Scripture Passage: Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.”
Have you even noticed that it’s SO much easier dwelling on the negative instead of the positive and how we let negative things influence us more than the positive things? Looking at the research, I found that for married couples, spouses need 5 positive words to cancel the effect of one negative word. For employees, they need 6 positive pieces of feedback for every one negative review. For customers, they need 40 positive reviews to overcome one negative review. I found this to be true for me. I can hold on to a negative comment someone made about me for a long time. On the flip side, positive comments made about me are very short lived, if they are received at all! If it’s also true for you, God wants this to change. He started to do this in my life by asking me a question - “can you reverse this trend?” I understood what He meant by this. God was asking me to spend as much time letting the positive things in my life stew for a long period as I did with the negative things. Then let the negative things be short lived, if they are received at all, like I was doing with the positive things that came into my life. Earlier in this same chapter Paul commands us to “rejoice in the Lord” and not to be anxious about anything. This is an admonition we see throughout the bible - focus on what God is doing and redeeming, not on what He hasn’t done yet. We need to keep our eyes set on what is producing joy, peace and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit found in Gal. 5:22-23. Some of this is a trust issue. Do I believe that God will take care of my other concerns and people in my life that are producing negative fruit without me trying to control them? If we spend our energy focusing on what God is doing and has done, will everything work out in the end? I believe the answer to that is “YES!” We need to demonstrate trust and faith in our lives if we want to see and experience more of the fruit of the Spirit. More love. More joy. More peace. More patience.
1. In your relationships (marriage, with your children, with your parents, with your co-workers), ask the Lord what positive, encouraging, loving thing you can say to them each day. Once a day, say something positive to them. Put Phil 4:8 into practice.
2. Start each day by asking God what you can be joyful about. Sit with that thought and praise God for several minutes about what He brings to mind. It’s so easy to think of the things we are stressed out about and what’s not right. Reverse the trend. Let God take care of the negative. Our job is to recognize and receive the positive things He is doing.
3. For yourself, focus on who you are in Christ, not on who you are not. The enemy will want your focus to be on what is lacking, what needs work, or what isn’t right about you. God wants you to focus on what He’s done in you and will do through you. We need to unlock who we really are. Most Christians, including myself, have no idea of the full extent of who we are in Christ.
4. Ask God how He sees you. Then start believing and acting like it’s true about you. Start acting like a child of the King. Start believing that you have power and authority. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t limit God. Begin stepping out in faith based on who He says you are, not what others say about you or what you might (falsely) believe about yourself.
If you are having difficulty with #3 and 4, please read or get a copy of my book “Be Free.” You can find it here: