“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it” Luke 14:28 NLT
Jesus Christ teaches us that before you begin a great work you must first sit down and consider whether you have the means and the abilities to accomplish the task that is before you. Once you have consider the cost, what it will cost you personally; whether it is your time, money or personal change you must then sit down and form a strategy or a plan to ensure that you are successful. This principal applies to both the material world and the spiritual world. In either endeavor you must have a plan a strategy that will guide you in accomplishing your task. To many times we fail in our walk with God because we do not follow the strategy, the plan He has given us, we have not taken the time to stop and consider what it is that we really need to do to bring about effective change in our lives. So often times we are excited and motivated but because we did not have a strategy our plans often end in failure. What is it that you want to do for the Lord? What changes would you like to see in your own personal life, whether it be spiritual, financial or relational? Do you have a plan? Have you counted the cost? Before you embark on your next task or great change take time to consider the personal cost and challenge that it will require. Consider taking these intentional steps before embarking on your task:
1. A SPIRITUAL STRATEGY: Nothing changes by accident; you have to work at it. And this is where some Christians have a problem; we are taught to pray but we are not prepared to suffer, to go through hard times, to stick with the plan the strategy that God has given us. We need to look hard into His Word, ask the Spirit for guidance, evaluate where were at spiritually and form a spiritual plan according to His Word.
An example may be: Your not growing in the Word of God, you understand this is detremental to your spiritual growth. You may first consider some scriptures that command us to study God’s Word, such as Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved…” then you sit down and consider what it will take for you to have a positive time of biblical study daily. What personal sacrifices will you have to make? What materials such as a study bible or concordance will you need to purchase? What areas of your life will you need to change to ensure proper devotion to God’s Word? This is what it means to sit down and consider and to form a strategy.
2. BIBLICAL POSITIONING: If you study spiritually successful people, you may notice they don’t just work hard in a focused way, they position themselves. They position themselves in the will of God? Are you lined up in the will of God? Are you confident that it is God calling you to this task, calling you to make this change? When reading Ephesians chapter one you will notice that one of the words that Paul uses frequently in the chapter is the word ACCORDING. He is simply trying to express to the church that if we are going to be spiritually productive and successful in God’s Kingdom we must do everything according to His will. We must pray in the Spirit and be sure that we are living and positioning ourselves according to the biblical principals that God has ordained for us.
3. ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: This is best exemplified in a marriage. In a successful marriage partners hold each other accountable to a spiritual, financial, relational strategy that they have formed. Being faithful to their plan in both the good and bad times will help ensure that their marriage is a success but often times one may want to do something that is not part of the strategy and that is where the partner help the other be accountable to what they have promised. Likewise their are also other partners that can help you be successful, partners that will counsel, will advise you and will look over your shoulder and consider what is best for you. Such partners are your Pastor’s, parents, professional counselors people who wil have your best interest in mind. Consider having a partner whether it’s a pastor, a friend or a professional counselor who can give you sound, unbiased advice and keep you accountable to your plan.
4. SPIRITUAL PLANTING: Whether you are planting a garden, trying to start a business or beginning a ministry you have to believe that what you are planting is going to be productive. Planting takes faith, a belief that it is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. You don’t plant seeds in stony hard ground. You must consider whether the place you are about to invenst your time, energy and resources are going to bring a spiritual harvest into the Kingdom of God. This is not in reference to God’s Word (because the Word of God must be sown everywhere) this is in reference to where we choose to exercise our time and energy into the work of God’s Kingdom.
5. CULTIVATING SPIRITUALLY: We must continue to work the ground where we have planted the seed, continue to water it with the word, with faith,with worship. Invest time and effort into what you have set out to accomplish. Faithful cultivation is the key to ensuring that whatever you have planted has the greatest chance to grow and be fruitful Many ministries die not because it was not God’s will but because they did not continue to cultivate the ministry, the calling with the Word of God, with Worship with personal consecration and discipline. These are key to allowing the Spirit of God to water the ground you are working on. We must understand that we are doing a spiritual work and this spiritual work must be watered by the Spirit. Cultivating the spiritual ground allows the water of the Spirit to find its way into the ground and cause spiritual growth. The only biblical way to cultivate of break the ground is through prayer, the Word and consecration. The reality is that this is where most people fall short.
6. DISCIPLINED PATIENCE: Remember your job is to plant the seed and to cultivate it but only God gives the increase. We must be disciplined and patient as we wait for God to bring the increase. A grapefruit tree has a certain time that it brings forth its fruit. Until then it is up to us to be patient, to continue to work, to be disciplined in our spiritual lives. If we are patient in our work for the Lord, whether it be winning souls, building relationships or trying to bring about personal change in our lives; God will give the increase.