The spies, sent to search out the Promised Land, could be likened to a Baptist committee. Instead of looking to God's promises, they fed on one another's perception of the impossibility before them—conquering the land God had promised. God's great works have not come through committees but through leaders who were totally surrendered to Him. While ten of the twelve committee members were fearful of the giants and battle, Joshua fixed his focus on God. He had the pure vision to focus on God's clearly revealed will rather than on the obstacles to fulfilling it. "And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us. a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land. for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel."—NUMBERS 14:6–10 A pattern oft repeated in the lives of leaders who make a difference is the opposition that comes as they edge closer to being used of God. It's as if the devil senses the potential for God's power to flow through their surrendered lives and plants doubts in their minds and accusations in the minds of others. "You're not good enough," "You can't do it," "You'll never see people saved," "It can't be done," "No one wants to hear what you have to say"—these thoughts are common darts of discouragement the devil hurls at leaders. The person who places confidence in personal ability, education, friendships, allegiances, or alliances, will fail indeed. But while there will always be the naysayers who insist that God's will cannot be done, a Spirit-filled leader will place his confidence solely in God Almighty and press forward. Joshua knew the victory would not come through his sword, his ingenuity, or his military skill. But he also knew that if God was in it, God would do it. This knowledge gave him the confidence to insist, against the voice of his peers, "If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us" (Numbers 14:8). In a world of ideals, such leadership would be appreciated and readily followed. But the results in Joshua's life were not quite so rosy. For believing God and trying to lead others to do the same, Joshua became a target. The people wanted to take the life of this faith-filled man of God! If you will be a spiritual leader where you work—a man of God who doesn't laugh at improper jokes or join in ungodly conversation—if you will be distinct and stand for what is right, not everyone will applaud. You may be mocked, criticized, and ostracized. Standing for Christ may be difficult at times, but it does make a difference. Like Joshua, we must understand the importance of vision and be willing to make sacrifices to lead others. For "where there is no vision, the people perish…" (Proverbs 29:18).
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Author: Paul Chappell