Determination to Create What Can’t Be Done
Twelve people saw the same amazing picture, encountered the same people and they all agreed that what they saw was better than they expected it to be. Then the fight began.
Ten of those people focused on the impossibilities of a group of untrained, ill-prepared, modestly armed conscripts could do against fortified cities and trained armies. In fact that was all they could see and when they extrapolated their thoughts into the future, all they could see was defeat and disaster. Being honest and sincere, they felt that the only right path for them was to tell Moses that he was dreaming and God was wrong – “There ain’t no way we’re going to displace these people. Any fighting will be over before it begins. We are doomed to fail and suffer and we don’t understand why God would trick us in this way. We’re all going to die horrible deaths!”
With motivators like that we can predict that the people were thrown into revolt mode and sure enough, the refused to go any further.
But there were twelve people sent to spy out the promised land. Two of the twelve had an entirely different perspective (this is about the right ratio for most groups of people; eighty to eighty-five percent will be negative and reject new ideas and new opportunities because they can only see the downside.) All these two could see was the potential and the possibilities; their gaze was fixed on overcoming the difficulties and moving into a glorious future. They were willing to seriously underestimate the difficulties, figuring that the God who called them would also be able to take care of them.
Democracy is a wonderful thing and 4,000 years ago it worked pretty much like it does today. Ten people said frightening things and trashed the other party, declaring them certifiably insane, and whipping up the public on emotional issues and negative impressions; two guys had the right picture and saw things with the right perspective but their judgment was questioned and they were assigned ulterior motives. Since they didn’t get a formal vote on this decision, the public got lathered into a frenzy and revolt soon followed.
Caleb silenced the people saying, “We should go up and take possession of the land, we can certainly do it.” which led to a chorus of fear and despair from the ten negative ones who added exaggeration to their reporting just to make sure that they won the vote. The ten didn’t have any alternative plan to offer, they were just against everything positive (reminding you of a certain political party in Congress?) Their aim was to stop the action period.
This is the age-old struggle of faith – some see the big picture and are ready to go get on with the task, while most see only horror and pain and personal suffering or at least discomfort and loss. Fear is a vicious ruler.
We each get to choose how we will act. We can choose to focus on the possibilities and the opportunities that are all around us or we can focus on the problems and all the reasons why failure is our future. The first path is harder because it takes us out of the control seat and forces us to come to terms with the unknown; the second path dooms us to lives of irrelevance and inaction – we achieve nothing but took no risks doing it.
The ten spies got their way and they lived out their lives in an alternative of frustration, bitterness and hardship – some deal! They never experienced what God had for them to enjoy. The “secret” to living with faith in God is to regulate what we think about – if it’s negative and fear based we can be sure we will miss what God is doing (no matter who agrees with us.)
James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote to some people who were struggling to survive through harsh persecution (the real kind, not the petty stuff we complain about today.) “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become people of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet a particular problem he has only to ask God – who gives generously to everyone without making them feel foolish or guilty – and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God’s help or not. The person who trusts God but has inward reservations is like a wave of the sea, carried forward one moment and driven back the next. That sort of person cannot hope to receive anything from the Lord, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.” We choose out outcome based on the perspective we adopt. It’s our own free choice.
The only way we can experience faith at work in our lives is for us to take control of our thoughts. We need to spend less time with people who are excessively negative. We need to train ourselves to see first (and maybe only) the positive perspective. That is the path to creating what’s not been created before (the things which everyone thinks can’t be done.)
“Look and see that the past has happened and I declare new things to you;
even before they have been created I’m telling you about them.”
God is a progressive visionary looking for positively oriented people to be his partners. Are we ready to take charge of our attitudes and perspectives and step forward to volunteer ourselves as his allies?
Posted on January 20, 2012, in Active faith and tagged Caleb, Christianity, faith and fear, God, James 1, Maturity, Numbers 13, persecution, positive attitude, positive mindset. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.