Have you ever heard the statement “You are what you think?” I have found this to be true. When I think I can’t, then I tend to fail or at least not be as successful as I could have been if I had thought, “I will succeed. I can do this.” So, repeating Philippians 4: 13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” has become my “positivity” verse.
Our thoughts can truly change things. They can either drain us of energy and enthusiasm, or they can empower us and encourage us. God has things for us to do and when we believe that we can do them, we end up doing God’s will. The payoff for Christians is that we have the joy of having pleased God and having accomplished his will. However, when negativity defeats us and we fail, the consequence is regret and guilt.
So, our attitude is crucial in living life successfully. How do we keep a faith-filled attitude that is positive?
Let me suggest a few things I’ve found helpful.
1) Avoid negative people. You can be full of positivity and yet when negative people are around you, it will drag you down. Sometimes I simply must avoid negative people. Some people are constant complainers. Nothing suits them. That attitude is contagious, and it will infect you if you let it. But the opposite is also true. If you want to be positive and encouraged, seek out positive and encouraging people. Their “can-do” attitude will rub off on you.
2) Change the subject. When I’m fighting negative, lustful, or discouraging thoughts, just telling myself not to think that way doesn’t work. It simply focuses me more on that. The key is to substitute something positive. For the Christian, this takes the form of thinking about Jesus and all that he did and said. You can’t get more positive than that because the Bible says that Jesus always went about doing good.
“For we take every thought captive to Christ.” --2 Corinthians 10: 5
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” –Philippians 4: 8
The more I think about Jesus, the more my mind becomes Christ-centered and positive. Jesus said to his disciples, “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done.” --John 13: 15 Focus on Jesus.
3) Pray for help. Sometimes our thought patterns are so ingrained and habitual that we are powerless to change them. Only God through his Spirit can change them. So, we pray and ask God to change our thoughts.
The Bible speaks to this when it says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” --2 Corinthians 10: 4 Strongholds are bad habits. And we must use God’s power to destroy them. So, we pray, “Lord, break the stronghold of my negative thoughts.” You will be amazed how quickly God answers that prayer. He cares about your thought life and wants it to be a positive influence on your attitudes and actions.
The real battleground is our minds. God wants us to win that battle with good, faith-filled and positive thoughts. Let’s fight hard against negative thoughts and ask God to help us.
--Ken Shick, Interim Pastor