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One of my minor heroes in life has been an Englishman named Roger Bannister. When Roger was young, he was severely burned in a fire. Doctors told his parents that he would probably never walk again. Not only did he walk but he also began to run. Not only did he run, but also he became a world-class runner in college. Bannister competed   during an era when running a mile in under four-minutes was a dream that seemed impossible. In fact, doctors and scientists believed that the human body was not capable of such speed over that distance and believed that anyone who actually broke the mark would suffer irreparable damage to his body. But on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister did what most believed was impossible. He ran the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.   Within three years, sixteen other individuals had broken the four-minute barrier. So what happened? Did mankind suddenly make a spontaneous evolutionary jump? No. A change in perception is what made the difference. When one man broke the barrier, others suddenly believed that they could do that as well. Through the centuries, psychological barriers have proven to be more formidable that physical barriers.


Jesus said, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours(Mk. 11:2-24).


Often, we believe that great changes are made when large numbers of people begin to act or think in certain ways. But every movement has been given impetus by one person who did what others would not do or believed they could not do. God is looking for those individuals, men and women, who will step out and do what others have believed to be impossible. When they do, other believers will follow.


The story of David illustrates the principle. As you recall, Israel and Philistia had gone to war. Each army encamped along the hillsides on either side of a valley. Each day, a nine foot “giant” named Goliath would come out to challenge the army of Israel calling for someone to step out and face him man to man. Every day for forty days, Goliath issued the challenge. Not one man would take him up on his dare. Clearly, the entire army of Israel believed that defeating Goliath was impossible.


Then one afternoon, David was sent by his father Jessie to check on his brothers and to see how the battle was going. David witnessed Goliath’s taunts and offered to face the giant himself. He offered because he believed that God makes all things possible. Although the experienced soldiers in the army of Israel tried to convince David that he could not win against such an imposing figure, David ignored them and the rest is history. David charged Goliath was a sling and dropped the giant with one stone. He then proceeded to take Goliath’s own sword and cut off his head for good measure. Suddenly, the entire Israeli army that had shown no taste for battle for forty days charged the Philistine army and won a great victory. When one man, by faith, broke a spiritual barrier others had considered impossible, they suddenly had faith for their own victory.


Later, David gathered a number of men around him that were referred to as David’s mighty men. These thirty or so men accomplished great, almost impossible deeds on their own including one of them killing a large Egyptian about the size of Goliath (See 2 Sam. 23, 1 Chron.11-12). I suspect that David’s faith and his willingness to do what others would not do inspired those who followed him.


I believe, God is looking for “Davids” and “spiritual Roger Bannisters” in every generation who, by faith, will do what Jesus did and even greater things. When one does, others will suddenly have the faith and a whole generation will follow. We should ask God to make us that person for our family, our church, our fellowship and the kingdom of God. Faith is about breaking psychological barriers that reason against what God says is true and possible. Jesus walked on water by faith. He stilled storms by faith. He healed the sick raised the dead in the same way. He asks us to believe that through him we can shatter barriers. When by faith and tenacity one believer breaks the barrier, others will quickly follow. So what is your four-minute mile? What spiritual barrier will you overcome so that others will follow? Ask God to show you.





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