Last session: Creators and dreamers, staying “encouraged in the Lord” is dependent on our perspective in life. But we can choose how we view the world, circumstances, problems, and other people. We have a decision to make, between the natural and the supernatural.
The natural response to any problem is to focus on the difficulties involved. If we choose the natural response to problems, and hence, adopt a strictly natural perspective, we’ll go through life with a “grasshopper complex” — which is precisely how Moses’ “advance party” viewed the circumstances of their “promised land.”
Moses sent a small group of men into Canaan, to reconnoiter and get the lay of the land. When the men returned, all but two of the scouts (Joshua and Caleb) were in despair. Why? The country God had promised the Hebrews was just as the Lord had described it, a “land flowing with milk and honey” (Deuteronomy 31:20 NIV) — and grapes so big that it took two men to carry a single cluster. However, the men who saw these wondrous blessings with their own eyes, also saw huge obstacles. And unfortunately, it was the obstacles they chose to focus on: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there…. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers…!” (Numbers 13:23; 32-33 NLT)
Giants? Okay, that is an obstacle. But life, as well as the pursuit of every dream and creative endeavor, has its share of obstacles. When we continually focus on these obstacles, we eventually acquire a negative, pessimistic mindset. We get a victim mentality, a fatalistic attitude, and then we really start focusing on — and magnifying — every problem that comes our way. Suddenly every little difficulty, every little challenge seems way too big to cope with.
So, do we look down and dwell on the negative? Do we allow the problems and pitfalls of life to keep us from pursuing and receiving God’s blessings? Or do we look up, to the our Father in Heaven, who has made us “more than conquerors”? (Romans 8:37 NIV)
“Looking up” is the supernatural response to life’s problems and challenges. When we do, we begin to see ourselves as God sees us: as overcomers and achievers, who stay encouraged because we remain full of Love, Hope, and Faith. “…If we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death … despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37 NLT)
When we focus on God’s infinite love, mercy, and faithfulness, and His abilities and resources, we get a victor mentality: an optimistic, courageous, “I-can-do-all-things-though-Christ” mindset. In fact, we’ll actually begin to look for and welcome challenges, the way Caleb did! Remember Caleb? He was one of the two scouts who returned with a POSITIVE report: “Giants? Yeah, but we can take ’em down!”
Caleb chose to focus on God’s power and promises — not on the perils and problems — and as a result, he was still slaying giants well into his 80s! Read his testimony: “I was forty years old when Moses … sent me … to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God. …Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me … and I can still … fight as well as I could then. So give me the hill country that the LORD promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found [giants] living there in great, walled towns. But if the LORD is with me, I will drive them out … just as the LORD said.” (Joshua 14:7-12 NLT)
Clearly, Caleb was looking up, to the power and promises of God, and not down at his problems. What’s your focus today? Are you magnifying your difficulties? Or are you magnifying the miracle-working God of the impossible? We hope it’s the latter: the supernatural choice of giant-slayers and history-makers. He is the solution to every problem, the answer to every challenge, the provider of every need — “the God who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20 NLT) — including our most cherished dreams and aspirations!
Fellow creators and dreamers, adjust your focus and get a divine perspective on life. Read, study, and meditate on the Word of God. Quote it and claim its promises. And LOOK UP!
“I look up toward the mountains. Where can I find help? My help comes from the Lord…. He will not let you fall. Your guardian will not fall asleep. Indeed, the Guardian of Israel never rests or sleeps.” (Psalm 121:1-4 GW)