It can be easy to dwell on the negative circumstances that happen from day to day. “The nerve!”, I might say for people who cause offense. “Now what?” to yet one more demonstration of Murphy’s Law. The list can go on.
The mind is the seat for transformation. What we dwell on has the power to drive us. What we think of repeatedly can occupy, reside in, fill up our minds and plants seeds in our hearts. It bears fruit through our words and actions. The more we think of the negative, the closer we get to becoming nega-stars.
Romans 12:2 tells us how renewing the mind can transform us: “Do not conform any longer 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.” When temptation to remember the negative arises, we can meditate on God’s truths… how he is greater than our circumstances, feelings, and other people’s actions; how he is sovereign and is at work for the good of those who love him. Even annoying delays to get to work could actually be a mighty sparing from a mishap. The bigger picture will point out that whatever is happening, God allowed it, through the filter of his love and kindness. An immunization for tetanus is so stinging and expensive but it is better than getting infected with tetanus itself. Many things we will not know the answers of right now or on this side of heaven. We can ask God much later. In the meantime, may God strengthen you and me so that we will not be consumed nor ruled by the negative goings-on around us. May we not stumble. May we finish well. Many years later, the circumstances today will be a memory and we will be able to look at them more dispassionately and with wider understanding… perhaps even appreciation.
When I hear myself speaking unworthy words, I know that I have muck in my heart that needs a good general cleaning and confession. How many times I have encountered this verse in this season’s life episode: Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. (Jer 15:19). I need a spiritual prophylaxis to cleanse my mouth. Matthew 15:11 says: “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of hismouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’”
Luke 6:45 is a reminder that the root of unworthy words is what we store in our hearts, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Paul gives us this apt exhortation (notice it only asks us to think about the positive and not the negative: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Phil 4:8)
Lord, apart from your Spirit, I walk my own way and brew negativi-tea. Please wash, renew my mind and heart through your word according to your way. Help me to utter only worthy words that are becoming for your child. Teach me how not to be a negastar in Jesus’s name amen.
SONG: THINK ABOUT IT