Nothing . . . absolutely nothing is ever accomplished through negativity!
And yes, I said that negatively.
It’s easy for us to see what’s wrong, isn’t it?
It’s easy to make a list of flaws and faults we see in our neighbors, at church, at work, at our kid’s school, in our community and our nation … and yes, even in the people with whom we live.
It’s just so easy to see and point out what’s wrong in the world, in people, in life.
If only everyone would just see things my way. Right?!
But I want to stop for a minute and imagine what might happen if we all made a sincere effort to change our thoughts.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8
I like how the Amplified Bible expands on it…
Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].(AMP)
The chapter begins with Paul’s appeal to Euodia and Syntyche to stop their bickering because it was starting to affect the unity of the church. People were taking sides.
So Paul says, rather than disagreeing…
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4–7
Change your focus. Change your thinking.
Can you imagine…
The truth is whatever we consistently think about will eventually come out in our words and action.
So changing our thoughts to the true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable things of God will inevitably help us interact with each other more positively.
If you and I really want to make things better. If we want to do more than just be negative. If we’re hoping to make a positive impact in ways that will glorify God, we need a positive thinking plan.
How to Have a Positive Thinking Plan that will Bless Your Life
1. Choose carefully the things you allow in your head.
If you and I are going to know what is “true and honorable and right and pure,” we need to know how God defines those things.
So, I want to take His Word into my heart and mind. And I also want to wisely choose what I watch and read and listen to.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2
2. Walk away from all online or in-person “ain’t it awful” groupthink.
Online – Take a break from social media or block the commenters who are always negative and confrontational. In person – Invite a complainer to tell you what they would do to make the situation better. If that doesn’t work change the subject or walk away.
Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.Colossians 4:6
3. Set positive goals and work toward accomplishing them.
What are you passionate about? What makes your heart beat faster? Invest your time in finding ways to pursue your passion and set achievable goals. I promise the fastest way to stop being negative is to pursue what you love.
My friend, Marva, wrote a wonderful post that will help you set your goals and she added 5 steps that will actually help you achieve them.
4. Talk about your goals, hopes, and dreams for the future.
Are you crazy about your family? Do you love music, art, gardening, decorating, cooking, or all the above? Talk about what you love. Do you love Jesus? Tell someone. Share your enthusiasm and let the people in your life join in the fun.
I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.Psalm 40:10
5. Praise and encourage the positive things you see in others.
Ask your friends about their hopes and dreams. Lift them up. Get excited about the possibilities with them and cheer on their efforts. Pray for them and with them. Be a cheerleader and encourager.
Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.Ephesians 4:29
6. Do something kind for someone.
Busy people don’t have time to complain and they say being kind to others makes you happy, too. That sounds like a bonus to me!
I wrote a post about the ways being kind is good for you because I wondered … what if kindness matters most when it’s hardest to give?
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.Ephesians 4:31–32
7. Talk online and in-person about the good things you see people doing.
It’s just so easy to click on the like and share buttons. What if we stopped passing along all the negative stuff?
If you’re looking for something to post online . . . find a good news story or a funny picture or video. And click that like button on things that qualify under the “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable things of God” category.
Have you visited the #WWGGG – What Would Give God Glory? Page on Facebook, yet? I’d love for you to join the movement! We’re sharing stories of the ways we can change the world (and ourselves) one God-glorifying moment at a time.
8. Pray about the good, bad, and ugly! Ask God to show Himself strong in life’s messiness.
God is on His throne and He’s well aware of the messiness of our lives. I’m making it a goal to pray more and complain less. I want to take Him every fear and frustration, each concern and care to Him.
He is sovereign and more than able to accomplish His will. Because I want to give God glory with my life, I’m praying and asking Him to help me align my life with His will, to be willing to wait on His timing, and follow His Spirit’s direction as He reveals it.
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”Mark 12:29–31
9. Listen to different points of view, you might learn something.
If someone is respectfully sharing their opinion, even if you don’t agree, be kind and listen. Shutting down ideas with which we disagree doesn’t help anyone. And who knows . . . they might return the favor and listen to you.
“Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.” ~Anonymous
10. Finally – Before you complain about something you can’t change, do something to change what you can!
There are ministries that need our help. Groups that need your specific gifts and abilities. People who need your prayers. There is so much to do . . . why would we waste our time and energy complaining about something we can do nothing about!
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ~ John Wesley
That’s my list...
I still believe it’s possible for God’s people, with God’s help, to positively change themselves and make a difference in the lives God touches through them.
But it all begins with the Lord who loves the people He created so much He chose to give up everything including His very life, to save them and give them a better way to live.
A positive way to live!
And I believe that because of His love, He wants us to have a “positive thinking plan!” A plan that will bless us, the people around us, and maybe … just maybe the world at large!
Because when you and I focus on His positive and live for His glory amazing and wonderful things happen.
I can’t wait to hear about the positive things God is doing in, through, and around you!
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