An Easy Choice
Do you think people would describe you as someone who is usually positive or negative about life? I’ve been pondering that question the past few days since we were at a wedding where I heard someone describe their uncle as being “always positive - no matter what’s going on in life”. I thought it was a nice way to be described, and it got me wondering if folks would say the same thing about me.
Unfortunately, the more I thought about it, the more certain I became that the answer was “no”, the people in my life would not describe me as “always positive - no matter what’s going on”. And the reason I used the word “unfortunately” is because God wants His children to be people who are focused on the positive rather than the negative. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 puts it like this: “Always be joyful. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” God wants His children to be people who are focused on the hope and the possibilities He offers through a relationship with Him.
So for those of us who don’t naturally focus on the positive all the time, how do we get there? How do we become people who are “thankful in all circumstances”? Fortunately, God gives us the answer to that question as well. Listen to Philippians 4:8, which tells us: “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.” This verse gives us an excellent reminder that where we choose to focus our minds is up to us. So we can choose to look for the negative side of life, or we can choose to focus on the beautiful aspects of our world which are gifts from God and reflections of who He is. Of course, the benefit to focusing on the positive is that it builds joy in us, as well as a thankful heart.
But let me be clear - I’m not saying we go through life acting as if there's nothing wrong. It’s more that, while acknowledging there are challenging or difficult things happening, we still choose to focus on what is good in our lives, or in the world, or in our relationship with God. And choosing to focus on the good will then help us become people who are “positive - no matter what’s going on”.
So today, let's give this a try. Let’s commit to being positive people. Let’s look at the situations in our lives, and ask God to show us what is good, and true, and honorable about each thing so that we can stay positive. Let's do all of this so that we will experience the joy and contentment God promises us, AND so that we will be a testimony to those around us of the joy and thankfulness that comes when we focus on who God is and what He’s doing.