating through music, writing books, leading and mentoring. Mark's deepest love is his family: his wife, Melissa; son, Maximus; and daughter, Abigail. Mark is a teacher, author and mentor who uses many forms of media, including the written word, a weekly radio podcast show and videos. His deepest call involves equipping people to live as overcomers. Through understanding inside-out transformation, Mark's message involves getting to the root of issues that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day-to-day peace. He is passionately reaching his world with a transforming message of love, healing and freedom. Out of their own personal renewal, Mark and Melissa founded Turning Hearts Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inside out transformation. Mark also founded Transformed You, a communication platform for his teachings, writing and broadcasts designed to encourage people in their journey of transformation.
For the original article, visit markdejesus.com.
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