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3 Steps to Overcoming Limiting Beliefs

Limiting Beliefs

     Whenever you see God’s people struggling, as you read the scriptures, it is usually because of their lack of faith!  We all have beliefs that limit us.  Matt 19:26 says, “But Jesus looked at them and said, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (HCSB)  These limiting beliefs exist in our heads because we have chosen to look outward in fear at our situation instead of looking upward in faith at our Savior.  Michael Hyatt teaches that there are basically three areas these limiting beliefs impact our lives.

     First, we have limiting beliefs about ourselves.  This is where we say , “I could never ______________!”  You fill in that blank.  Second, we have limiting beliefs about other people.  This is where we say, “I’m never gonna trust anyone ever again because _____________!”  Once again you fill in the blank.  In Limitless Life Derwin Gray says, “When you and I focus on how we’ve been done wrong, we do not focus on how we’ve been done right by Jesus!”

  Michael Hyatt says this, “Nothing can screw up your future like getting stuck in the past.”  Did you know the only place the past still exists is in your mind?  A recent quote I saw, not sure where it came from, said, “Your future does not equal your past.”   We must move past our memories of grief, grudges, and even past glory.  The apostle Paul challenges us to forget those things that are behind and press forward.

     The third limiting belief is about the world we live in.  We recognize it when we say things like, “Well what do you expect these are the last days!”  “There’s nothing we can do about it!”  Please don’t forget about I JN 4:4 which says, “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (HCSB)  We must realize that “all things are possible through God!”  People aren’t holding you back nor are your finances holding you back.  Your job isn’t holding you back nor are your circumstances holding you back!  What is holding us back is our lack of faith!

     Tony Evans says it this way, “Faith is acting like it is so even when it is not so in order that it may be so simply because God said so.”  JN 14:13-14 says, “Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name,  I will do it.”  This is not a name it and claim it theology but is based upon two truths that determine how our prayers are answered.  Does it further God’s kingdom (in my name) and does it glorify Him?

     Does your church believe what Jesus said regardless of what has happened in the past or what has not happened?  Do you believe what Jesus said, regardless of what limiting believes are swirling in your head, about yourself, others, and the world?  We must be willing to wait in prayer with a “disciplined refusal” to move forward or act before God acts.  But we must also be willing to step out in obedient faith when God says go.  What is it God is wanting to do in your church and through your church?

     What should we as a church do to move forward in faith?  First, write out your core values!  What you value determines what you do!  If you say you value people who do not know God and are far from Him, then you will be doing something about reaching them with the gospel!  The problem is that we are long on talk and short on action!  If you say you value lost people but never share your faith then you really do not value them.  You cannot keep doing the same things (or not doing) and expect to get different results.

     Second, make new goals.  Have you as a church sat down and written out what you are asking God to do through your ministry?  Have you written out your own personal goals?  Research tells us that just writing down your goals means there is a 42% greater chance they will happen!  But they also must have a deadline.  Dave Ramsey says, “A goal without a deadline is just a dream!” 

     Third, ask God to do it!  Will the goals you feel God has laid upon your heart and your church further His kingdom and will they glorify Him?  James reminds us in God’s word that we have not because we ask not!  Are you asking God to redeem and save your neighbor, friend, co-worker, or family member? Are you asking God to do above and beyond anything you could ask or think according to His power not your limiting beliefs?

     Healthy churches refuse to allow limiting beliefs to keep them from moving forward in obedient faith!

WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSED ON?

fOCUS ON fUTURE

Is your church focused on the past, the present, or the future?  When churches first begin they seem to be focused on the future and have visionary leaders who are risk-takers.  After the church begins to settle in and become comfortable they have a focus on the present congregation.  The status-quo sneaks up on them and the leadership becomes care-givers.  Some where along the life-cycle of the church the members begin talking about the good ole’ days and their focus is now on the past.  They want things to return to how they use to be but the reality is that nostalgia has sugar coated how it really was.  If this congregation is not careful the leadership will become undertakers and the church will die as the older members graduate to heaven.

First, are you focused on the future?  Visionary leaders will not trade off what is better for the future for what is easier in the present.  Visionary leaders have discerned God’s will for their church and they are fully committed to carrying it out.  They are like Joshua and Caleb who saw the obstacles in the promised just like the other ten spies but choose to believe God would help them to be overcomers.  Visionary leaders have a resolve to be true to God’s direction even though their are skeptics, naysayers, doubters, and even enemies to the vision God has given them.  They are like Paul who said in I Cor 16:9, “because a wide door for effective ministry has opened for me —yet many oppose me.”  There will always be opposition but visionary leaders are determined to love people while being obedient to the vision God has given them for their church.

Churches focused on the future have a vision to impact their communities with the gospel.  Their priority is the Great Commission and living by the Great Commandment.  They are not just focused on gathering but scattering to be salt and light in their neighborhoods.   They realize that every member is called to live as a missionary in their zip code.  They are not afraid to experiment and try new things as long as the gospel is presented clearly and biblically.  The church focused on the future has leadership who invest a lot of time and energy in pursuing God’s vision with an expectation that He will in fact guide them.  They practice a high-risk faith!

Second, are you focused on the present?  Things were going so well, at one time, that the temptation and desire was to freeze time.  The eventual outcome was turning innovation, in the beginning, into the traditions of tomorrow.  Habits became routines and unfortunately people began to just go through the motions.  The church of the present becomes very good at “doing church” but forgets about being the church.  The church of the “present” has a solid congregation with solid finances.  They have good programs, good staff, and very nice facilities.  Unfortunately, many become focused on their rights as members and a sense of entitlement begins to permeate though the congregation instead of a spirit of enlistment into service.  The church of the present becomes program-driven and no one is allowed to monkey with the machinery of the ministry already set in motion.

Churches focused on the present give priority to who is already there It has been said well, “In reach has its own voice, but outreach needs an advocate!”  Whenever a church begins to ignore its community it will ultimately find itself plateauing and eventually one  the backside of the life-cycle.  many times because of multiple ministries there are multiple visions and core values trying to co-exist.  The main focus becomes the programs and filling the positions needed to make sure that the machinery chugs along.  These leaders are totally committed to following God but are also committed to guarding and protecting what is “proven” and true.  They practice a low-risk faith!

Third, are you a church that is focused on the past?  This church talks about the glory days when Bro So-and-So was here.  The vision to penetrate the culture and impact their community is gone.  They have become slaves to the programs that were once effective and served a wonderful purpose in their day.  They are unwilling to change anything because that would mean admitting their mistakes and having to make some very hard decisions.  Churches focused on the past are overly fascinated with organizational charts, committee meetings, budgets, and business meetings.  Future-oriented churches are vision-driven.  Present-oriented churches are program-driven.  Past-oriented churches are structure-driven.  There is nothing “wrong” with many of the things they are doing but the structure becomes all-consuming!

These leaders desire to go back to some former time in the church.  The innovations of their former glory days became the traditions of the present day church but then became legalism.  While vision-driven churches are focused on the community and the program-driven churches are focused on the congregation the structure-driven church becomes consumed with the core.  One church consultant makes this observation, “Key influencers in this core often prove to be barriers to growth as they remain entrenched in their authority and hold the congregation hostage by means of authority and influence.”  This church practices a no-risk faith!

Healthy churches are future-focused, vision-driven, community-focused, and practice a high-risk faith!