Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. With the strong pull of the world toward ungodliness, believers need to maintain a biblical belief system. Let's take a few notes as we listen to the final program in Dr. Stanley's series, Success God's Way. When I think about all the principles that we've talked about, when I think about all the principles of success, I think the ultimate key to success is to believe. Now, I'm going to talk about believing in this message as it relates to believing in order to reach goals, believing in order to become the person that God wants us to be. Because you see, we've said from the very beginning that genuine true success is the continuing becoming of the person God wants us to be and the continuous achievement of the goals that God would have us set for our life.
So with that in mind, let's think about something. A person can set goals for their life. They can believe that God wants them to succeed and reach these goals. They can be very persistent to some degree.
They can be committed. They can be enthusiastic. They can get other people, inspire other people to help them reach their goals and become a success. But if that person doubts that they can reach their goal, if they don't believe they can reach their goal, here's what will happen.
They may work at it and they may try, but it'll always be just beyond their reach because when you believe you can't, you want and you cannot. The mind is an awesomely powerful instrument God has given us. And it will either lead us to reach goals that God has helped us set for our life or it will not. So it's very important that you and I understand that belief is ultimately the bottom line key of whether we will be able to succeed in whatever God's called you to do or whether you will fail. They say, now, wait a minute. Is this that stuff of mind over matter?
No, it is not, because that's what all belief is about is what happens. And I've said this before. We allow the world to pick up on some terminology that we know is scriptural.
And because they use, people say, oh, don't use that word. So and so use that. Forget it.
We had it first. I mean, the Bible's old and all that junky stuff. So now think about this. When we talk about visualizing something, it means to create a mental picture of it and to hold that mental picture before us. Belief is an awesome power that God has given us. The mind is an awesome instrument that God has enabled us to be able to visualize beforehand the finished product of something He wants to accomplish in our life. The truth is, that's what all faith is. Faith is to be able to project and to go out there in the future and bring home to myself today what I want to happen, what I believe God wants to happen. For example, if I should ask you when you die, do you believe you're going to heaven? Yes, I do.
All right. When you think about dying and going to heaven, what do you think? I'm dying. I'm going to heaven. Close down?
No. You think about what's going to happen? You visualize yourself. The angels come and taking you in the presence of God and you visualize seeing Jesus and so forth.
So what are you doing? You're visualizing what you believe. And the truth is, we do this all the time, but so much of it is negative and we set up negative ideas. You'd be surprised at how much negative stuff gets into our mind until finally what we do. We think we are positive when we are not.
And so when Paul says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, the apostle Paul knew the awesome power that God had placed in his mind and in his heart to help him to become what God wanted him to be. And so when I think about what causes this kind of thinking, I call them cobwebs, cobwebs of the mind. And if I walked into your house, for example, suppose you invited me over to eat and you prepared this wonderful lunch. So you get home and you're making sure everything is looking pretty good. And so you look in the dining room and here's this big cobweb waving in the corner. So, oh, my goodness, what are you going to do? You're going to get a broom with a rag or something. You're going to get it down because cobwebs don't fit your dining room when you have guests, right? You know what?
I can get that one down with one swish of the broom. Get these cobwebs out of negative thinking takes a whole lot of work and a whole lot of change in my thinking. And so God doesn't want cobwebs of negative thoughts controlling and dominating his precious children to whom he has given his awesome grace. He doesn't want you thinking that kind of stuff. He wants us thinking right. He wants us thinking godly.
He wants us to think about what he desires to do in our life, what you can do, what you're capable of doing, what God has equipped you to do in your life. Now, listen, the worst cobweb you can have waving at you is self-doubt. I can't. It won't happen. I probably won't make it.
You know what? I guess I'm just a failure. I failed before it. Listen, forget about past failures. Listen, don't live in the past.
There's not a single person in Scripture that says living in the past. Paul says forgetting those things that you're behind, forgetting those mistakes, forgetting those failures, I'm pressing on. I'm looking at myself the way God wants to see me.
I want to see myself and visualize myself reaching those goals, accomplishing those tasks. Think about this. Who are you? If you're a believer, this is who you are. You are a child of God. You have been given the awesome, incomparable, immeasurable, indescribable gift of the grace of God. You have been forgiven of all your sin. Your name has been written in the Lamb's work of life. You have been sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day He calls you home. Your life, your eternity is going to be with Almighty God. He's indwelt in you by the Holy Spirit to enable you to do anything He calls you to do.
He has gifted you with certain human talents and certain spiritual gifts in order to enable you to become and to do everything God has called you to do and to become. Give me one good reason for belittling yourself and saying, I can't, this won't work. You know, this is not going to happen. You know what you're doing? Slamming God. Listen, God says, for by grace you've been saved through faith, that not of yourselves. It's the gift of God, not of works, less than a man should boast. For we are His workmanship, persons of notable excellence. That's what that means. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus under good work, which He before ordained that we should walk in them.
Which is saying what? That God has set goals for your life and mine. Listen, we are the workmanship of Almighty God, created in Christ Jesus, not only in the flesh, but created in Christ Jesus spiritually, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, gifted by the Holy Spirit, enabled by the Holy Spirit, skilled by the Spirit of the living God. And then you tell me that I'm not to have confidence in Almighty God and in myself to carry out the will and purpose and plan of God. Yes, you can.
Yes, yes, yes, you can. And the biggest thing that will cause you to be defeated is your self-doubt. Listen, about yourself and about Almighty God. God has planned for your life and my life that our life would be productive. Our life would be fruitful. We would be a successor to whatever God calls us to do.
We'd be able to achieve those goals, set those goals, reach those goals. That brings honor and glory to God. A self-confidence that is based on a relationship with God, based on the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, based on the fact that we are the children of the living God and based on the fact that we are fully convinced that whatever He calls us to do, He's going to be with us and in us in the process of enabling us to accomplish that task. Now, friend, you have got to shut it down.
You've got to turn it off. You've got to dive into unbelief, to fail if you believe right. And I've never said it's mind over matter. It's belief in this God who created you. He created you to succeed. He created you to achieve.
He says, listen, created unto good works which He foreordained that you and I should walk in them, which is His way of saying, that's our lifestyle. Does that mean there'll be no suffering in life? No, it doesn't mean that because that's what builds character. Does that mean that there'll be no failures in life?
No, that's what builds character and causes us to depend upon Him. All of that is a part of the growing process. And listen, becoming the persons that God wants us to be is a growing process. It is the continuous becoming.
It is the continuous achieving of those goals. And so when somebody throws up those red flags, I say throw them up and let me throw you up a whole bunch of white flags that say God has the best for you and you can if you will, if you choose to believe that God is who He says He is and that He keeps His Word. Now, how can we strengthen our whole belief system?
So I want you to get your pen ready, okay? I just want to mention a few things that will help you and challenge you to increase your own belief system, help you to believe God for what He wants to do. Number one, accept as true. God has endowed you with everything you need to be what He wants you to be and accomplish what He wants you to accomplish. Accept as true because it is true.
He hasn't left anybody out. You weren't under the steps when God was dealing out gifts and skills and so forth. Number two, now listen to this. Remember He has promised to make a way when there seems to be no way.
Now, there's a song by that title. Remember that He's promised to make a way for you to become the person you want to be, ought to be, desires you to be, reach the goals He wants you to set. Remember that He has promised to make a way.
Listen to this. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.
He will make your path straight, which is His way of saying He will enable you to become and to achieve what He's set for you. Number three, read your Bible with a red pencil and shade every verse that has to do with courage and confidence, faith, believing. Shade them, red pencil, shade them or however you want to shade them. Don't just underline it.
Shade it. Let it jump out at you. Look at those verses. Read those verses. Mark those verses. What is God trying to say to you when you are facing this particular goal in your life?
Very important that you do that. Number four, then pray those promises back to God. Now, Lord, here's what you said. You said, if I place my trust in you, you will direct my path.
God, I need some direction at this point. What you're doing is you're getting in a conversation with God about what He said, what He promised. You know what you're doing? You're driving those beliefs into your belief system. You're getting truth deeper into your mind and when they get in and start taking root, those principles of Scripture, those promises are going to begin to dominate your thinking. Now, if you're one of those persons who is extremely negative or you don't even realize that you're negative, but you realize you're not reaching goals and not succeeding what you want.
Listen, more than likely, your thought processes and your thinking has been dominated so long by something that's negative, you've got to reprogram it and reprogram it to think the way God wants you to think. And that is, God says, here's my promise. Here's what I'll enable you to do. And then, number five, visualize and affirm your assets. You've got assets. For example, you're skilled in this area. You do well in this area. In other words, visualize and think about all the good things that God's done for you, the assets in your life.
Don't major on the weaknesses. We've all got those. Listen, major on those things that are assets in your life. Everybody's got assets. Big smile.
Some of you got wonderful smile. Then, stamp indelibly upon your mind the image of the person you want to become. Get it in your mind. Get you a piece of paper. Write at the top of it, the person I want to become. Write it down.
Single words or phrases. Here's the person I want to become. You know what? What will you become? In other words, if you don't think about it, and most people have never thought about what they want to become, they just say, well, I'm trying to do the best I can.
Well, what in the world is that? What kind of person do I want to become? Now, listen to this carefully. If you will do this, do you know what will happen? I can guarantee this. If you will write down the kind of person you want to become, your life will change. What will happen is you'll change because you're going to start focusing your attention on what you want to become, not what you are, what you think you are, that you think you were.
You know what? You're probably going to look different. You're probably going to act different. You may even dress different.
You may live different. You see, when you write down, here's the kind of person that, remember I said imprinted indelibly upon your mind. Don't let it fade away when somebody comes along and saying, well, why are you wearing that dress? Forget it. Ignore it. You know what? God is beginning to change your thinking so you can become the kind of person He wants you to be. Listen, impress it indelibly upon your mind. Then, when these negative thoughts come your way about something, just replace them with a positive thought.
You say, you know what? I'm just not feeling very good. Father, I just want to thank you that you know exactly what's going into my life.
I want to thank you that I'm going to be able to go through this day and whatever's going on. I know that you know how to change that. In other words, you can change just about anything you're thinking. Now, I'm not saying that you can't get in the situation.
Here's what happens. If we allow ourselves to get on the trail of negative thinking, before long, we are down that trail so far, you can get into absolute total depression if you think that way long enough. Now, I'm not overlooking the fact that there are chemical changes in people's lives and things happen. I do understand that.
I'm talking about just normal living and even abnormal living we can do far better than we do. And then, when an obstacle rises, here's what you do. You turn to Romans 8 31 and it says, if God be for me, who can be against me?
That's what I want to quote. If God be for us, who can be against us? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Notice that both of those statements are not self-uplifting, they are godly. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God be for me, who is against me, has nothing to do with self, it has to do with relying upon the wonderful promises of God. It is a matter of believing the Scripture, believing God, believing Jesus, believing what He says in His Word. Then I can say probably a number of other things, but let me just conclude with this one. Here's the most powerful concept that I know for establishing belief that does not waver no matter what.
And that's this simple idea. God is with me in this. God is with me in this.
You know what? If I know He's with me, I know that God is big enough to get me through this. God is big enough, great enough, powerful enough to enable me to reach that goal. God is with me in this, in this pursuit of this goal, whatever it might be, God is with me.
Now, I just want to conclude with one simple illustration. A man whom I did not have a lot of knowledge about when I was coming along earlier in life, one of his goals was to write a book that he thought would be a great help to many people. And so one day he said to his wife, I've failed. It's not working.
We might as well forget it. And he took the manuscript and threw it in the trash can. He said, I've just, I've failed at this. She reached in to pull it out and he said, do not take that out of the trash can.
And he said it so sternly, she didn't. So, he considered himself as a failure at that point. The next day, and the reason he considered himself a failure is because he had a stack of rejection letters from publishers that said, no, no, no, I'm not interested.
A big stack of them. The next day, his wife took the manuscript down to another publisher. And when she walked in, she said, I have a manuscript I'd like you to consider. He said, well, what kind of manuscript? Because it was rather large and wrapped up in big brown paper. And so when he unwrapped it, it was the trash can. And in this trash can was the manuscript. She had done exactly what her husband said. He said, don't take it out. She didn't take it out. He just carried the whole thing.
A man read the manuscript. Listen to this. Here's the man who said, I failed.
It ain't gonna work. Scores and scores of millions, millions of copies of this book. Suppose, she said, yeah, I guess we have failed.
So many people would have been deprived of so many helpful ideas and principles, along with many other books that he wrote later than that. And you know what? I think a lot of us in life who probably have thought we've failed at something and think, well, it doesn't make any difference.
But you know what? When you and I deprive God of the gifts and talents and abilities that you have, what we don't stop to think about is who's gonna suffer as a result of that. We don't stop to think about that. And oftentimes what we think is failure is not failure at all. So here's what I want to simply say to you. You don't have to allow negative thoughts to dominate your thinking.
I want to say this with all of my heart. You can become the person God has ordained you to be. You can achieve every single goal God has set for you. You are equipped.
You are enabled. And God is with you in your pursuit of those God-given goals, especially becoming the person that God wants you to be. Thank you for listening to Belief Brings Success. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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