The Hardest Thing

In the previous post, The Process of Faith, we discussed how walking through that process helped save Dodie Osteen’s life in 1981. We looked at the process of sowing, watering, weeding and feeding, and seeing a harvest. You can read that here.


The thing is, while everything that was said is true, walking out the process seems to be one of the hardest things to do. Without a life-threatening crisis to motivate us, we often seem to resist the changes that are required to help us reach that place of harvest.


What makes this so?


Dr. Dean Radtke has a leadership training program entitled, Maximum CEO. One principle he discusses in this program are what he calls the Three Levels of Learning.


1. Mental Assent   

2. Application     

3. Modeling/Teaching


When he teaches this, he writes 1. Mental Assent, and then he draws a long arrow down the board, before writing 2. His explanation? The largest gap exists between what we mentally assent to, and what we actually Do.


To Assent, as a verb, means (according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary):

  •     To agree or concur, subscribe to
  •     To give in; concede
  •     Agreement; concurrence
  •     Compliance

What does this mean, for purposes of our discussion?


When we hear something that sounds good, that is pleasing to us, that is something we aspire to, we grasp it. We grab hold with a hope that wishes it is so. We like what we heard, we want to believe it, so we say, “Yes, I agree; I receive that!” But do we? Does agreeing with what we hear really make a change in us? Although we might wish it so, the reality is that there is more to change than concurrence, or even compliance.


When we hear a principle from the Word, that is a seed with unlimited potential. But what is the condition of our heart where that seed landed? Mark 4 reveals that when the sower sows the word, it falls on four types of ground. The wayside (hard pack beside a plowed field), rocky, thorny, and good ground. Each of those produces a different result. Only one ends in harvest.
Although Jesus describes those soils in a way that suggests four different people, the fact is that we are all in various places in different parts of our heart and walk with the Lord. We have some places that are “the wayside”. If the seed hits there, it does not matter how excited you got when you heard it, it will be stolen. If it hits “rocky” ground, it isn’t likely to root. If it gets into the weeds (thorny), life will likely choke it out.


If you’re born again, there is some good ground inside of you, but it may not be a big enough patch to produce much fruit from. However, the good news is, we can do something to change that. But this is where the true labor of the gospel comes in.


Hebrews 4:11 “Let us labor therefore, to enter that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of disobedience.” The word labor is translated, “Be diligent” in the New King James. In the Holman Christian Standard Bible it is, “make every effort to.” The Amplified Classic, “be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently.”


The labor isn’t to DO stuff. You can’t “love your neighbor”, or feed the poor, or be kind and forgiving in your own strength and ability and think this will produce a lasting change. The labor that is needed is to work the process of faith. To put the word in, to hear teachers, to meditate on passages, to pray over those truths in the spirit, and to apply the truths in small ways, to build confidence. 


Sounds simple, but it requires “every effort” and that we “be diligent”. If we don’t “exert ourselves” to put the word in, to hear teachers, to meditate/ponder/consider the promises, and to pray in the Spirit, we cannot blame God for the failure of our harvest. But if we do those things, the Spirit will work with the word to Transform us, without our being aware of how it happens. (See Mark 4:26-27) 

When we are transformed, we will see the fruit of God’s promises in our lives.


Some of the most transforming experiences usually impact us without our being fully aware of the changes. There are many examples, but for me, the experience of Basic Training is the simplest to relate. In my youth, I had always imagined being in the military, but when I went to boot camp, I was at least 98% civilian. I had civilian hair, a civilian’s sense of time and responsibility, and just a little bit of rebellion. By the time I graduated, I was about 95% Coast Guardsman. How did this happen?


Boot camp is designed to transform you, but they don’t do it by putting you through a series of seminars or conferences and hoping that something eventually happens. No, they immerse you in the military experience. Your vocabulary is changed, your thoughts about time are altered, your knowledge of your world is changed. You have the history of your service poured into you; you are given practical, daily opportunities to apply what you’re being taught. And over a period of weeks, you are transformed. How transformed depends a great deal on how much you yield, so when you leave Basic Training you could regress, or you could progress. Nevertheless, everyone who attends is changed in some, if not many ways.


This is similar to the process of faith. If we immerse ourselves and apply what we learn, we will be changed. How long this takes depends on how yielded you are to the word, the Spirit, and the process. Whether or not it’s a lifetime transformation depends on your ongoing commitment. Nevertheless, the process of faith produces harvest in your life, if you will move from Mental Assent to Application. As your harvest increases, you will begin to model and teach this Way of Life and see more and more fruit.

For more on God’s Heart for You, check out the links below:

In Him Identity

Your Response Is Your Responsibility!

You can also get a copy of my book on the liberty we have in Christ (not nutrition as the title may suggest) on Amazon: Eat Healthy…Most of the Time!

Thank you for checking out this post. If you’ve been enjoying my work, I am glad and thankful. If you are blessed by what you read, please contact me at Transformation Church, and share how you’ve been touched. Email: tccolorado@yahoo.com