Dave and I recently did a short Daniel fast. As we generally do when we are fasting, we had some specific situations and questions that we were putting before God - but rather than answers, we got an attitude. More often than not, I find this to be the fruit of fasting. Yes, over the years we have seen answers released and experienced breakthrough on the heels of a fast, but the most common occurrence is that God changes something within us. He gives us a new mindset, a posture of faith to stand in that causes us to approach our circumstances with a different spirit.
Caleb was a man who had a different spirit - and it's not just me saying that, God Himself said of him,
...My servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows after me wholeheartedly...
Forty-five years after Caleb had entered the promised land as a spy, he stood as an old man in front of the land that God had specifically promised to him, Hebron, and declared that he was just as ready now as he was back then as a young man, to possess what had been promised (Joshua 14). Decades of waiting did not deter him; did not make him lose sight of what God had declared. Just as the Israelite community had been unable to make him conform to their negative expectation for the future - even when they talked of stoning him, Caleb did not relent from professing that God was able to give them the land.
Caleb had been one of the 12 spies that Moses sent out to scout out the promised land. He had seen first-hand both its bounty and its obstacles, and along with Joshua, believed that they should and could, go and take possession of it. The other ten spies saw the very same land that Joshua and Caleb had. They acknowledged that the land was fruitful and blessed - that it was everything that God had promised them, but in their minds there were too many obstacles for them to be able to receive what He had promised. In other words, they doubted God's ability to deliver on His word.
The naysayers won out that day, convincing the Israelites that the land they had seen was not one of promise, but of impossibility.
"We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are... The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size... We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
The more they talked, the more the obstacles became bigger to them than God was. And as they focused on the obstacles, the truth became distorted. The land was no longer a land of milk and honey (13:27), but a land that would devour them; they were no longer God's people, but grasshoppers - small and insignificant.
When the spies spread their bad report, discouragement set in and the people wept thinking they would be better off to return to Egypt. They not only lost the ability to see what God wanted to do for them, they lost sight of what He had already done for them in setting them free from Egypt, and consequently a whole generation was disempowered and robbed of their inheritance.
Caleb and Joshua did not deny the obstacles, but they also didn't allow them to obscure their vision of God.
...do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.
For Caleb, the presence of God with them was greater than any problem he could face; he elevated who God is and what he had said above the obstacles This God-focus enabled him to see what was really happening - to see the 'real' facts, that those living in the land, intimidating as they might be, had no protection, but the Israelites did. They had God on their side. And because Caleb let God be his 'but' instead of his circumstances, he eventually possessed what God had promised him, in spite of much opposition and delay - this is the power of a different spirit.
It enables us to stand firm in God's promises
To see His perspective in the midst of our problems
To bless those who have wounded us
To praise instead of complain
A different spirit changes outcomes
When we choose to partner with God; to believe His Word above our circumstances, we invite His power, His light to break through the darkness. Our faith changes the atmosphere from one of despair, to one of hope and of expectation. Caleb's hope - his confident expectation of God's goodness and faithfulness - sustained him and kept him strong and vigorous until the day came for him to claim his land.
As Dave and I spent those days in prayer, rather than petitioning for answers, we found ourselves declaring blessing, prophesying God's Word over situations that had felt bleak and heavy to us in the preceding weeks. Heaven's possibilities became real to us and not just our attitudes, but the atmosphere that we were carrying into those situations shifted. God reminded us afresh of not just the importance, but the power of living with a different spirit.
Where in your life do you need to cultivate a 'different spirit'? To refuse to be dissuaded by circumstances that God is able to do what He has promised?
Don't allow your obstacles to distort the truth - let your expectation be one of 'but God...'
Live today with purpose,
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from the blogging team encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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