How to Have a Promise Perspective
God, in His grace, has given us Scriptural promises for every barrier, obstacle or problem we may face, including things like sickness, worry and addiction. These “barriers,” whether big or small, simple or complicated, are actually just anything standing in the way of experiencing God’s best intention for our lives. And contrary to popular opinion, it is not the size or nature of the barriers we encounter in life that leads to bad outcomes, it’s having the wrong perspective regarding the power of those barriers to ultimately defeat us.
In fact, this optimistic mindset is contrary to how most of us think. We usually think big barriers must equal bad outcomes. Not only is this unscriptural, it is self-defeating. But how do we ditch this problem perspective, refocus on the promises of God and develop a promise perspective instead? First, let’s take a quick look at two biblical examples:
Joshua, Caleb and the Israelite Spies
The Children of Israel had miraculously escaped 400 years of slavery in Egypt. They were on the verge of entering the territory God had promised to give to them to settle in and live in – their Promised Land. Moses, the leader, decided to send out twelve men from the tribes to take a look around this new land and report back what they will encounter there.
When the men returned, the reports varied considerably. Ten of the twelve men clearly had a problem perspective, because they brought back a bad report to the waiting people, and said:
“…’We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’ And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight’” (Numbers 13:31-33).
But two of the twelve kept their eyes focused on the promise and power of God:
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it’” (Numbers 13:30).
“But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; ‘If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey’” (Numbers 14:6, 8).
Ten spies told the Israelites, BIG Barrier, BAD Outcome! But Joshua and Caleb chose to have a different perspective, a promise perspective. And eventually, only these two with the right perspective made it into the Promised Land.
“Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in” (Numbers 14:30).
When they focused on the problems instead of God’s promise, the other spies locked themselves out of ever entering the abundant life in the Promised Land.
So remember, perspective not problems, determines whether or not we experience God’s promises! This is powerfully important because everyone will experience problems that appear big to them.
Centuries later, the nation of Israel was faced with another big barrier: the Philistine army and a giant-sized problem named Goliath. The commanders had agreed to single combat between two champions, to determine which nation would be victorious. But the whole army of Israel, including King Saul, was afraid at the taunts of this massive Philistine warrior:
“When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:11).
No one would volunteer to go out and fight Goliath because he appeared as a massive barrier which they concluded would lead to a bad fight outcome. All except young David, that is, who had a different perspective.
David wasn’t even a soldier, but he overheard the men talking about the promises King Saul had made to anyone who would fight and defeat Goliath.
“…it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:25).
While the King’s promise motivated David to go out and face Goliath, it was actually his mental perspective on the situation that empowered him to break through and receive the promise.
“Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, ‘What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?’” (1 Samuel 17:26).
“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands’” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
We probably all know how the story ends: David the underdog, the lowly shepherd boy, defeated Goliath and received the King’s promise, and eventually became King over Israel. His perspective, not his problems, determined whether David received the promise. And the same applies to every one of us. But to do this, we must know how to develop the habit of a promise perspective.
1. Embrace the Law of Meditation
This simply means, whatever we meditate on, think about often, or mull over in our minds, is what becomes magnified the most in our lives. Unfortunately, most of us meditate on the wrong things.
We mentally rehearse the worst-case scenario, the painful adversity, the fearful circumstance, the abusive words spoken to us, and the harmful thing someone did to us, and as a result the problem gets so magnified that we forget the promises that God has prepared for us to break through.
But God wants us to reverse that. He wants us to meditate on His promises so we can break through those barriers we see in our way.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
God says to choose to meditate on His promises, not the problems, and you will make your way prosperous and you will have good success. What you meditate on is what you magnify.
2. Your Barrier Is a Doorway to Breakthrough
Most people see problems as barriers that prevent them from experiencing God’s best in their lives. Ten of the twelve spies saw the Canaanite giants that way, and all of Israel saw the warrior Goliath that way. But I’ve learned something amazing about barriers: they are really just doorways to breakthroughs!
In the United States, the Great Depression of the 1930s caused widespread hunger and suffering. The economic condition of the country was viewed by most as a barrier that would prevent anyone from increasing their wealth. But we now know that many prominent entrepreneurs accumulated massive fortunes in those years. What others saw as insurmountable barriers, they saw as doorways to breakthrough.
I love this story (whether real or not!) that demonstrates this point:
Years ago, a large shoe company sent two sales reps out to different parts of Australia to see if they could drum up some business from the native Aborigines. One rep sent a message back to headquarters saying, “Waste of time, no business here… the Aborigines don’t wear shoes.” The other rep also sent a message, but said, “Send more troops, great business opportunity here! The Aborigines don’t have any shoes!”
If you are going to see God’s promises come to pass, you must have a promise perspective, and you must embrace your barriers as a doorway to breakthrough. This is often how God works.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
What’s that mean? God can turn any barrier into a doorway to breakthrough! So what open door of opportunity is God providing you with, wonderfully disguised in the form a big-time problem?
3. Believe That God Has the Final Say
Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Many people refer to that as a Yogism but I believe it’s a Godism. A powerful key to having a promise perspective is to realize that, in reality, God has the final say in every matter. Just ask Lazarus, the friend of Jesus who died after being ill.
The Bible says that Jesus loved the family of Lazarus and was very close to them. They called for Jesus to come and heal Lazarus, but He delayed; we now know He planned to do more than they asked for.
When Jesus and the disciples arrived, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days. Both Mary and Martha only saw the big problem – that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died.
Everyone had concluded that Lazarus’ situation and Mary and Martha’s circumstance was final, fixed in time and not subject to change. But Jesus had not spoken to Lazarus yet!
And when Jesus saw their lack of understanding, their lack of faith… He wept (John 11:35). It’s as if He was thinking… How can these people who I have a personal relationship with, how can My disciples, My friends and the family of Lazarus, who have been around Me, touched Me, held Me, laughed with Me, ate with Me, and fellowshipped with Me …not understand that, it ain’t over until I say it’s over!
So Jesus stood in front of the tomb and said, “Lazarus, come forth!” In other words, He said it ain’t over!
“And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go’” (John 11:44).
God also has the final say in your situation and over your barriers. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It doesn’t matter how final everyone says it is. And it doesn’t matter how big and bad the barriers are, it ain’t over till God says it’s over, because God always has the final say. Our job is to simply reject the problem perspective, focus on God, and maintain a promise perspective!
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/tommaso79
Frank Santora is Lead Pastor of Faith Church, a multi-site church with locations in Connecticut and New York. Pastor Frank hosts a weekly television show, “Destined to Win,” which airs weekly on the Hillsong Channel and TBN. He has authored thirteen books, including the most recent, Modern Day Psalms and Good Good Father. To learn more about Pastor Frank and this ministry, please visit www.franksantora.cc. Photo by Michele Roman.