Kneeling beside my bed one day in 1968, I began to pray, "Lord, what do I have to do to get from where I am to where you want me to be?" I opened my eyes, and as I saw my Bible lying on the bed in front of me, I heard the Lord say this in my heart: "Just put My Word in your heart, and it will do all the rest."
Everyone I know wants to change and grow. I believe that's part of being made in the image of God. The Lord created within every one of us an intuitive knowledge that we were destined for more than we are experiencing. Both believers and unbelievers desire to achieve more, including those who have experienced great "success" in the eyes of the world.
However, for those who are born again, the desire actually intensifies. The Holy Spirit will give us a holy dissatisfaction that drives us toward change. Once we realize that almighty God lives in us and wants to express Himself through us, it's hard, if not impossible, to be content with how we allow Him to do so.
Jesus was the only one who gave the world a perfect look at God living through a person. We will never be the express image of God in the way Jesus was (Heb. 1:3), but we all have the potential to express Him in a much greater way than we have ever realized. In order to do that, we must change.
Growth always means change. So, if you're not experiencing any growth in your life, it may be because you aren't changing. Have you ever seen a plant that's green and growing and not in a constant state of change? For the plant, it's effortless; it just grows, and the change is evident to everyone. Your life should be just like that—green, growing, changing, and evident to the world.
The question is, how does it happen? If you're like a lot of Christians, you have probably tried to change many times but find yourself falling back into the same old patterns and experiencing the same old problems. That's frustrating, and more importantly, it's a breeding ground for many of Satan's most devastating lies and traps.
If we aren't careful, we as Christians can feel more like failures than the lost. After all, we have been told to be like Jesus, and that's a big task.
Change really began for me on March 23, 1968, when I had a glorious encounter with the Lord. I saw a glimpse of how awesome the Lord was and what He wanted me to be. I started changing rapidly, but was a million miles from the victorious life He had revealed.
At times, the process seemed so long and the goal so far that I despaired of ever making any progress in this lifetime. But then He directed me to focus on His Word. That word from God has been my prime directive for the last forty years, and it has produced miraculous results. And the change this has produced has been nearly effortless. The only effort has been to stay focused on God's Word.
Although the Lord spoke that to me in prayer, it was important to see it in the Word. He revealed and confirmed it to me through a parable in Mark 4:26-29. It says,
"And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come."
In this parable, Jesus used an example of seed, time, and harvest, which everyone understood, to illustrate truths about how God's Word works, which very few people understood.
First, He taught that God's Word has to be planted like a seed in our hearts.Just as a seed doesn't release its life until it is planted into the ground, God's Word will not set us free until we get it in our hearts. Having the Bible on our tables, in our hands, or in our heads is not sufficient; we have to commit God's Word to our hearts.
Second, the man in Jesus' parable, who sowed the seed, slept and rose day after day. It takes time for a seed to germinate. You can't plant a seed one day and expect to see it growing the next day. Just because there's nothing visible above ground doesn't mean the seed isn't growing.
If you dig it up every day to see if anything is happening, it will never grow. You have to have faith that the seed will do what it was designed by God to do, producing its fruit in its time.
The Word of God works the same way. When we meditate in God's Word for one day, we can't expect to see results the next day. And we can't meditate in His Word one day and then live differently the other six days. That's like digging up the seed.
John 15:7-8 says this:
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."Next, Jesus shared one of the most important truths of this parable. He said, "The seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how." This is an amazing statement. No one knows how a seed works.
Man, with all his understanding, has not unlocked the miracle of a seed. Things can be made that look like a seed, taste like a seed, and have the exact chemical elements as a seed, but if it's planted, it still won't grow. For thousands of years, people have planted seeds and reaped harvests without understanding how it all works.
I don't understand how the seed of God's Word planted in our hearts works either, and I can't explain how reading God's Word differs from reading the words of some other book. I don't comprehend it all, but I know it works. I've experienced the supernatural life that God's Word imparts.
The Word is a seed that contains the very life of God. When it's planted in your heart and left there, it will release that life. The only effort on your part is to take the time and make the effort to plant the seed. Then, the godly change you're looking for comes effortlessly as the seed of His Word takes root in your heart.
This is such a simple truth that most people have missed it. Many are looking for some spectacular encounter with the Lord that will transform their lives instantly. They want to microwave their miracle rather than allow the time for the seed to produce fruit.
Some are even willing to spend hours in prayer asking for a miracle instead of planting the Word of God in their hearts, which in time would produce the miracle. Prayer is what water and fertilizer are to a seed. They help the Word release its life. But if you haven't planted the seed, it doesn't matter how much water and fertilizer you apply, the soil still won't produce fruit. It's the seed that has life!
Prayer is not a substitute for planting the seed of God's Word in your heart. Prayer without the Word is religious at best and complaining at worst.
Romans 12:2 gives us another key to effortless change:
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."The word "transformed" was translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, from which we derive the English word metamorphosis. It's describing the miraculous change of a worm to a butterfly. If we want to be changed in nature and appearance as drastically as a worm becoming a butterfly, the way we do it is by the renewing of our minds. God's Word is the primary way of accomplishing that.
In the natural, we recognize that we can't have a harvest without planting seeds. But in the spiritual, Christians try it all the time. Instead of going to the Word and meditating in the Scriptures themselves, they run to someone who has spent time in the Word and ask them for help. It's an attempt to shortcut the process of seed, time, and harvest.
Then, if they don't see results, they get confused and offended. God can meet needs through the faith of others, but it's temporary and His secondary way of touching us. God's best is to take the seed of His Word and plant it in our hearts where it will naturally and effortlessly produce the changes we desire.
Have you ever seen an apple tree groan and travail to produce apples? Never! It's the nature of an apple tree to bring forth its fruit. It's your nature to produce fruit as well—spiritual fruit—and it happens naturally.
We do have a part to play however. God has never planted a seed or tended the field for anyone. That's the natural part that we must do. It's up to us to consistently plant His Word in our hearts, abide in that Word, and then water and nourish it with prayer. If we'll make that small effort, the miracle of the life in the seed of God's Word will do the rest. Our lives will naturally and effortlessly change.
The Christian life is really not hard; it is actually easy if we are abiding in God's Word. The Word will transform us so that God's perfect will for us comes to pass. That's the promise of His Word. Romans 8:6 says,
"To be spiritually minded is life and peace."
Being spiritually minded is being Word minded (John 6:63). The seed is God's Word. The soil is our hearts. And the fruit that we all long for is godly change.
This teaching is absolutely fundamental to your entire Christian walk. The lack of knowledge in this area is the reason so many Christians remain frustrated in their walk with the Lord. To help you, I have just released my new book, Effortless Change. The message in this book has changed my life, and I know it will dramatically impact yours as well. You can also order my teaching on this subject as a CD album.
Just as there isn't growth in the natural realm without first planting a seed, there isn't spiritual growth without planting the seed of God's Word in your heart. This book or CD album will help you understand the power of that seed to produce the change in your life that you have always desired—effortlessly.
To order, go to our website, or call our Helpline: +44 (0)1922 473 300.
We love you,
Andrew & Jamie
P.S. We continue to thank God for your faithful support. If it weren't for your partnership, we couldn't send this message to anyone. Jamie and I thank you on behalf of all the people who have heard because of your sacrifice.