Small Group Questions

A new you for a new decade: What happens when I look at my future with eyes of fear?

Introduction:

The single greatest influence on your life is what you do with your life over the next ten years. It can be a decade of destiny or a decade of being docked in the same place you are today. The number one thing that determines whether you are happy or you are unhappy in the next ten years, whether you succeed or whether you fail in the next ten years, whether you grow or whether you stagnate in the next ten years is how you look at things.  It is your perspective. Your perspective determines your purpose.  Your perspective determines your passion.  Your perspective determines your place in history.  It’s how you see things.  I’m talking about everything – how you see God, how you see yourself, how you see life, how you see money.  Everything that you have in your life or do in your life or want to be in your life is controlled by how you see it, by your perspective.  

Something To Talk About:

You’ve heard people say “There’s more than one way to look at things,” and they’re right.  There is.  And you choose to look at things either with eyes of fear or with eyes of faith.  What happens when I look at my future with eyes of fear?

  1. I get stressed by conflicting information: Life can be invaluable and it can have little or no value. It can be good, or bad and how we process and use that information makes the difference.  “This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!” (Numbers 13:27-28)  Notice they said, “It’s a magnificent country… but the people living there are powerful.”  There is a proverbial but. Everybody has a but. “I could do this but… I know God wants me to do this but…”  Everybody has a but. And it is those buts that keep you from becoming all God wants you to be.  But, but, but, but, but!  I can’t do it.  If you’re going to let God use you, you must not be stressed by conflicting information.  
  2. I develop a scarcity mentality: What is a scarcity mentality?  It’s the idea that there’s no room for us.  There’s not going to be enough for everybody so I better hold on and hoard what little I’ve got.  I shouldn’t give it away.  I shouldn’t expand myself.  I shouldn’t take any risks because the future is uncertain and I have limited resources. Numbers 13:29 tells us that “The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.” Since this is our promised land why is it full of enemies that do not want us around. There is not enough land for all of us.  That is the eyes of fear.  The scarcity mentality.  I’m going to hold on to what little I’ve got.  I’m not going to take any risks.
  3. I fulfill my own self defeating prophecies: If you say I can do something and if you say I can’t we are both right and we’re going to end up fulfilling what your attitude is. I could not lose weight. I could not spend more time reading my Bible. I could give you a hundred things I could not do and probably will not if you think that way. There were only two of the twelve guys that went in to spy the land that said, we can.  They’re the only two guys that got to go into the Promised Land forty years later.  God let Joshua and Caleb go into the land.  Everybody else said we can’t and God said you’re right – you can’t. Because of your unbelief, you don’t get to go into the Promised Land.  If you fulfill your own self-defeating prophecy, you’ll miss God’s blessing for your life.
  4. I infect others with my negativity: I don’t just keep it to myself.  When you’re negative, when you’re fearful, when you’re worried, it just naturally seems to spill out and over. It doesn’t just affect you; it affects everybody else you love too.  We spread it around. Numbers 13:32: “They spread a bad report about the land they had explored.”  Pretty soon the whole nation is worried.  The whole nation is fearful.  The whole nation… its psychology being passed on, it becomes contagious. Faith is the key to overcoming the fear of defeat in any area.  
  5. I see myself inadequate for my challenges: People who have the ability to do something with their lives are stymied and stopped and barricaded by their own negative attitude.  I don’t have what it takes to overcome the challenges I face. This is what they said in Numbers 13: 32: “…The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We saw giants there!” Do you know what happens when you worry about something?  It gets bigger.  Have you noticed that?  And pretty soon you’re facing a giant problem simply because you will it, you worried it into a giant format.  We always tend to project our fears onto other people.  So if you think you’re inadequate, you think everybody else thinks you’re inadequate.  We allow your own fears to be projected on other people and you think everybody thinks that way.  They don’t.  Some people are looking at it with eyes of faith and you’re looking at it with eyes of fear.   
  6. I make myself miserable: Nothing is more miserable than to be around somebody who is scared, negative, against it all, thinking it’s not going to happen.  Numbers 14:1-2 is what happened after they gave this negative report, “Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 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.” Instant pity party. What happens when I get negative, I throw myself a pity party: “Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest.”  The solution is to face your fears. Because that’s the way you get out of them.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you fear and how does it affect the way you live? Does it lead to anger, worry, or anxiety?
  2. Is there something God has commanded from His Word that you are fearful to do? Write down a current situation you could call your “Canaan.” What giants are keeping you from stepping out with faith into God’s promise? 
  3. What happened when the ten spies let fear govern their perception? How do we keep fear of interfering with God’s plan for us?  
  4. When the other spies spread a bad report throughout the crowd, how did the people respond? 
  5. What does a scarcity mentality mean to you? How does it apply to the age we live in?  
  6. Many (perhaps most) people in the world have negative attitudes about many things. Why is that?
  7. How do we have self-fulfilling and potentially defeating prophecies?  
  8. How do we infect others with our negativity? What is the solution? 
  9. Why do some people never think they are good enough? 
  10. Is possible to make yourself miserable? 
  11. Tell about a situation in your life that felt insurmountable, but God saw you through it. Are you in the middle of one of these situations right now? Does remembering how God has worked in your life help you trust Him today? 
  12. What did you learn about God through the message? What questions do you still have concerning the message?

Take one thing home with you:

Fear is ever-present in our lives. It takes faith to overcome fear and give us a new perspective on life. God provides us with an alternative to interpreting our lives and life events through the lens of fear (i.e. worst-case scenario thinking/planning).  Instead, we have someone in whom we can place our trust and to whom we can submit our fears and anxieties.  That doesn’t mean fear and anxiety magically disappear, it just means that we learn that the antidote for fear is faith. Because faith trumps fear.