It’s Time To Be Thankful!
“It’s is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to His name, O Most High. (Psalm 92:1)
Why is it so easy to accept and entertain negative thoughts as opposed to positive ones? Why is it so hard to give thanks to God even in the midst of the storm, as opposed to dwelling on the storm itself? I find it surprising, though I shouldn’t, how much we do this. How easily we seem to hone in on anything negative in a situation and not even consider anything positive that came from it or be thankful to God for the positive. It seems as though our eyes are fixed, or trained, to quickly look for the negative and not the positive. This reminds me of a saying or concept I’ve heard several times of how one hundred people can like us, but that one person who doesn’t, we tend to focus on that one and forget about the hundred.
It’s too easy to become comfortable living in a negative state of mind. This is where we have to realize we are not being fed good nourishment. It’s junk food and we must realize the enemy is the one who feeds it too us until we take a hold of that spoon and begin to feed it to ourselves. What do we feed ourselves? Thoughts such as the following:
- “I will never get better”
- “I will always be treated this way”
- “Nobody cares about me”
- “Why should I even bother trying anymore”
- “I’ve prayed and prayed but God isn’t helping me”
- “I’m not good enough”
- “He/she hurt me and I will not forgive them”
- “He/she didn’t talk to me so I’m not talking to them”
- “God doesn’t care”
1 Corinthians 10:3-5 states the following:
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
We are carnal people. We tend to speak and react according to our flesh. But here Paul is telling us that though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. We are not to respond the same way others negatively talk to us or act towards us. When someone speaks badly about you, you are not to respond the same way to them. When someone treats you badly, you are not to return the favor. When negative, bitter thoughts hit your mind, you are not to entertain them and consume them but instead you are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. You are to recognize it’s a thought that is not from God and if it’s not from God, then it has to go. You must surrender it over to Him. We are then to handle each situation according to how Christ tells us to handle it through His Word. We do not fight with the weapons of the world which are things like manipulation, smooth words, negativity, tearing down of others, lording our authority over others, and with human schemes. Instead we utilize our armor of God…the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit.
We have a choice either to allow the negative words or actions, be it from ourselves or others, to consume us or to get rid of them. Here is what we must remember…the enemy seeks to steal every ounce of glory from God. He knows we are not going to glorify him (satan) outright, so he schemes and deceives us into glorifying him through our negative thoughts and actions because these are his ways, his characteristics. The more we think negative about ourselves and others, the less we give thanks to God, even during our trials and difficulties. This is where we must change our course of action, utilizing our armor and renewing our minds as it states in Romans 12:2:
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We have to realize that there will always be something negative about people or situations, but in order not to be consumed by it, we must re-shift our focus to God and give Him thanks for what He will be doing or what He has already done. We must remind ourselves that God is working on our behalf though we may not see it at this time. We must be careful not to allow our negative attitude to set the pattern for our lives or we risk being miserable for the rest of our lives.
How do you overcome the negative thoughts and actions from yourself or others?
First you have to recognize it as soon as it hits and take the thoughts captive. This means you must quickly realize the negative thought for what it is and make a decision not to entertain it.
Then you must bring it to the Lord in prayer, asking Him not only to take the negative thought from you and to bring healing but to help you break this pattern of thought that has become a part of your life and to replace it with more godly or positive thoughts.
You must then combat the thoughts with scripture, which is your sword of the spirit. Below are examples of negative thoughts and scripture to use:
- Negative thoughts about your looks – Psalm 139:13-14 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
- Anxious thoughts – Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Fearful thoughts – Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Worried thoughts that you will never be healed – James 5:15 – And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
Do not be alarmed if the thoughts come back multiple times. When Jesus was in the desert, He had to combat the enemy with scripture multiple times. We must be prepared to do the same.
Make today the day you turn the tables and begin giving thanks to God for everything, big and small, that He has done, is doing and will continue to do in your life. Ask Him to help you to focus on the positive things He is doing and not on the negative things you currently see. This doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to things that are wrong. There are times we must speak up when something wrong is happening. What it means is that we will not allow bitter, angry and worried thoughts to consume us, turning us bitter and negative. When we re-shift our focus and look for the positive, we will find the positive. Change your spiritual diet from junk thoughts to healthy thoughts. Once you do this, you will begin to see the results…a healthier you.