What a joy it is to be around somebody who is always groaning and bellyaching about something! NOT. We all grow weary of family members, friends or neighbors who consistently berate and tear others down! How about it, do you live with a nagging, bashing and sour soul who is miserable and makes life equally miserable for those around them? I bet you have somebody in mind right about now😊.
Negativity is nothing new. Since God first told Adam and Eve to pack up and get the Heaven out of the garden, life has been difficult to say the least and we have been complaining about it ever since (Genesis 3:23). It is the nature of humans to live for themselves and to complain when our desires are not being met (Galatians 5:19–20). We tend to argue for our “rights,” demand our way, and oppose anyone who disagrees with us.
God’s people are often just as guilty of negativity and grumbling as those who do not know God. We often forget Jesus’s words, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Christians can counter the doom-and-gloom mentality with a gentle, loving, faith-filled approach to life (Ephesians 4:32; 1 John 5:14). We can refuse to be caught up in the hopelessness and me-first mentality that is all so normal in the world (Philippians 2:14–15). We can offer light in the darkness!
Jesus gave us a glimpse into that better life. First Timothy 4:12 tells us to “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” But, how do we do that in practical ways?
Here’s a few ideas that we might consider after we’ve spent some time in the Word taking a deeper look at negativity from God’s perspective! Here are a few practical things for us to practice.
- Stay away from negative people
- Don’t satisfy others solely for the purpose of feeling good and getting people off your back
- Don’t get angry when you have a bad day and mess up
- Keep an open mind
- Resist negative ideas
- Make your own decisions
- Celebrate the good things that happen to you
- Avoid toxic intellectual information
- Talk to a friend
Chronic negative thinking, depression, anxiety, and similar disorders are on the rise all over the world. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults in the U.S. are affected by this malady. Fear seems to be a root cause of many of these problems. It’s no wonder people are fearful in a world where it appears nothing is reliable.
The struggle against negative thinking is a battle for the mind. The apostle Paul tells believers what to think about: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Besides defining what thoughts should fill our minds, this text implicitly teaches that we can control what we think about. When a negative thought comes, the thinker who has the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) has the ability to push it out of the mind and replace it with pure and wholesome thoughts. As long as Christians live in a fearful, stressful world, negative thoughts will come. We have the option of either stamping out those thoughts or nurturing them. Don’t welcome and/or embrace negative thinking today!
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