Part 4- What Happens When We Have Faith
In our previous blogs we have been looking at faith. We defined faith, and we looked at two examples of people in the Bible who exhibited such faith. We also talked about the opposite situation — when people do not live in faith – but, instead, live in fear. Today we will continue our discussion.
When we look at life with eyes of fear we underestimate our own abilities.
Let’s go back and look at the story when Moses sent the scouts into the promised land to assess the feasibility of conquering it. Twelve were sent in. Two of them felt confident about taking the land from the current occupants. Ten of them were afraid. In Numbers 13:33 the ten reported, “Next to them (current occupants) we felt like grasshoppers…….”
Talk about low self-esteem. These guys are saying — we’re insects — we’re a bunch of bugs compared to these guys. They were still thinking like slaves. That’s understandable because they had been subjugated by the Egyptians for 400 years.
Let’s stop here a moment and apply this to us. A lot of us let negative events from our past influence us today.
That’s particularly true when people make negative statements about us. “Oh, you’re so uncoordinated.” “You’re stupid.” “You will never amount to much.” And so on. We hang on to these negative messages — even though the people who said them may not be around anymore. But we let them influence us today. That’s what our mind does. It puts us into bondage and keeps us there.
Celebrate Recovery is a great program that can help solve this problem. When I go to an AA meeting and introduce myself, I typically say, “Hi, my name is Bob, and I’m an alcoholic or whatever.” I may have been sober for 35 or 40 years, but I still say, “Hi, I’m Bob and I’m an alcoholic.” I am identifying myself with my struggle.
However, in Celebrate Recovery, I say, “Hi, my name is Bob — I’m a follower of Jesus — and I struggle with alcohol.” There’s a substantial difference between the two introductions. My identity is not my addiction, and it’s not my weakness. My identity is in Christ. That frees me from bondage.
You see when we identify ourselves by our weaknesses — we are underestimating ourselves. Now I’m not saying that we don’t have weaknesses, because we do. But we also have power in Jesus. And that’s where we need to focus. OK, let’s look at a third problem.
A third thing that happens when we look at life with eyes of fear is we get discouraged.
Let’s look at Numbers 14:1.
“Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night.”
They had a giant pity party. Waa. Waa. Waa. Poor us — boohoo — we don’t get to go into the Promised Land.
They were discouraged, and when people get discouraged they often gripe and complain.
Let’s look at Numbers 14:2-3.
“Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?”
After they finish their pity party they complain against Moses and Aaron. And they also blame God. They mourn — they murmur — they cry — they complain — and then it got worse.
Let’s look at Numbers 14:3.
“Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”
These people blamed their leaders for bringing them to Promised Land! Can you imagine that! The Promised Land was a blessing from God! However, their fear kept them from seeing that, and they start second guessing.
They think about the “good old days” in Egypt. Good old days? Four hundred years of slavery and oppression? They have to be kidding!
But you know once again we can’t completely fault the Jews, because we often do the same thing. When we are faced with the unknown, we always want to return to the familiar — even if it’s horrible.
OK, we talked about three major consequences of looking at life through eyes of fear.
- We exaggerate our problems.
- We underestimate our abilities.
- We get discouraged.
Next week we will talk about the benefits of looking at life with eyes of faith. There are several we will discuss. See you then…