Day 38: Quality Results Require Quality Effort

None of the so called, "secret of success" formulas will work... unless you do. Anonymous

This is a longer article, but it contains important concepts that are hopefully worth the 5 minutes of your time it will take to read.

In Week 4, we looked at the importance of, 1: Getting started, 2: Sacrifice, 3: Zeal, and 4: Trusting God. Since no plan of merit will work unless you actually get started, it seems good to be reminded at the midway point that you have to begin sometime. This determination to start such a monumental change will only work if we have the enthusiasm and the willingness to make sacrifices for God - after all, big changes do not come without some pain. Trust in God is vital, since men will never make a single change for God unless they really believe that He knows best.

In Week 5, we looked at the concepts of, 1: Trust, but verify, 2: Faith, 3: Goodness, and 4: Knowledge. The idea of trusting but verifying is the understanding that men make mistakes - usually unintentionally, but sometimes with intent. So, whether you have been following the advice of friends, family, preachers, pastors or priests, you need to compare every word they say about God with the actual Word of God. If somebody is teaching something that is different from the Bible, they are, by definition, a false teacher. So, verify!

The next step of faith is clearly pivotal to Christianity. If you do not believe in God and His Son, there is no reason to change your life - you would be wasting your time. Goodness of heart is also critical, as it will do you no good to attempt to serve God if you have no desire to be good. As to just what the proper definition of "goodness" is, you will actually have to read the Bible for that answer. Knowledge, true knowledge, of God's plan for you is found in only one place: The Bible.

Week 6 looked at the topics of 1: Self-control, 2: Perseverance, 3: Godliness, and 4: Kindness. By this stage, you should be making real progress towards real change. This means that you are finding some things in God's Word that are contrary to the way you might have been living for many years. Sin is more than just a "bad habit" and it will take self-control to change those things that God defines as sin, as it will take self-control to add those things that God deems necessary.

Perseverance is vital to your quest of change, for it is easy to get tired and distracted. Life has a way of wearing you down and you must have thestrength of character to persevere in Christ's way if you are to succeed. Let me say at this point that you will fall a thousand times - you just need to have the will to get back up when you do fall and get back on the right path. Godliness is the next step - and a key step at that. Godliness is the possessing of the characteristics of God that are proper for us to possess. We understand that we do not possess His power, or His knowledge, or His place as Master. It's the virtues like love, compassion, and holiness that make one more like God, and we must acquire these virtues and put them to work. The last point of kindness is one that should not be missed. One of the greatest changes you will make to your life is in the area of kindness -to your family, to strangers - to everyone, and it is kindness that will truly set you apart from the person you were before you changed.

This has been a long article, but it is important to remember that worthwhile change will require a lot from you. Again, something as wonderful as a deep and meaningful relationship with God and Christ does not come without effort. Christianity, with all of its blessings on this earth and its promise of eternity after this short life is over, will never work... unless you do.

Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord" and do not do what I say?... the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.  Luke 6:46; 49, NIV