You Were Made For This: Seeing your future with faith not fear.
God has given you a life vision and a purpose. But you can’t fulfill that vision until you clearly see it. In this series, we look at the transforming power of vision by describing the consequences of an unclear vision and revealing the antidote to fear in pursuing the future God has planned for you.
Something To Talk About:
We want to follow Jesus, but where is He leading? What is the payoff for following Him? Is it being a better person? Is it a pain-free life? If you follow Him, you won’t have a pain-free life. But that’s okay because Jesus offers much more—a faith so strong it frees us from fear when we remember who we are and whose we are: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) Using the story of the 12 spies sent into the promised land, there are five key points to remember in order to see your future with faith, not fear.
- I overemphasize the negative in my life: Numbers 13: 27-28 says, “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…’” Once you get to the but, you’re going to see with eyes of fear. Here’s the conflicting information, ” the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!” When you overemphasize the negative, it creates a lot more stress in your life. Life is filled with negatives. Not everything is positive. But you do have a choice in choosing what you’re going to focus on, what you’re going to emphasize, and that is going to directly affect your happiness. So I focus on the negative when looking with eyes of fear.
- I pay too much attention to what others are doing: The majority of the spies are not focusing on the beauty and the value of the land. Numbers 13:29 says, “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.”What they’re saying is, “There won’t be enough for us this year. All the good land is already taken by other tribes. There’s really no room for us in this promised land. There aren’t enough resources for everybody.” If you look at this new year with eyes of fear, you too are going to develop a scarcity mentality, which is going to create stress in your life, like there’s not enough. And you’ll say, “All the good experiences are gone.” “All the good jobs are already taken.” “All the good houses are already bought.” “All the good husbands are married.” You’re going to look around with a scarcity mentality. Now, you got to look with the eyes of faith.
- I underestimate the abilities God has given me: Because seeing life with eyes of fear causes you to bury your talents. Numbers 13:31 says, “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” They’re underestimating their own ability. If you have a vision based on fear, rather than faith, it’s going to limit you for your entire life. You’re going to miss opportunities. You’re going to waste the talent that God has put inside you. And you’re going to set yourself up with self-fulfilling and self-defeating predictions. Job says in Job 3:25, “What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true.” The spies with fear-based vision saw themselves as inadequate. Verse 32 and 33, they said, “…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,” They viewed themselves as bugs that we going to get squashed. They are projecting their fears on others. That’s one of the problems of a fear-based vision is you project your fears on everybody else.
- I infect others with negativity: Verse 32 says, “So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites.” They didn’t just keep it to themselves. This is what happens when you become afraid, you start talking negatively, you start complaining, you start griping. We don’t want to be negative, but our thoughts stay consumed with all the things that made us negative. We don’t want to feel discouraged or fearful, but our heart is heavy, and our negative thoughts weigh down not only our emotions but our outlook on life. As long as Christians live in a fearful, stressful world, negative thoughts will come. We have the option of either stamping out those thoughts or nurturing them. The good news is, negative thoughts can be replaced with positive ones, and the more that godly substitution takes place, the more peace and joy we can experience. It’s helpful to remember that, no matter how dismal the present circumstances, Christians have been promised God’s love and victory in Christ.
- I make myself miserable: So they gave a fear-based report. Numbers 14:1-2 says, “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.” They’re having a full-blown pity party. They would have rather stayed slaves than have to face what we’re going to face in the future. They would have rather died in the desert than have to face the future because they were so afraid. They grumbled and complained in a great chorus against their leaders, Moses and Aaron. They wanted to go back to a prior time. The choice is yours: be miserable and fearful, or dust yourself off and start each day by counting your blessings and praying about everything. Choose faith over fear.
- How would you define vision? Where does it come from and why is it important to have it?
- What circumstances, consequences, or possibilities do you fear? How does that fear limit your choices in life?
- In order to see clearly the vision God has for your future, why is it important to deal honestly with your fears? Share how fears have affected you.
- Are you looking toward the future with fear or faith?
- What happens to us inside when we overemphasize negative things? How does our negativity influence others? Give an example from your experience.
- Why is it important not to underestimate our own God-given abilities or focus on what others are doing? How do these attitudes undermine the truth that God has a good future for you?
- “Don’t say that everything people call a conspiracy is a conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear. Don’t let it terrify you.” Isaiah 8:12 (GW) What does Isaiah 8:12 say about fear and its impact?
- What can we do this week to give those fears to God?
- Have you ever met someone who was choosing to trust God through difficult circumstances? What impressed you about that person? Can you imagine yourself having a faith like that? Why or why not?
- What worries are you struggling with that you need to entrust to God? What can this group do to support you?
- What are your expectations for this week as a result of Sunday’s message?
Take one thing home with you:
Discovering who God created you to be and what God is shaping you to do is not a one-time event. God reveals His vision to us over time. And we usually only see part of the vision at first. As we respond to what God shows us and begin to lean into God’s preferred future, the vision becomes more vivid and real.