I believe this is the decade of exponential increase in the manifestation of power for breakthrough to do what has never been done. Self-imposed limits are being removed. Too often, we are like the flea and baby elephant in the following illustrations.
The Flea – If you put fleas in a jar and place a lid on the jar, the fleas will learn to jump to the top just enough to avoid hitting the lid. You can then remove the lid and the fleas will not jump out even with the lid gone.
The Baby Elephant – In India, elephant trainers place a chain around a baby elephant’s leg attached to a three-foot iron stake which is driven into the ground. For several days, the baby elephant tries to free himself from the stake and chain but cannot. Soon, he is convinced by this experience that the three-foot stake and chain determine how much freedom he has. He no longer attempts to pull free. Ten years later, when the elephant is fully grown (weighing thousands of pounds and capable of uprooting trees or pulling a loaded railway car) he can still be held by a three-foot stake!
How can we get past the supposed lids on our lives?
- Realize the lid is already off – “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).
- Don’t get your beliefs from the past – We don’t deny the past, we just cannot get our beliefs from it. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, we are called to pull down strongholds and demolish arguments that are exalting themselves above the knowledge of God. If God is a God who makes all things new and with whom nothing is impossible, then our hopelessness about the future is an argument against the truth of who He is – we must pull it down. This agreement with negative past experience creates restrictive strongholds that create unnecessary lids on our lives.
- Step out of the boat – Peter took a risk and walked on water (Matthew 14:22-33). He found the walking on water lid was off by taking a risk and stepping out of the boat. He was not 100% successful, but he tried. Some have criticized the church I am part of because we recently had an extended time of praying for the resurrection of a baby who died, but I am very proud of our church for doing this. Often, new levels of breakthrough are on the other side of new levels of risk.
- Stop speaking self-limiting words – When God called Jeremiah to be a prophet, he said, “‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”’” (Jeremiah 1:6-7). Many reinforce imaginary lids because of false humility, an imbalanced desire to be authentic, and undisciplined speech.
- Memorize and meditate on these verses – Galatians 3:1-5, Mark 11:22-24, Joshua 1:8, Romans 6:11, 2 Peter 1:4, James 1:2; Proverbs 18:21, Hebrews 10:14.
- Develop a no-limits mindset – If God wanted us to think small and with limitations, he did a bad job of letting us know. He instead teaches us in the word that: a) all things are possible to believers (Mark 9:23), b) we will do greater works than Jesus (John 14:12), c) we can do all things (Philippians 4:13), and d) we can move mountains by speaking to them (Mark 11:23).
There is a Roger Bannister barrier-breaking forerunner inside all of us. Bannister was the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes in 1954. The experts had said it was impossible. They said there was a lid that prevented human beings from running that fast, despite training and multiple attempts. Amazingly, within three years of Bannister’s feat, ten others did it as well (and now over 1,400 people have run a sub-four-minute mile). When we break through self-imposed limitations, we show others that it’s possible to do the same.
Matthew 7:7 greatly contributes to the no-limits lifestyle.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
We cannot afford to be passive, but must activate the three levels of asking:
- Ask – Invite God’s supernatural strength, wisdom, and intervention into our lives and situations.
- Seek – Seek the solutions and beliefs that will bring hope and breakthrough. There is always a solution.
- Knock – Try different things (knock on different doors) to see which door opens for influence, key relationships, and breakthrough to manifest. The verse tells us that, if we knock on doors, THE door will open (not necessarily every door we knock on).
Hey, flea! The lid is off. You can leave the small container you are in. It’s time to go where you never thought you would go. It’s time to do what you never thought you would do. (Just don’t get on my dog, Duncan.)
For more on this message, listen to my podcast here.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.