I can't think of another phrase that has impacted me more than, "I don't fear the future. I pioneer it!" This phrase exploded into my mind and heart totally unexpected but 100% welcomed. See, I'm just like you, I don't want to stand before God one day and give an account as to why I allowed fear to stop me from totally fulfilling God's master plan for my life.
I've done it! I have given into the paralyzing torment of fear and self-doubt more times than I want to admit. I made up my mind that I was done surrendering to fear's lies and manipulation, and with a made-up mind, I refused to be denied God's divine design for my life.
How can we tell if we are fearing the future? Here are three telltale signs that you might be fearing the future?
1. You think more about what is going wrong that what is going right.
Numbers 20:2-5 NIV
Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lordʼs community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!
Studying the Israelites’ journey into the promised land in Exodus and Numbers is a great way to learn lessons about fear. The Israelites were constantly afraid that they wouldn’t be taken care of, despite God’s constant reassurance and miracles.
In the verse we just read, God had brought the Israelites right to the border of the promised land, and was about to bring them into it, yet all they could see were the things that were going wrong.
Their fear made them miss the great things God was doing. He also had plans to provide them with plenty of water if they would just ask (Numbers 20:8).
Fear causes us to count wrong! Fear causes us to have the wrong perspective. Fear causes us to have tunnel vision.
Are you more focused on what is going wrong than where God is leading you? Are you more focused on what you don't have than all that you do have? Take time to fight your fears by rehearsing with a grateful heart all the breakthroughs that God has done in your life, past or present.
2. You say yes when you want to say no and you say no when you want to say yes.
We know that fear brings torment, confusion and panic. Fear causes you to suffer from the disease to please and causes you to be addicted to approval. You start saying yes to things people want and what they want to do, even though you want to say no, because you know those things don't match your mission and purpose. You become afraid to lead in the direction God put in your heart and afraid to be honest and tell the truth. You tell people, yes, you’re doing a great job when deep down you wish they would get a job transfer to Alaska.
Then, because you fear the future you start saying no to change and a new mindset when you know you should say yes. You say no to people you know are telling you the truth and say no to opportunities, which while big and scary, you know are God.
3. Your insecurities and self-doubts turn into lies you believe.
2 Corinthians 2:11 MEV
Lest Satan should take advantage of us. For we are not ignorant of his devices.
That word "devices" is the Greek word noema - well thought out schemes used on the mind. All Satan’s schemes are set ups to manipulate us into believing his lies.
What's a stronghold?
A stronghold is a lie that you believe.
A lie might be:
If I pastored in a bigger city my church would grow. That's a lie.
If I just had different people… That's a lie.
If I could just preach and lead like so and so… That's a lie.
If I just had more money… That's a lie.
If I could just hire more people… That's a lie.
If I just had more lights and haze… That's a lie.
If I was just married to someone else… That's a lie.
A few days before I graduated from college my dean called me in his office and told me, I was not cut out for ministry that I should do something different. That was a lie! But that lie got inside my head and anytime ministry got tough and during the lean years, his words would scream in my head.
When we started the International Family Church (IFC) we were told over and over again by local pastors, "We don't need any more churches!" "What you're doing it not necessary!" That was a lie! We had to press through their rejection and judgement.
After IFC began, a Pastor I highly respected said to me, "You know a white man can't pastor a black man." That was a lie! We now have close to 60 different nations represented in our church.
Behind every sin is some lie you're believing.
Behind every stronghold is some lie you're believing.
Behind every part of your life where you're not free is most likely a lie you're believing.
The good news is God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power love and a sound mind. Fear is the perfect stage for courage to rise up and enable you press forward to be the pioneer God has called you to be.
Say It with me and believe it...
I don't fear the future. I pioneer it!