Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Grasshopper Mentality

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will as well.
For many years, God has dealt with me about the grasshopper mentality. It has kept God's people from accomplishing what He wants them to since the beginning of time. Let me share with you some thoughts concerning this.

We were in our own sight as grasshoppers. Numbers 13:33

You'll never know what you're made of spiritually until you come against something too big to handle alone. That's when you discover what you really believe. When Moses sent twelve scouts to check out Israel's new homeland, they all saw the same thing: a land rich in honey, milk - and giants! Yes, Joshua and Caleb saw them too. Faith isn't ignoring the obvious, that's denial.

Acknowledging a problem isn't an expression of doubt. And it's not a sin. Paul said, "We would have come unto you… but Satan hindered us" (1 Thessalonians 2:18). You can't overcome what you won't acknowledge. The difference between the scouts was in how they saw the problem. Ten said, "We saw the giants… and we were in our own eyes as grasshoppers," but Joshua and Caleb said, "Do not fear the people of the land. For they are but bread for us to eat! The Lord is with us" (Numbers 14:9 TLB). Real faith feeds off the stuff the enemy throws at you. It says, "Bring it on! The Lord is with me. He has robbed the enemy of his power to hurt me."

1. The negative report of the ten spies caused three reactions in the people.
(1) Fear. Fear is irrational. It can make you forget every good thing God's promised, or done for you.
(2) Some wanted to go back to Egypt - back to how things used to be. Hello!
(3) Others wanted to settle in the wilderness. You've got to move with the cloud, otherwise today's manna is the last you'll see.

So, is the God you serve bigger than the giant you see? He says He is.

When you come up against a giant, either your faith will cause you to soar or your fear will cause you to sink. The Israelites died 21 miles from the Promised Land, going in circles. Why? "We saw the giants… and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers." If you're to see (and seize) what God's promised you, you'll have to conquer your giants. Now, you have the power to, but do you have the will to? Joshua and Caleb stood alone. Faith will place you in the minority at times! "The whole congregation… said… would to God that we had died… in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 16:2-3). In order to go where God wants to take you, you'll have to rise above the opinions of others.

2. So, who are these good people with grasshopper mentalities?

(1) They constantly talk about life's injustices, about how they've been mistreated and misunderstood. To them Paul answers, "Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Timothy 2:3).
(2) They make excuses for not conquering in life. Sometimes they even put others down because they're walking in victory. To them Paul writes, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).
(3) They complain about what they don't have instead of focusing on what they do. To them Peter writes, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:13).

Israel had repeatedly witnessed God's power; why now were they intimidated? It's a perception problem called low self-esteem, and it's how the enemy prevents you from winning. The Israelites quickly forgot their Red Sea deliverance and instead remembered Egypt where they'd lived as slaves. Be careful. Hard times can make you think you don't deserve to be blessed! Anytime you have something of value, the enemy will attack you. In the Old Testament we read: "When the Philistines heard… David had been anointed king… they went up in full force to search for him" (2 Samuel 5:17 NIV). Until you claim your rightful place in Christ, Satan will tell you that you deserve to be mistreated. So cover yourself in God's Word until it becomes such a part of you that you stop doubting yourself. God made you in His image, redeemed you, dwells in you, and that makes you valuable!

A man in the prairie observed an eagle fatally wounded by gunshot. He writes: "With his eyes gleaming… he slowly turned his head, giving one last… longing look towards the sky. He'd often swept those starry spaces with his wonderful wings… the sky was the home of his heart. There he'd displayed his strength a thousand times… played with the lightning and raced the wind. Now far from home, the eagle lay dying, because - just once - he forgot and flew too low… My soul is that eagle. This isn't its home. It must never lose its skyward look."

3. We are being transformed into His likeness

We… are being transformed into His likeness. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)

A man who was feeling depressed went to see a psychiatrist. After sharing his problems he expected some profound words of wisdom that would make him feel better. "Well," the psychiatrist exclaimed, "I've diagnosed your problem. It's low self-esteem - and it's very common among losers!" When you view yourself negatively you tend to gravitate toward people who talk down to you. But when you know that God loves you and "plans… to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT), your entire outlook changes. With God you can't lose. Even if you stumble and fall He'll help you to get back up, learn from the experience and move on. When you look at yourself you tend to see somebody who makes mistakes and falls short, right? But when you begin to look at yourself in the mirror of God's Word, you see someone "being transformed into His likeness" (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).

Ever gone to a garage sale or an antique show looking for a bargain? To the untrained eye much of the stuff looks like rubbish; it may even have been gathering dust and mildew in somebody's attic. But the experienced eye sees treasure in disguise, items that just need to be cleaned, polished and restored in order to become valuable again.

Well, God's the expert with a trained eye. When the enemy tells you you're worthless, God looks inside you and sees hidden treasure. When you put Him on the throne of your life He'll enable you to overcome your past, resist temptation, break through your self-imposed limitations, and start accepting that in His eyes you have great worth. Blessings!

Pastor Rusty


Anonymous said...

What an encouraging word today, here and on the text!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Good stuff bro. Thanks man.