“Of the twelve who had explored the land, only Joshua and Caleb remained alive.” - Numbers 14:38
Lt. Col Jimmy Doolittle led the raid on Japan in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the movie Pearl Harbor, he gives us this powerful quote, “victory belongs to those who believe in it the most and believe in it the longest. We’re gonna believe.” He believed in this principle and he was willing to show everybody else by being the first to take off from the short flight deck.
Belief is a powerful force. It is so powerful that God reminds us time and time again to trust in His promises and His power even when the situations we're facing seem impossible. Even when the obstacles seem too big to overcome.
Every team needs positive players and optimistic coaches who have an unwavering belief – belief that they will fulfill their potential, belief in each other, and belief that they can overcome adversity. In fact, every family and organization needs that. When doubt and a lack of belief creep in it fuels fear, negativity and complaining. It sucks the energy and can-do spirit right out of the room. Doubt also divides the locker room. If you’ve ever been in a locker room, you know what I’m talking about. Negativity spreads like wildfire!
In the book of Numbers (chapters 13-14), we find the story of Moses and the Israelites as they are preparing to enter the Promised Land. They were delivered from 400 years of slavery and oppression and Moses sent out 12 spies to scout out the land. Ten came back with a negative report based in fear. Two came back with a positive report rooted in faith. The Positive Two, Joshua and Caleb, remembered God’s promise and his mighty power to save and deliver his people. They had a different attitude than the other ten (Hebrews 14:24).
In the end, the ten negative complainers were struck down with a plague and died immediately and the entire rest of that generation wandered around until they died just short of experiencing God’s promise. The faithful, positive two along with a new generation entered the promised land – the land flowing with milk and honey.
Faith and fear are very similar in some ways. They are like the opposite sides of the same coin. Faith has a positive expectation about the future. It believes that no matter how tough or challenging or disappointing things are right now, it will get better. Faith believes that the best is yet to come even when there may be very little current evidence to support that belief. Faith is a certainty about how the story ends and an unshakable belief that God works all things together for good for those who love him (Hebrews 11:1, Romans 8:28). Fear, on the other hand, has a negative expectation about the future. It is filled with anxiety, worry, doubt, and dread. Fear gives momentum to negativity and causes complaining and murmuring to grow. It is like a cancer and spreads like wildfire.
Keeping a positive attitude and remaining optimistic takes work; it is a mental battle. We all have to fight our own battle. God gives us the tools in scripture and even goes so far as to make a list of the things we need to set our minds on and fill our heads with.
“Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Phil 4:8
You can listen to one of two voices – the “negative critic” or the “positive coach.” It is up to you. The negative critic ignores what is possible and instead focuses on the problems. He tells you all the reasons you can’t or won’t and tells you lies that you’re not good enough or you’ll fail. He always brings up your past mistakes so you will shrink back from the challenge. Then he gets you to start playing the blame game and making excuses. The negative critic is usually the loudest voice.
The positive coach focuses on the power and promises of God and confronts the challenge head on! He speaks words of life and encouragement and infuses you with a can-do spirit. It reminds you that God is strongest when you feel the weakest, that nothing is impossible for those who believe. When you hear the negative report from the naysayers, make sure they can hear your positive voice loud and clear!
Let’s be the Positive Two. Let’s rest on the promises in God’s Word and rely on His great power over our circumstances. And let’s take action in the face of our fears.
Jimmy Page serves as the Divisional Vice President for the West for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As a 20-year leader in health care, he and his wife are co-founders of an innovative cancer foundation, Believe Big. Page is the author of several books and speaks for companies, teams, schools and non-profits around the world. Follow him @jimmypage37 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org