It’s Only “Impossible” if You Look at It

by Lester Young

Hi, kids! Remember last time we talked about the utter impossibility of this thing called “impossibility”? Well, let’s continue splitting hairs this week as we take a more in-depth look at why so many things have remained impossible for us – even though it’s been established that nothing’s impossible.

In the last thirty years or so, a major proliferation of ‘motivational’ information has flooded the consumer marketplace. Yet of the many different sources, the vast majority tends to have a few fundamental tenets in common. At one point early on these principles were even packaged as a fresh source of enlightenment called “New Age thinking.” But there was one problem with that advertisement: it was just plain false – because there’s nothing really ‘new’ under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9, 3:15). Let me explain.

One of the most basic exercises taught by many of today’s motivational experts is to use your imagination. You’re to spend to spend time daily actively imagining yourself – that is, using your mind’s eye to see yourself – being what you want to be, where you want to be and having what you want to have. (Now please be aware that I’m not attempting to disparage motivational teachers – in actuality, quite the contrary; and you’ll see why.) You’re also instructed to use the concept of visualization: for instance, if you want a particular new car, you cut out pictures of it and put them on your refrigerator door, desktop and night stand. With these two techniques, you can keep your goals before your eyes and fresh in your mind at all times. The experts have realized that if you continue focusing on them, those things will eventually get down into your spirit and become part of you – and your spirit will then begin to motivate you to action toward those goals.

Now go with me to the first chapter of Joshua, and we’ll see something very interesting. Setting the stage there, Moses has just died, and Joshua has taken over for him as the commander-in-chief of the whole nation of Israel (Numbers 27:21; Deuteronomy 3:28, 31:7, 34:5-9). In verse 8 God directs Joshua, “This Book of the Law must not depart out of your mouth; but you must meditate therein day and night, so that you may see to do according to all that’s in it: for then you will make your way prosperous and you’ll have good success.” That word ‘meditate’ means to ponder, to think on and muse about over and over in your mind – in other words, to imagine. The Lord commanded Joshua to use his imagination – to see himself doing and being what the Book told him to do and be – and that picture in his spirit would motivate him to make his way prosperous and have good success. Hmm… nothin’ new under the sun.

The LORD also used that same process with Abram (a.k.a. Abraham). When the man didn’t have so much as a whiff of a kid, God told him he’d not only have a son, but that his offspring would be so many he wouldn’t be able to count them all. And because He knew Abram’s natural mind would struggle with grasping such an enormously gracious promise, God gave him a picture to look at – to just stare at over and over. He told him to go out and count the stars if he could; because that’s how many children he’d have (Genesis 15:4-5). Can’t you see Abram lounging out on the front lawn night after night; counting stars, losing track and starting over… again and again and again…? Yep, nothing new under the sun.

Why’d God use the same process? Because that’s the process that works with us. It’s the process that’s always worked with us. It happens to be the way we were made – in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:7). The spirit (the real you and me) is a powerful being, created to create. Proverbs 23:7 describes it this way: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

We can see, then, it’s the direction you look toward (i.e., what you continually look at) that you’ll eventually follow. What you give constant attention and earnest heed to is what you’ll end up believing. That’s why Jesus admonishes us to “take no thought” for our own lives and circumstances (Matthew 6:25, 31) – in other words, DO NOT worry! (1 Peter 5:7) For one thing, it does absolutely, positively no good – it changes nothing (Luke 12:25-26). What’s more, worrying is simply pondering – thinking about over and over – the negative circumstances or possibilities that face you: it’s using your imagination in the wrong direction! And what you continually look at is what you’ll eventually believe and act on.

God told the ancient Israelites He’d delivered out of Egypt that He’s was going to bring them into a new land running over with everything good (Deuteronomy 1:20-21, 25). But when they went to scout it out, all most of them could see were the obstacles that were standing in their way (Numbers 13:26-33, 14:6-9). They completely lost sight of the fact that the LORD had given them His Word. The Almighty God of all Creation had specifically told them, “Go on up and take the land! I’ve set it there before you. There’s no need for you to be afraid or discouraged, because I’m with you!” Instead, they got caught up staring at the strong armies and giants they’d have to face… and they began believing the “impossibility” of their situation. As a result, it became impossible for them – because they were stopped dead in their tracks.

It’s only impossible if you focus your attention on all the reasons why it can’t be done.

We once thought it was impossible to get to the moon, didn’t we? But then someone said, “You know what? Let’s go there anyway!” And we stopped giving heed to the notion of “it’s impossible” and started looking instead at “Okay, how do we get there?” It’s all (all!) a matter of what (or Who) you’re focused on.

Keep this in mind: If the Lord has told you to do something seemingly important, it’s probably utterly impossible for you to do it – and He already knows that. In fact, it’s a major reason why He picked you to do it in the first place – and why you’ll successfully get it done, together (1 Corinthians 1:26-29; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; James 2:5). Just keep your gaze focused on Him, and nothing else!

 

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