October/November 2017 - Vol. 94

 see ourselves as Christ sees us
Negativity: The Enemy of the Full Life in God
by Tom Caballes

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- Philippians 4:8 ESV
One of the consequences of human fallenness is our susceptibility to lies, suspicions, discouragement, hopelessness, and negativity. We easily doubt the motives of the people around us, and we judge them quickly. We easily get discouraged when things do not go our way. It is very convenient for us to be selfish and seek our own plans rather than to keep the unity of the body of Christ. But Jesus came to give us life in its abundance [John 10:10]. God wants us to get rid of negativity in our lives, which, if we allow to grow in its fullness, will bring death. Negativity keeps us spiritually stunted. It is a tool which the enemy uses to put us down and keep us down and prevent us from being fruitful sons and daughters of the Most High.

So How Do You Avoid Negativity in Life?

  1. Have a realistic and balanced approach to life. There will always be some bad in the good, and there will always be some good in the bad things we face and experience. God works for the good for those who love Him [Romans 8:28], so even in seemingly hopeless situations, look for the silver lining in life.
  2. Avoid the habit of judging people – especially their motives. You are not their judge, but God is; you need to give people the benefit of the doubt and not assume the negative motive behind an act.
  3. You need to grow in your own self-image: yes, we are weak, sinful, and ‘bad’ – but God loves us; Jesus died for every one of us. You should see yourself based on how God sees you, and not how the society does. You have value, purpose and meaning because God deeply cares for and appreciates you!
  4. You always have a choice of having a negative or positive outlook on any situation – choose to be positive - in consideration with reality. As Philippians 4:8 says, your mind should be filled with things that are holy, lovely, pure, and honourable. The battle is in your mind – choose the positive view of life.
  5. Do everything to preserve the unity in Christ – in your marriage, family, and community. It will not be easy or convenient; there is a price to you to pay – your ego, your pride, and your self-centredness. When you see people’s failures and weaknesses, remind yourself of your own failures and weaknesses!
  6. Truth can be found in the Word of God - you need to grow in wisdom with God’s word so you can know the lies of the enemy. Your mind needs to be transformed so you can know God’s will for you – see Romans 12:2. The battle is in your mind – choose to live and abide by the truth and not by the lies.
  7. Be wary of negative people - they can bring you down. Choose to associate with positive people.
  8. Finally, have a positive outlook on life no matter what – because you are on the winning side! God is with you, Jesus is your Lord, you live by the power of the Holy Spirit, and you will inherit heaven one day. You may not be on top of the world in this life, but you have on your horizon a life eternal with God – one with no death, death, crying and pain – for eternity! How much more positive can you get with that?
Other Scripture passages:
  1. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2 ESV]
  2. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:4-7 ESV]
  3. Other references: Ephesians 1:3-4; Ephesians 4:1-3; and Galatians 6:9-10.
For personal reflection or group sharing
  1. Is negativity a regular thinking pattern for you? How can you slowly unlearn it?
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.

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