Monday, August 10, 2015

How to Stay Positive

How to stay positive in a negative world

I am sure that all of us have met folks that always seemed to be very positive. They seemed to always be smiling. They always had nice things to say and positive words of encouragement. Those dear people are rather rare. On the opposite side of the fence are the folks that seem to live on a diet of lemons and bitter roots. It is difficult for them to smile, it might even hurt. To get a kind or encouraging word from them is near impossible. They seem to thrive on negativity and discouragement.

I suppose that most of us seem to dwell somewhere in the middle, depending on the day of the week and what side of the bed we got out of. It is difficult for some of us to be positive when we are suffering physical discomfort or pain. The same is true if we are suffering from a depressed spirit, overcome by anxieties or anyone of a million stresses in life. Trying to be positive in our world is tough.

How do we stay positive in the church? Well, we do know the end of the story. One day the Lord Jesus Christ is going to establish His kingdom. That is going to happen. He said it would take place and I for one believe Him. The Christ Followers will reign for eternity and love and righteousness will be the norm of the kingdom.

But, what about now?  How do we stay positive in the church when things aren’t going right? How do we look on the bright side when people want to rain on our parade? Our attitude is probably the single most important weapon that we have. With a bad attitude I can criticize and destroy. I can pour cold water on every idea and find fault with every plan. With a positive attitude I can find the best in every person I deal with. I can encourage my friends that seem down.

How do I cultivate a positive attitude? The first thing is to face the fact that at times I have a bad attitude. Once I do that I can look for ways to cultivate a positive attitude. At this point I want to draw our attention to words that always strike home, words from the Bible.

Eugene Peterson’s Message Bible has this advice taken from the book of Philippians the fourth chapter. “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your mind and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.”

I am responsible for my attitude. I can make excuses, but that is all they are. I can blame other people, doesn’t change a thing. I am the only one responsible for my attitude. How my attitude impacts my family, friends and my church is huge. Build up, or tear down. Be a sour puss or an encourager; it is entirely up to me.

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