Who am I listening to?
Obstacles are about pushing past fear, and Satan knows this. That’s why he spends so much time pushing the obstacle to block the blessing. He knows that the more his voice focuses on the problem of the obstacle, the better chance he has of getting us to fold in fear of that obstacle. It is simply a matter of time. But, if we choose faith in God rather than fear of the obstacle, we become conquerors instead of victims.
Victim: Fear of the obstacle
Fear is a parasite that feeds on your strength and releases toxin into your soul. This toxin clouds your mind so you can’t think straight, and it has one purpose: to mess with your emotions so that you end up with a victim mentality.
The Israelites learned about fear the hard way, remember? The only ones who actually made it into Canaan were Joshua and Caleb … all the faithless complainers died (Numbers 13/14). They were unable to conquer because they listened to the wrong counsel – the victims’ counsel. It’s easy to recognize a victim mentality because their words always diminish. The scouts themselves were terrified and the only way they could get the Israelites to embrace victim mentality was to convince them of just how impossible it would be to possess Canaan. So, they gave a report that would distort the nation’s view of God’s power … the power that would have freed them to conquer as they chose obedience to God’s plan. Listen to the negative words that the spies used to cultivate fear instead of faith:
“We can’t attack those people;
they’re way stronger than we are. […]
We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole.
Everybody we saw was huge.
Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants.
Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers.
And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”
This report was not only false – as it was directly opposite to what God had told them – but it was also malicious and designed to injure His reputation in the eyes of everyone. The scouts slowly glided through the congregation of Israel whispering secretly to rally everyone against Joshua and Caleb. It wasn’t that they lied, per se, they just capitalized on only one aspect of the situation. It was slick and Satan’s fingerprint is all over it: a lie by omission. They told the truth, just not the whole truth.
Who am I listening to and what are they saying?
Conqueror: Faith in God
Conquerors are people like David, Jesus and Peter. They have a power perspective not a victim view. Goliath was a giant but David didn’t focus on that. There were only a few fish and some bread, not enough for all the people, but Jesus didn’t focus on that. Walk on water? Impossible! But Peter didn’t focus on that. (At least, not at first) In Peter we see both choices stacked back to back. At first he is fully engaged in the power perspective:
“Lord, if it is [really] You, Command me to come to You on the water. […] So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water.
But then his focus shifts to the victim view:
But then he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened and began to sink […].”
Shifting our focus from faith to fear will always diminish us to failure.
Caleb displayed a power perspective by challenging the Israelites to ignore the spies, “Don’t listen to these guys, it doesn’t matter what the obstacles are, whether we are grasshoppers or not, it’s about who God is! You are focusing on the wrong thing! If we remember God and choose His promise … we are able.” Caleb didn’t deny the truth of who or what the obstacles were, but concentrated on God’s supernatural ability instead of human strength.
All marriages face obstacles. Some are small and benign, and perhaps even laughable after some time has passed; and some are great offences that require everything you have in your soul. It’s the greatest offences that bring greatest temptation to have our focus snatched away from the blessing and centered on the obstacle.
Listen to the voice you are hearing. Really listen. What does it say?
Does it say that your land of milk & honey is not possible because the obstacles and the giants are too big for you to conquer? … too big for God to conquer? After you listen to the voices is your attention drawn to the obstacle rather than God’s power and blessing? How about the intent behind the voice? Does it sound like the scouts – hopeless, weak and giving up in fear? Or, does it sound like Caleb’s words – full of hope, strength and promise?
In the final analysis we need to silence the voices of the spies by listening to a Caleb; it is a voice that pushes through feelings of fear, with faith in God. It says: Don’t be afraid (John 14:27). You will be more than OK (Rom 8:37). Never, never, NEVER give up. (ok, that one was Winston Churchill, but I believe he paraphrased it from Heb 13:5)
Who am I listening to
and are they a Caleb
encouraging me to courageously possess my land?!