5 Keys to Real Change for Greater Fruitfulness

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Episode Summary

Taking proactive steps toward good change is essential during unprecedented times

Creating the real lasting change you want to see in your family takes a concerted effort in a focused direction with strong marriage alignment. Isaac and Angie share the five steps to take that they do way before the new year and why that’s essential. They even share some of their areas of focus for change.

Main Points in This Episode:

  • God prunes the fruitful, so we shouldn’t shrink from the discomfort required to proactively create good change
  • This time of year is essential for creating change, it’s a Tolpin secret for creating the right change for the new year
  • It can’t be about 2024, the necessity for change must be deep within you, that’s what matters for follow-through
  • We give five steps to take to cultivate real change
  • It’s vital to have a good marriage planning meeting
  • People are motivated by either pain or desire for something. Unfortunately, most wait for pain to motivate them when they’ve already experienced the repercussions from a lack of proactive effort earlier on.

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Scriptures From This Episode:

– John 15:1-3 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.”

– Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

– Ecclesiastes 7:8- Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

– 2 Corinthians 10:3-5- For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,



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Full Transcript:

Note: This is an automated transcript and misspells or grammar errors may be present.

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous.

Mom and Isaac from Resolute Man Together pursuing the mission to impact 10 million families and their legacies for the Kingdom of God.

We’ve been married for 23 years and are seeing the fruit from raising our nine children biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible.

We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children, as too many from Christian families are walking away from their faith by the age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way.

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Or even if you purchase courses and merch or join the Be Courageous app community. Enjoy the coffee or support financially. We’re so thankful you are a big part of the 10 Million Legacies movement.

If you want access to all the episodes, show notes, and other biblically based resources, go to Be Courageous ministry.org.

Join us as we start another important conversation about effective parenting in a fallen world. Hey, welcome to the podcast. Hey, guys. So glad you’re here. We’re talking about real change and greater fruitfulness which changes required for that. And God kind of set it up that way. As we look at the scriptures and we’re going to take you through some scriptures today, it is really important that we’re not just seeking comfort in our lives, but we’re open to discomfort because God actually promises discomfort if there’s increase in fruitfulness or a change in fruitfulness.

Well, yeah, we’re going to dive into John 15 here in a few minutes. But before we do that, we just want to say thank you for joining us here on this podcast. You guys know this. This is just the tip of the spear as far as impact goes. We love connecting with you guys in the Be Courageous app. We love connecting with you more through messaging there and the Parenting Mentor program and all the courses that we are, are diligently trying to get out to you guys so that you can have support and encouragement biblically to equip you in your parenting. Absolutely. So we’re excited that you’re here with us today, and we’re going to be talking about something really practical as we’re headed into obviously, the new year is going to be coming upon people, and it’s good to be thinking a few weeks before the New Year is here on in regards to reflecting, so that you know where you want to go, start dreaming.

I would say it’s even deeper than that. It’s change needs to start happening now. I mean, there needs to be momentum with your initiatives into the new year. And we’re going to give you five things that we go through. And even if you’ve listened to some other episodes before around some of this topic, this is fresh and new in the way we’re talking about this. And we’re also going to share a little insider peek into what we’ve reaped from this process already for the coming year and what we’re doing now.

Yeah. So it’s it’s exciting to talk to you about, you know, reflection visioneering mindset initiatives, all that kind of stuff. And this is really, truly like the first step in that process to be growing your family culture. You have to be growing in your marriage, right? Like a family culture isn’t going to be impacted very strongly if there’s not a thriving marriage happening. And obviously, a thriving marriage is also reflective of two individuals within that marriage that are growing and pursuing growth individually.

And it’s so it’s so true. And it takes proactive change. It takes changing before you have to, to reap fruit when those opportunities come or is required. So proactive change is important. So we’re going to give you some areas to think about in a second. But we’re going to kick it off with one of my favorite verses that exists in the Bible. I just love it so much. I thought you were going to read it, but you’re giving it to you because it’s your favorite. Okay. John 15 one through three I am the true vine and my father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away. And every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Okay, that’s one through two actually. So I love that because what it’s saying right there, we had a vineyard many years ago. So we intimately understand this. And if you’ve done any kind of agriculture, you understand fruit trees and things need to be pruned. And when you do, they become more fruitful. But do you think it feels good to be pruned, like if you.

Were a human, if the tree had like feelings and could express, or if the vine could express what they’re feeling in the moment, they would probably be like, ouch, that doesn’t feel good.

I know for humans it doesn’t feel good to be pruned. And the promise right there is that the fruitful those walking with the Lord and there’s fruit in their life, spiritual fruit happening in their family and things like that, maybe their work and so forth, and what they’re doing in the community and their relationships. If there’s fruit in fruitful people that he’s going to prune them.

No, it’s very important that we recognize and and can I just say that in the seasons where I’ve experienced pruning, this is just from my own personal experience. There’s two ways that you can go about the growth. It can either be a humble surrender to the pruning, or it can be a teeth grinding, you know, rebellious, independent spirit. No, I don’t want to go down this path. Why is this bad thing happening? Lord experience, I prefer the previous the very first one. And I think that it’s important that we recognize that when life happens because we live in a fallen world and disease happens. Sometimes you like when cancer hits, you can’t just say, oh, come back in ten years. I’m not ready for you right now. And when loss happens, when an accident happens, I mean, accidents are called accidents for a reason, right? And and those things happen in life. Bad things happen to good people at times. And it’s not it’s interesting because there’s this human nature to want to. Blame, right? That’s how it has always been for all time. It’s a human flesh nature. But to truly trust God and instead when you go through that trial to be able to be reflective and go, Lord. You have protected me thus far, and I am where I am, I’m going to lean on to you. What do you want to teach me? Through this experience? I surrender to you. And also, is there anything that you want me to share with other people so that you are glorified through this horrible thing that’s happening and that truly, like, I think that for me, that’s been part of my spiritual walk with God. Like that’s why I have redeeming childbirth, right? Like they weren’t very they weren’t the best experiences being pregnant, puking all the time.

So it’s so true. And the vineyard experience too. Good word. The vineyard experience wasn’t about more fruit. It was about quality fruit. Yes. And in fact, our coach that would come out periodically to help us back then he said, okay, now you have to cut off half of the fruit in the vineyard. And I’m like, beautiful. What? We’re going to lose half of our crop, half of our yield on purpose right now. And he goes, well, you don’t have to. You can let the vines be comfortable. He didn’t say you can.

Have them, but the the you can.

Have you can have.

The quantity of quantity.

You can have the quantity. But none of it will be good.

The quality will be lower if you keep that many clusters of grapes on a.

Vine, create anything valuable with it, because it’ll be diluted, because there’s too many things being focused on, and you have to cut off half the fruit. So all the energy from the vine goes to less fruit. So I know that might hit a chord with some people, but I think we do need to be very focused about how we approach change and what our priorities are and what we invest in and what we give attention to these days, because there’s so much noise coming at us all the time that we can be fragmented, not focused. And I think the enemy really exploits that. I think the enemy is like, okay, I’m going to keep them. I’m going to prevent them from being as useful as they probably could be for God by distracting him with all these things, by having him focus in lots of different directions and these kinds of things. And God really wants us to be useful. He wants to utilize us for the glory of him. Why? Because he wants more people to know him through you and your family. So we have to be aware of that. So the first of these keys that we want to share with you is to reflect on what needs to be changed and or actually, sorry, reflect on this last year so far, the good and the not so good, and really write it out and then identify what are the most important things you want to change. And here’s some of the areas to think about. How about your children their obedience to you, respect for you? How about what they’re doing and how they’re doing. How about.

You and what you mean where their.

Hearts are at?

I just want to, like, interject there before we move on to the next bullet point, because with children, this is a parenting podcast and you guys are listening because you love your children and you love God. That’s why you would if you if you love your children and you love God, then I would hope that that would be like the main reason why you come to the Courageous Parenting podcast. Because we’re all about Jesus, we’re all about His Word, and we’re all about equipping and encouraging parents to raise their children up to know him. But when you’re evaluating the fruit in your children’s lives to have this perspective of what things are creating bad fruit that we need to cut off, right? Like, are there too many activities? Maybe. Maybe some of them are actually negative things. Maybe the kids are spending too much time on their phone, right? That could be a very dangerous thing. What about video games, right? Like evaluating all of the different aspects of your children, what they’re involved in and going, does this produce good spiritual fruit or bad spiritual fruit, or is it an indifferent thing? I think that there’s very few things in life that would be in the indifferent category. Most things are going to create some kind of fruit, and it’s up to us as parents to take on the jurisdiction to help evaluate those things and talk it out with our kids.

Just don’t go grab the phone from your kids and say, nope, I just don’t think it’s good for you anymore. That’s not, you know? Instead, you need to like, this is an opportunity to train up your children how to be reflective and to think about all of the fruit that that device or that friend or all the activities. What is the fruit that it’s producing good and bad, and help them to understand that truly, you’re on their team and you want what’s best for them. And so you think that that’s hurting them, right? And their fruitfulness, their relationship with God or other people or whatever it is. And as parents, I truly think that this is a huge thing. And remember the verse that Isaac said it in, in Scripture, God is saying that he prunes bad fruit, but he also prunes good fruit. So there may be like awesome activities, especially during the holidays. There’s like, oh, the the youth group. Christmas party and the Christmas choir and the basketball and the. Like, you literally can list off all the things and they may all be good things, but Jesus is even saying, like, sometimes you have to prune off what’s good so that the quality of what you do is better.

Amen. Amen. So quick list here. Impact is next. Like really identify what is the impact you’re having. And you desire to have a godly desire that you feel that God’s prompting you for. You know, a lot of times we try and solve the things that we were most hurt in or weak in, in our lives, in the way we grew up. I can think of myself as just not having a spiritual father figure in my life growing up. And, you know, just really, I can see God now. It wasn’t my plan, but I can see God now using me in a way to help people that experience that same thing and then help the next generation by having fathers that are spiritually activated.

Yeah, no, that’s really good. And for myself, I just look at what I’ve done for the last 24 years vocationally. I’m a stay at home wife and mom, and so not being trained up in how to cook for, for example, is one of those things like that’s I remember taking Home-ec class in junior high at public school for one year, but I think I learned how to bake a cake based upon that one recipe. And so I’ve I’ve definitely had to learn a few things from over the years. Thank goodness for cookbooks. But you know, what’s even more important is having a teachable heart. And that like being honest and going, I don’t know how to do this, and I’m not just going to fake it till I make it. I’m going to be a student and having that attitude towards everything in life and then trying to challenge other women to go, hey, let’s just be honest. Like, why the pride? Let’s be honest about the things that we don’t know how to do and let’s learn from each other.

So how could you have greater impact through what God’s calling you to do right now and into next year? Yeah. And so it’s so important to think about that. I think at Moses, you know, stumbling over his words and God calling him to go lead his people out of out of tyranny. And, you know, I think that God does that. He uses people where they have a weakness or they don’t have experience. And that actually becomes a focus of solving that in their lives. It’s really interesting how that happens. I used to work with thought leaders a lot, and something I did previously, and it was really clear to me there’s a trend that people try and naturally solve where they’ve been hurt in their lives. And, you know, that might be something to think about for yourself. Maybe something’s been gnawing on you that God’s been calling you to do and you just haven’t. It might not be good timing, but it’s something to think about. Like, what kind of impact do you want to have next year? How about marriage? This is huge. We’re getting so much feedback for the last two years, really an increased trend of marriages in trouble, of marriages not thriving, of men not leading in their families or other issues that exist across the board. So this is something that is near and dear to our heart. Marriage is the first key to great parenting, to great parenting, raising up godly children. And so, you know, just on this side, as we reflected and identified things a while back, is we’ve been working on thriving ministry program, so sorry, thriving marriage thriving marriage program. And that is so exciting that God helped us create the Parenting Mentor program and inspired us to do that. We believe, and it’s going to be that caliber of a program, but for marriage. And we’re so excited about it. And that’s going to Lord willing, Lord willing, that’s.

2024, hopefully come.

Out, come out this next year and not not too far away, hopefully. Also, just thinking about that, we have thoughts of what would it look like if the ministry had double impact next year? Over this year? You know, the podcast surpassed a million downloads a couple of weeks ago already for the year, the biggest year ever by far. So encouraged by the impact, that is the main thing that we care about and we’re so excited about that. But what would it look like for Double Impact next year? And that is also caused us? You might have got some of our emails recently caused us to really realize we might be limiting the impact of the ministry, because we have not been inviting financial partners with clarity to come and be involved, because we realize that, you know what, as we’re trying to make with the the Be Courageous coffee and the the app and those things are working and extremely important and that we do have some really good financial partners already that have been dedicated to us over the years. But to really go, okay, how does double Impact happen? We just can’t do it alone. Yeah.

So envision like instead of 1.2 million downloads on the podcast, which is a free resource for anybody for there to be like 2.4, 2.5 million downloads next year. That would be amazing. Like. I mean, God could do anything. You guys, it’s us just being willing to talk about topics here in the word and how do they relate to our lives and how does that encourage you guys? And and you know, for us, we we have been, like Isaac said, really focused on, you know, Paul’s example of tentmaking regarding doing ministry. That’s why we have Be Courageous Coffee. That’s why we have the courses. It’s why we have books. It’s why we have merch. We didn’t want to be a burden upon anybody. But then we both kind of got convicted about this because we’ve experienced this before in the past where, like both of us have gone through seasons where it’s hard to ask for help sometimes. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that, but it takes a true humility to be able to go help. I need help, and God has definitely humbled me throughout my life through pregnancies and being on bed rest and different things where I’ve literally been like, help! I need help with my other kids. And you know, I feel like the blessing that has come out in the testimonies that I heard back then really changed my perspective on what is biblical community and biblical friendship. And like what is church? What is the body of Christ, the power of us working together, and the opportunity that we have to actually step in the gap and fill a need. Use a gift. Steward what God’s given us in a way that actually makes more impact for his Kingdom. And we realize that by not inviting or being open, really like inviting people to partner with us on the financial side, we’re potentially hindering the impact of the things like the podcast, right? And even getting more resources out, like books and things like that. So it’s exciting to think of where it could go next year.

So think about these areas as you reflect children impact, marriage and finances. Super important to be reflective of that. You know, the acceleration of change is rapid. There’s you know, I all of these things I’m not saying this to create any fear. We shouldn’t have any fear, but we should be knowledgeable. You know, Bill gates just came out this last week saying, oh, I think in the future people are only going to work three hours, three days a week because I will take over so many jobs and so many things. And of course, I don’t even listen to him because he’s completely, in my opinion, evil. But you know, but he is an investor in some of these things, some crazy ideas. He has some inside scoop on plans and so forth. So it’s just interesting to see. And, you know, how do you orientate your finances? How are you thinking about how, you know, provision happens and those kinds of things.

In the future? You know, being wise and thinking, trying to think about the future. And the truth is, is when it comes to finances, too, though, we need to have an eternal perspective because you can have plenty one day and then it can all be gone the next day. It’s kind of like life. It’s like a vapor. And God wants us to have an eternal perspective on things, just like he wants to have an eternal perspective on our souls. And so being reflective of that and teaching your kids to be reflective of that is incredibly important. It is the next one’s health.

Yes. So big deal. It’s a big deal. I’ve got some of those initiatives in store that are going to be starting way before the new year, and I’m so excited about that. That is an area in my life that I really do think needs improvement and to have more energy and vitality and so forth. While well praise the Lord, God has given me a pretty solid temple to work with. But in terms of yes, in terms of staying healthy. Yeah, but I don’t want to take that for granted, you know, and it’s really important. How about projects, you know, reflect and identify, you know, what.

Things bear fruit and what ones weren’t and.

What what is new over time. Yeah. What what’s important. How about where you’re living? You know, that is something to really consider to really think about, not only maybe the house you’re living in, but perhaps the community and perhaps the geography too. Personal development. I think this one gets under looked at because we’re so busy as parents and being intentional and so forth, but we need to fill our cups. We need to be growing and learning. You know, in the brain. I read this a long time ago that brain connections are either connecting, you’re getting an increasing number of neurons connecting, or they’re actually disconnecting. So you don’t just have a status quo like, oh, I read 30 books five years ago. So that really helped me a lot. Well, it helped you five years ago, but it doesn’t mean it’s helping you today. Yeah, right. And the question would also be how much did you actually implement and retain from that anyways. And so the key is on an everyday real time to be focused on stretching, bending our minds in a way to make more connections. And by the way, that might sound weird, but that can simply happen by taking a different route home. See if we’re always doing the same old, same old, we’re not challenging our brains, and just the slightest bit of challenge can stir up the brain a little bit, make it more alert, get more connections happening, and so forth. But we need to be growing. Hey, we just want to take a moment here in the middle and just share something really amazing. That’s been happening that we would love for you to be a part of, and that’s the Be Courageous app.

It’s actually free for the first week. We have a free trial, so go check it out in the Google App Store or your Apple Store. And you can you can try it out, spend some time in there. Take advantage of the free exclusive resources like the Kids Podcast or the Courageous Marriage series.

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It’s become a true like biblical community where people point each other to resource things that are biblical to the Lord in prayer, and they just support each other. And it’s really pretty awesome. So come.

Join us. Be courageous in the App Store.

And I think on that note, too, since we’re talking about reflecting and auditing and identifying things that are good fruit and bad fruit, think about your personal development, what has been producing potentially some negative fruit in your life, right? Like a lot of times when people think about personal development, the first thing that comes to mind is reading books, right? But what books are you reading? Are they creating good fruit or are they creating a fruit of laziness or inaction? I think is a better word. That is what I’m thinking of, right? Because maybe you start to think, oh, I could never and I just want to encourage you guys because I’ve gone through seasons in my life like that. I used to be a very voracious reader the first 12 years of our marriage. Me too, really focused heavily on reading, reading, reading. And it’s interesting because I had to evaluate. This was the time where I had to evaluate how much of God’s Word and my reading compared to man’s word. Not that man’s words are are bad all the time. That’s not what I’m saying. I love reading, I think reading is valuable, but we do need to evaluate and recognize we have a certain amount of time.

And what are we going to invest in? What is the most powerful thing to invest in? And it really, truly where I want to share this scripture with you, which is the next one. It’s Romans 12 two. It says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable, and perfect. You guys, the Word of God is alive and active. It’s good for rebuke. It’s good for teaching. It’s good for exhorting, encouraging. It’s relevant to everything in life today. That’s why we have over 260 podcasts, because there’s just life goes on and it God’s word is constantly teaching us new things. And I love that. I love that we get to experience God in His Word through his words, revealing to us his truths about what we’re experiencing in life and that he can renew us. He renewed my mind to where I was focused on man’s words a lot, which I’ll be honest, when you focus on man’s words a lot, there’s an element of worldliness that comes from that because of being influenced by man.

Well, sometimes versus God sometimes, too, is that we pick books that satisfy what we want to hear, right?

Versus versus what challenge us, challenges.

Us, gets us out of discomfort, and is biblically sound. And so just be aware of that. Yeah.

No, I think it’s super good. So let’s move on to the next thing asking for wisdom. This is point number two. So in this process of wanting desiring real change, greater fruitfulness, we’ve talked about pruning. We gave you a bunch of categories, 8 or 9 categories for you to evaluate and identify. This is such an important thing. Honestly, we would encourage you guys to individually do this and then come together on a date night and share your reflections of what we just went through and come up with some, like it’s just good to be open, to be transparent with one another one so you can pray for each other, hold each other accountable as number two and three so that there’s actual movement towards change. By asking for wisdom is crucial, and there’s two places that we should be going to for wisdom first. First, it’s God’s word, right? So I’m going to go back to the same verse that we were originally reading, John 15, but this is verse three and four. It says already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

So remember when I just read in Romans 12 two where it says, the renewing of your mind, the transforming of your mind by the word, the renewal of the word. Here it is again already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. That’s this Bible, okay? And it says, Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. Listen, guys, this is huge. If we’re asking for wisdom and we’re not abiding in God, we’re potentially. Going to be swayed by worldly wisdom. We’re going to be swayed by worldly fears. We’re going to be swayed and influenced by other people’s fears. Their their gut instincts, if you will, that are potentially influenced by the world and not necessarily God. So we have to be saturated in the word so that we can discern, so that we can be wise when we’re listening to other people give opinions and we can go, nope, that’s not from God’s Word.

Also, to get rid of our insecurities, to stop doubting ourselves because God will fill us up with hope and confidence. The right kind of confidence. Not prideful confidence, but confidence that God wants me to do something. And even though I feel weak sometimes, he will make up for my weakness. That is the right confidence to have is to trust. God’s going to show up. You know, there’s so many.

It’s not all about you, right? Like that’s I think that for us, being in big, courageous ministry, like just doing what we do, the majority of the time is truly just service for God. Really. I mean, that’s really what it is. And we’re all called regardless of what profession we’re in. We are called to serve as unto the Lord heartily unto the Lord. Right. That’s what the Bible says. And it’s important that we encourage one another in the different capacities and giftings that we all have, because we’re different. God made us different. But instead of trying to get other people to change, to become more like you, to recognize the different giftings and call that out in each other. And guys, this is a very uncommon thing. From a worldly perspective. This requires spiritual maturity. This requires understanding. This requires getting to know someone’s heart and intentions and like truly believing not in the person, but in God in them to do a good work. Yeah. And it’s it’s encouraging when you have that in your marriage and you can continue to stir one another up.

And I think that’s the next thing, which is your marriage. That’s where you should ask for wisdom to each other, also other people. But you know what? I really don’t believe in taking a lot of opinions. I really believe that it is. You have to be so careful who you take opinions from, who you ask for advice from, because are they walking strong with God? Are are they allowing the noise of the world and confusion? Do they have their own insecurities, their own doubts that they’re going to project on you? Are they going to have some identity of how they view you that’s wrong, and they’re going to give you weak advice. So you have to be you do need to get advice from others, but you do. It’s very important to take very few opinions. Do take opinions, but take very few opinions and take the right opinions, which is really important. Hey, real quick and we’re going to get the next three steps here that are crucial is that join us in the Be Courageous app. The Be Courageous app is becoming a wonderful encouragement to Christians, to believers in a place to get exclusive resources. There’s so much content there that we put there that is carefully curated and biblical, that is nowhere else. And that’s just going to continue to be the case. And other people are putting content there. Other people are sharing insights and wisdom, and it’s only Christians and it’s great. It’s free for a week. Just download it in your app store. Be courageous. Try it out for a week if you don’t want it. It’s so easy to cancel and your app store just hit cancel on your subscription. Or you can continue for $8.99 per month. When I look at what’s in there, I’m like, that is worth so much more than just the marriage series is worth so much more so these kinds of things. Plus we come in on these podcasts every Wednesday. Now we’re doing a live where for about ten minutes on extra insights, extra thoughts about the episode, what we wish we would have said things like that, and then enable.

The Q&A.

For you to ask any questions and have discussion, even put your own thoughts in. And that has been so fruitful. So not only do you get to listen to a parenting podcast, but now you get to engage and ask, follow up questions and even insert your own wisdom in a discussion. So, so many good things. So anyways, I hope you join us. Yeah.

So the next thing you guys we just want to share with you is in Ecclesiastes chapter seven. Verse eight says, better is the end of a thing than its beginning. And the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. So such a powerful, convicting word, right?

How many people begin things? Yeah. But then don’t don’t finish.

I know it’s a good reminder that in the process of going through this reflective identify what things need to change, it might be easy for a lot of people to be reflective and to think, but then maybe even get like kind of down on themselves and be like, man, there’s just so many things I want to potentially change, and I don’t know if I can do it, and they don’t get to the end to be able to experience fruitfulness. And we just wanted to bring that up. Shine a big spotlight on that, because God’s Word says better is the end. Kind of a thing than its beginning. We have to be calm. People who can continue with follow through. And this is a really, really powerful thing for us to teach our kids, and we have to live it by example. I know that this is something that is a challenge for different seasons of life, right? Like maybe you start a homeschool curriculum and you get halfway through it and you realize, you know what? This just isn’t clicking. And so you do have permission to, like, finish it, shelf it, and get something else. I just want to say that. But at the same time, there is an element of like, no, quit that is so powerful in people’s lives where if they start something and it’s hard to push through and finish because there is like a, there is a real growth that happens in being able to say to yourself, I finished what I started.

Absolutely. So let’s go to 0.3 marriage planning. It is so important to sit down together. And you kind of referenced this earlier, but to support one another, really listen to one another. Maybe you did do that separately first and come together. I think that is best. But it doesn’t have to be that way. At least just me. Don’t let anything come in the way of getting together and talking this out. And it doesn’t have to be perfect, but talk about these different areas of your life, or some realizations after you’ve been praying about it and support each other in the commitments you make, you know it’s very important to make change necessary. People usually only create change purposely when it’s absolutely necessary, but at any moment we can decide in our own minds what’s necessary and what isn’t. I’ve done that so many times where something becomes extremely necessary to follow through on, no matter what obstacles come my way, and I’ve seen incredible growth from that, whereas it didn’t have to be necessary. Yeah, it wasn’t one of those things that was life and death, but for me, it kind of felt like life and death because I made it that way. I made it in my mind like, that is so necessary. And until things are absolutely necessary, we don’t actually create change. We just make excuses.

And they could be good excuses. We’re busy. These kinds of things. Yeah, absolutely. Something else might need to be pruned to be able to do this new thing. That might be true. But you know what? They still are excuses, you know. And you could call them reasons, but they’re reasons why you’re not doing something that you really feel is necessary to do. And so if you’ve been that person that doesn’t see the end of a thing, only sees the beginning of a thing, then maybe pray, God, help me to be the kind of person that sees the end of a thing, and I’m giving you the tip right now. It has to be necessary, despite the obstacles that come your way. Now, every once in a while, there’s a kind of an obstacle that really does call you to steer a different direction, and God might call you to steer a different direction. That’s a little different than what I’m talking about. So it’s so important. Step four is a simplified focused in your commitments. There can be a lot of different words. I know if Angie writes something there’s going to be more words than if I write something. And so you can tell which emails she wrote and you can tell which emails I wrote. If you ever get an email from us. That’s true.

And so we’re wired differently, that’s for sure.

We’re wired very differently.

And sometimes we write them together. And I feel like that’s our sweet spot.

That’s the sweet spot. So so I’ll tell you that it needs to be simplified. The language needs to be simple. There can’t be a bunch of sentences. It’s got to be so simple. You know, people implement what’s simple and focused and what real commitments are made. So sometimes too, as you’re focused in a direction, is it just takes one right action that you repeat over time, that is a catalyst for the rest of them. I remember a time where I was really wanted to get healthier, and instead of committing to a full exercise regimen that I hadn’t been doing any of, I just committed to doing a certain number of sit ups and push ups per day. And what was amazing was because I committed to that, and I stayed the course on that because it was doable no matter what. I could always fall on the floor and start doing my sit ups. I could always fall in no matter how tired I am, I can do my push ups. That was a catalyst to eating better because I’m like, wait a minute, I’m taking care of. I’m doing that work. I don’t want to ruin it with sugar. Right? And so then I started eating better. And then pretty soon I’m like, wow, this felt so good. I’m going to now get on an exercise bike or whatever it is. So, so beware of.

Big commitments versus.

Commitments. Yeah, maybe you have a goal for the bigger picture, but have a simplified focus on the one thing that you think will be a catalyst to the real change.

It’s really good, and I think that we’ve talked a few times about the importance of communicating in your marriage. I mean, God really gave you the best accountability partner that you have. And so having accountability to fulfill those commitments is the next step to actually getting to the end and of something. Right. And so who loves you more than anybody right now? I mean, obviously God loves you, but who’s who loves you more than any other person on earth. It should be your. Spouse. There should be this best friend commitment. And then, you know, obviously your parents. But I say that because you guys should remind each other like I do love you. When was the last time you said to your spouse, honey, I love you? Not because of what you do for me. Not because of how you provide. Not because of X, Y, and Z. But I just. I love you and for you guys to actually understand, like to sit for a second and be like, wow, I’m so grateful. I have a best friend that loves me, is on my team, wants what’s best for me, I want what’s best for him. We’re helping each other to move forward in growing in whatever it is that you feel convicted to grow in, and to be able to be honest about the struggles to get to the end of the goal that you have so that you can have true, authentic accountability. Here’s the other clincher that’s super, super important with accountability. And I hope that husbands are able to listen to this podcast with their wives, because this is crucial.

You cannot allow the human nature to infect your marriage growth and how the the human nature does that is that it is a human nature tendency to not expect and be able to affirm and acknowledge the growth that we see in one another. And that’s crucial. It’s crucial so that the other person can be encouraged as they’re pursuing the new thing, as they’re pursuing the change, as they’re pursuing something that maybe they’ve never done before. We all need encouragement at times. And so here’s the deal. If you are trying something new, if you’re trying to overcome sin, even as you’re reflecting things, you have to be willing to allow one another to have a clean slate and to actually grow, to change. And if you can’t do that in your marriage, then you’re not going to be able to do it in other places. First of all, because this is like the training ground right here that affects your family and everything else. And I would say that different people struggle with this more than others, people who struggle with forgiving themselves because they know the reality of the sins that they’ve committed sometimes have the hardest time forgiving other people. And so, yes, it takes long suffering and patience to be in friendship and be in in relationship with people, especially if you’re married to them. But we we get to grow, right? Like, that’s a, that’s a pain point where we get to actually grow in a word that a lot of people don’t experience in life.

It’s called long suffering. And it’s actually one of the words that’s used in first Corinthians 13 where God is describing what love is. Love is long suffering. Long suffering, along with patient and not keeping a record. All these other things but long suffering. What is long suffering? Clearly you’re not going to experience what long suffering is and grow in your ability to have long suffering with people. If you’ve never suffered, if you’ve never suffered with other people, you’re not going to grow in long suffering. Yeah. And so there is a perfect word, an example of what it means to sometimes hard things that happen in life that maybe are pruning us emotionally, spiritually and physically in other ways. Maybe that’s because God loves us so much that he wants us to grow in long suffering, and that’s actually the fruit that we’re going to get to experience if we stay faithful. And I just want to encourage you guys with that, because honestly, I think that long suffering has been one of those things that I keep getting challenged in over and over and over again in my life. And it’s really encouraging to me to be able to put a word on it and go, hey, that’s a biblical thing that God wants in my life that I’ve been horrible at in the past, that I’m trying to grow more in and I’m trying to have understanding of.

On accountability. Your word has to be as good as gold. And you’re like, oh, of course, you know, like I need to like when I say something to somebody, I need to follow through. My actions need to support that. I teach that to my kids. I know you’re just you don’t need to tell me that, Isaac. Okay? That’s not what I meant. What I actually meant was, is your word as good as gold to yourself when you say something to yourself that you’re going to do something, do you have a trend of following through on that despite the obstacles? And most people have a terrible word with themselves, meaning that their identity that they’ve created. Of course, your identity needs to be in Christ, I get that, but the identity they’ve created in terms of following through with themselves is poor, so that when they decide to do something, there’s a subconscious part of them that doubts they’re actually going to follow through with it, that they’re actually going to do with it, to do it. And it’s really important to strengthen your word with yourself. And the only way to start doing that is every time you decide to do something, you commit. And in the moments you feel like giving up or not doing it, or in the day to day matters, not doing something, you have to. Wait a minute. If I don’t do this, I’m just keeping. I’m hurting my word with myself. What would life look like if your word was as good as gold to yourself? Meaning that whenever you said something, you knew you were going to do it despite the obstacles, what would start to happen in your life? It would be incredible.

Would we be more careful in what we say we’re going to do? I think we do need to be careful because if we just say, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that, and then we don’t do it. We’re building a poor identity of implementation in our lives, and we don’t believe ourselves that we’re going actually follow through, which impacts the day and our actions when it gets hard. So it’s really, really important. Your word is as good as gold to yourself. I’ll give you an example. We just held ourselves accountable by sharing something with all of you that was very purposeful to make sure we’re held accountable. We just said we’re going to get a thriving marriage course out by 2024. That was a commitment, and you all are here to hold us accountable. Um, I remember one time I gave a speech to about 1000 people in something else I was doing, and I told them about the vineyard dream. And I said, it’s not just a dream, but it’s something we’re going to do as a family. And I purposely put it in my speech as an example of this, because that holds me accountable. I just told 1000 people, I’m going to do something. So what did we do?

We planted a vineyard.

We planted a.

Vineyard. It was a lot of work, but it was awesome.

1200 and how many plants?

83, 83, 83 okay.

So but it ended up being it wasn’t a financial thing. We only lost money on it, but it ended up being an essential part of our story. It ended up being a central part of our family’s investment. It was, I.

Like to think of it as.

An amazing I thought of. So my head got so clear pruning in the vineyard early in the morning because I’d have to go to work, so I’d get up extra early to help out, and I’d go out there and prune. But those walking through the vineyard and prayer.

Walking like I used to work through the vineyard when the littles were napping, I would go out for 45 minutes and sometimes the bigs would join me. Sometimes they’d be doing their lone school time, and I would go out and I would prayer walk through the vineyard, and I’d take time to prune. And it was really powerful for me. That was when I started writing. I got so much inspiration and biblical inspiration just in studying John 15 and then seeing it come to play, and then all the other scriptures that talk about a vineyard, and then literally living them out and seeing like God has wisdom for even planting a vineyard. This is wild. And then it just grew this like hunger inside me to see what else there was wisdom on. And then I would just start sharing little by little. And that was how I found, like the voice that God wanted me to share things to glorify him. And it’s very personal, like.

Priceless experience for our family.

Yeah, it was an investment.

It was an investment. It was so important. And the final point we have for you, five points. The first one is reflect and identify. The second one was ask for wisdom. The third one was marriage planning. The fourth one was make simplified but focused commitments. And the final tip we have is to start now. Once you’ve gone through this process, start as soon as possible. Do not wait for the new year. That is just like being like everybody. If you ever do things in the same way everybody else does, you can pretty much count on a lack of success. You can count on an average outcome. You can count on inferior realities to your goals. And it’s just because you don’t want to be in the group doing it. Then you can if you don’t get it done now. But I would just prefer it’s not about 2024. No, it’s about your life. If it’s about 2024, you’ve already not going to do it because it’s not necessary. It’s just a year. It’s just a number. But it has to be necessary. You have to have draw a line in the sand and go, I want these certain things to be changed. God, would you help me to change these things? Would you be part of it and get with your marriage and talk about it together and hold each other accountable? Distill it down to some concise actions that you can take action about, because people are motivated by either pain generally or desire for something that they put into action. And most people, a lot of people, unfortunately, are only motivated to pursue something. It causes discomfort when the pain comes, when the pain is already here, and there’s already consequences for that, and then they’re motivated to get themselves out of that pain.

But how about being proactive and being motivated by pure desire that God is inspiring us to do something, to create change, convicting our hearts in. And so we have desire and we put it actually into action so we don’t have to experience the pain. We’re motivated by desire that God and we’re walking strong with God. So we know that’s in alignment with his will. That’s the way we want to lead our family. That’s what our children need to see from us to launch into these uncertain times. Because there’s going to be resistance. This is the next thing is when you lean in and do some. Something new for the Lord. When you’re trying to do something better that’s more spiritual, or grow in spirituality and grow and leading your family grow and impacting for the Lord these kinds of things, you know what’s going to happen. You have a target on your back, and the enemy is going to try and thwart that. There’s going to be obstacles come your way. So you have to decide ahead of time. You have to go. I know there’s going to be resistance. I know there’s going to be challenges that come. And no matter what the enemy throws my way, I have God and He’s way more powerful and I am going to rely on him and I’m going to take steps in action, right? Action towards the things I feel I’m called to do. We’re called to do in the direction we’re called to do it. And I’m not going to let those things get in my way when the resistance comes. I’m not going to let it discourage me. It might have momentary discouragement, but I’m not going to let it thwart the plans. I’m not going to let it derail me.

You know, it’s so interesting because when I look back on my life and the things that I was able to follow through with, that God had called me to versus the things where maybe I did get thwarted because we’re all human, right? And we care about people and we care about relationships, and we care about so many things. There’s so many things on our plates. And I have to just share, as one human being to another, that the stronger that we are in the Lord, the less we become thwarted because our mission is not actually about us, it’s actually about God. And when we get discouraged because other people are pointing out faults or pointing things out, we can go, okay, yep, I hear that and we can repent and we can get convicted. But like, that doesn’t stop us. That doesn’t paralyze us from from the mission that God has called us to do, because the mission is actually about him and not us. And I think that that’s really what we got, like taking care of your holy temple, for example. That is a mission God gives us. That is a mission. And some of us are better at that mission than others. I’m not advocating for people to make an idol out of that. That’s not what I’m saying.

I think that there’s a fine line, but we need to recognize that when we get resistance, when we experience human resistance, like maybe you make a mission to get healthy and you start pursuing that and all of a sudden your whole family gets sick and you’re sick and you’re like, how am I going to go running? I can hardly breathe through my nose. That’s resistance. That happens sometimes. Are you just going to quit altogether? No, because you remember that the mission is a lifelong mission. It’s not just about 2024. It’s not about 2023. It’s not about. It’s about what God has called us to. So remind yourself of the actual mission and remember this second Corinthians ten three through five says, for though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience when your obedience is complete. This is what we need to remember in the midst of trying to do something new, that there’s going to be resistance. But but we, by the power of Christ, can overcome.

We hope this was super helpful to you all. Would you please share this episode? I think people need to hear this, so if you agree with that, please do that. Thanks for being part of the ministry. See you.

Next time. Hey, thanks for listening and being a part of the 10 Million Legacies movement. Go to be Courageous ministry. Org for more biblically based resources, ways to switch where you spend your money that support the mission and information about the incredible Be Courageous app community for believers.

Also, we wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online Parenting Mentor program.

Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week, we release a video session with a downloadable parenting packet to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible, self-paced program. We cover everything from tending to their hearts, handling obedience to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our private group and the Be Courageous app, live webcasts, and direct access to us.

If you’re interested in joining our next online Parenting Mentor program, secure your spot now at Be Courageous Ministry. Org that’s Be Courageous ministry.org.

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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