If you know the answer how can you fail to achieve the result?
Maybe you know you need to exercise more to become fit and stay healthy, and yet you don’t follow through.
Maybe you change your diet in hopes of losing weight for the new year, only to return to your old habits and put the weight back on by February.
Maybe you control your temper in one situation, only to let loose in another circumstance.
Whatever change you are looking to achieve, it is going to take more than knowing the answer or changing your behavior to obtain the result you are striving for. If you are actually invested in accomplishing new results, it is going to require that you embrace new beliefs.
Your core values and your most closely held personal beliefs are what shape and define your identity and are at the very root of your decision making ability. Your core beliefs and actual values are more than just a thought or an assertion, they are more than a supposition or a philosophy, they are deeper than a behavior, an observation, or a reflection. Your core values and beliefs are the actual “stuff” of your decision making ability — together they make up your “decision muscle”.
This “decision muscle” is perhaps the most amazing feature of how you were created. You were designed and constructed such that you are actually free to choose, to change, to evolve, to inform, and to develop your core values and beliefs. This freedom is so intrinsic to being human that it actually allows you to fundamentally shape and reshape who you are and what you are capable of. The power of being human is that you are not defined by your identity, you are free to define it for yourself. This means that you are not controlled by who you are, you are created such that you can determine who you are. And, when the need arises, you can also change who you are, move in a new direction, and achieve better results — all by exercising the “decision muscle” of your core values and beliefs.
What is remarkable is that your history, your experience, your genetics, your traditions, your habits, your memories, your beliefs, and your values are all subject to your choice. What you derive from every external input is shaped by what you bring from the inner store of who you are and what you value and believe, even things that you may think are immutable facts of nature.
For example, ask any doctor and they will tell you that one of the greatest indicators of success in any healing process is the patient’s will to survive and achieve full restoration and health. Why is that? Why would the patient’s attitude have any impact on the outcome when their situation, their genetics, their circumstance, their physiology, and all of the various external influences coming against them are what got them into the hospital in the first place? The answer may surprise you. The reason a positive attitude and belief in a successful outcome are so essential in achieving healing is because they reach down all the way to the very heart of who you are, all the way down to your identity, all the way down to your connection with God, all the way down to your connection with life itself, all the way down to your choice, your decision, and your freedom to determine who you are and what you are going to be.
Are you going to be sick? Are you going to be broken? Are you going to be defeated? Or are you going to be healthy, strong, and victorious?
It is your choice that determines your core values, your core beliefs, and your actual identity. It is your choice that determines who you are going to be and what is going to define you.
No external influence, no experience, no family of origin, no habit, no expectation, no addiction, no defeat, no abuse, no loss, no relationship, no disease, no injury, nothing that comes from outside of the deepest reaches of your soul can actually define you unless you first choose it, embrace it, and accept it as your own. And if you have already made choices that have accepted and achieved undesirable results, don’t worry — you have the ability to make new and better choices if you are willing to evaluate and accept where you find yourself today and then embrace what God is offering you for a better future.
The problem that many people struggle with is that they are unwilling to change their identity, their values, or their beliefs even in the face of the clear evidence of their experience. After all, why should you change? You have your reasons. You have the way you have always done things. You have your justifications and expectations. You know why you are who you are today. You remember your history and your experience. You feel the influence of your relationships, your family, your friends, your connections. You have navigated life the way you have and made it this far, so why change? Didn’t God make you the way you are? Shouldn’t other people accept you for who you are?
The fact is, you don’t get to choose much of what happens to you in life. Some people have more control. Some people have less. Some people are surprised with good things and some are surprised with bad things. Some have an overflowing abundance of opportunity and others have a river of sorrows and tragedy thrust upon them. And yet, every human being created is given freedom to choose who they are, what they value, and what they believe.
At the heart of your identity is the ability to choose, to exercise the freedom that God gave you to take the experience of whatever inputs are coming your way and generate your own, specific, particular, and unique outputs. You have the ability to choose, the ability to exercise free will and to evaluate and alter the deeply seated, closely held truth of who you are — what drives you, motivates you, inspires you, moves you, calls you, appeals to you, connects with you, and stirs you — these core values and deeply held beliefs are subject to your will, your decision, your choice.
You may know the solution to a problem, but still not be achieving the results you know are possible. You may know yourself, but not in a way that lets you improve or evolve to the next level of success, peace, joy, and fulfillment. You may have considered a new approach, but when it comes down to taking the first step in a better direction doubt, fear, obscurity, and uncertainty prevent you from coming into a new season of victory. Or, maybe you test the waters and try new solutions all the time, but you perpetually reserve or delay your commitment, your decision, and changing who you are and so after a short time you revert to your old dysfunctional and destructive behaviors.
New results require new beliefs. If you change what you are doing, but don’t change who you are, what you value, and what you believe then your change will be temporary, your results will be fleeting. However, if you can honestly and objectively evaluate the results you are achieving and listen for the calling and the purpose that God is placing on your life — a mission of hope and love, grace and accomplishment, faith and connection, wisdom and abundance, maturity and success, intimacy and relationship, peace and victory. If you will accept that you were created by God to be capable of choosing who you are in relationship with Him and so receive the eternal life He is offering you by exercising the “decision muscle” of your core values and beliefs — then God is going to be able to empower you in new and super-natural ways, revealing new results, new victories, and new accomplishments and blessing you in ways beyond your biggest and best dreams.
So, as you consider the old year coming to an end and the new year beginning don’t be afraid to embrace your life right where you find it. Don’t be afraid to accept who you are today and where you find yourself. Take a good hard look in the mirror and consider what you truly value, what you truly believe, and then ask yourself whether your decisions, the person you have become, and the person you are now becoming are working for you. Are you achieving the results you want? Are you living the life you desire? Are you experiencing the blessings, the abundance, the peace, and the joy of salvation? If not, you have a choice. New results require new beliefs. Maybe it’s time to choose differently.
“In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. ‘ The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, ‘He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD ’s coming! Clear the road for him!’'” – Matthew 3