I was originally going to expound on my last post “What Happened to the Power of God” this week, but I felt stirred to write about a different topic today and I believe it will be an encouragement to you. One of the things the Holy Spirit has been showing me is how to transform my thought life—which in turn plays a major hand in the transformation of our entire being—for we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2). The foundational piece the Holy Spirit has been showing me is how to move from fear to faith.
One of the things that I’ve noticed about my generation (especially those who are either high school seniors or are currently in college) is that almost all of the people I come in contact with have questions about the future that become a source of anxiety and apprehension—which is not exclusive to our age group. I remember when I was first starting college; I had so many thoughts and fears about choosing the right school, choosing the right path, or possibly missing God’s plan for my life. The school that I did my first two years of college at wasn’t my first choice, but it made the most sense and I felt at peace about going there as I spent time in prayer about it. But during my first semester of college I was constantly thinking, What if I chose wrong and I’m missing what God actually intended for me to do? What if I was supposed to go to school somewhere else and now I’m hindering the fullness of God’s plan for my life? What if…
Have you been there? These may sound like silly or illogical questions, but I hear these same questions from people over and over. For me, these types of questions so pervaded my life that “what if’s” found their way into everything I did. For example, for the past few years I was considering trying a new method of going through the Scriptures (I have gone through the Word using the same plan every year for as long as I can remember), but every time I attempted to try something different I had the thought: what if this method isn’t as thorough as what I’ve always done and I end up hindering my walk with the Lord and wasting time I can never get back? So for the past few years I decided to just stick with the same plan because I knew it worked well enough. But as I was considering embracing a new method of studying the Word this year (and I was having the same thoughts that I have every year), I heard the Holy Spirit say, “You’re attempting to make this decision from a place of fear. Never make a decision from a place of fear.”
In my mind I began to see all of my questions as if they were written out on a page, and in every question the Holy Spirit highlighted the words: what if. He began to show me that whenever the questions surrounding my decisions begin with what if, that should be a sign to me that I was letting fear influence my decision.
As believers, we never want to make a decision from a place of fear, but instead we want to make our decisions from a place of faith. Fear’s goal is to paralyze. Fear seeks to shrink our potential and stunt our growth by keeping us within our comfort zones and within our realm of familiarity. I began to notice that whenever my decisions were made from a place of fear, I always chose what I was most comfortable with. I always chose what I was already doing. As a result, I never changed—and therefore never grew either. My grandpa used to call this “the paralysis of analysis.”
After I began to see how much fear had been affecting my decisions, the Holy Spirit began to show me how to change the way I think from a place of fear to a position of faith. The Holy Spirit took those same “what if’s” that were present in all my questions and He turned them around. He said, “Instead of asking what if and then following that with the possibility of something negative, ask what if and then follow it with a statement of faith.” For example, instead of thinking: what if I try this new method of studying the Word and it stunts my growth in the Lord? Try thinking: what if this new method of studying the Word catapults my growth to a level I never even thought possible!
Moving from fear to faith looks like this: moving from doubting to dreaming. Instead of following your what if’s with a doubt, follow them with a dream of what’s possible in God. It’s the art of what Graham Cooke would call, “Thinking brilliantly.” Imagine how powerful it would be if we turned all of our doubting “what if’s” into dreams? Instead of asking, What if I’m at the wrong school and I’m missing what God has for me? we could ask, What if God wants to use me to bring revival to this school and to see a move of the Holy Spirit unlike this campus has ever seen? How powerful is that! This isn't "the power of positive thinking," it’s what moving from fear to faith looks like. The Enemy doesn’t want us to think like that, but it’s exactly how we should be thinking.
When we make our decisions from a place of faith and a place of infinite possibility in God, it allows us to think clearly, to hear God accurately, and to take greater steps of faith—which in turn leads to greater levels of growth.
Before I close, I want to add one more thing. This is something my parents have continually encouraged me in over the years and it's been something that’s been hard for me to actually absorb and learn until recently, but they would always tell me, “If you’re passionately pursing the direction and purpose God has for your life and you’re seeking to hear and obey Him, He won’t let you miss His plan for you.” I want to encourage you with that today. If you are truly seeking to hear and to obey God’s direction for your life, He won’t allow you to miss it. Don’t allow what if’s to creep in and undermine the truth of the Word or the goodness of our Father. I hope this encouraged and helped you today!
Here’s a short video by Graham Cooke about “The Art of Thinking Brilliantly” that came to mind as I was writing this post. You may find it helpful: