Negative thinking confronts us everyday. In the media and in political campaigns, there is a great deal of negativity which turn people. Negative thinking and behavior limits people’s abilities and the opportunities for progress and cooperation.
I have battled with negative thinking over the years. I know on a personal level the damaging effects of negative thinking. I have found strength to overcome negative thinking through prayer and leaning upon Jesus Christ.
For seven years, I served as a correctional chaplain at two jails in St. Louis, Missouri. The people with whom I had served came out of negative situations. Many struggled with addictions, poor education and low self-esteem. Their view of their world and their prospects for the future were often negative. Such an environment has a powerful effect. This affects all who are involved. Despite the circumstances, I tried to offer words of hope and direction. The time spent here and in other places where I had served in ministry took their toll upon me and left me drained in body and mind.
During the years spent in congregational and correctional ministries, I’ve seen the dangers of negative thinking. Negative thinking has also greatly affected my own life in a personal way. I have suffered from depression and at one time abused alcohol. The truth is, negative thinking drags a person to the pit of hell.
There are many people who struggle with negative thinking. It consumes their lives and affects them in so many ways. It affects how they behave and their interactions with others. It does more to tear down then to build up.
Negative thinkers are not fun to be around. They are depressing. They see only the worst every situation. They never have anything good nor positive to say, and this affects their behavior and their view of the world. In their misery, they drag others down with them. Their negativity can be seen on their faces. Some of these people look as if they had been weaned on a pickle. The best thing to do is to pray for them. Don’t allow negative people to poison your life nor steal your joy.
There is no joy or hope with negative thinking. It prevents people from dreaming and reaching their potential. It keeps people stuck in a rut of hopelessness. This way of thinking causes people to be timid rather than bold. Those who are negative thinkers like to play it safe. They don’t want to take risks or step out on faith.
People fall into despair because of negative thinking. It leads to substance abuse and even suicide. It is damaging because it causes people to take their eyes off of the Lord and pushes out faith. Hope is replaced with doubt and confidence is replaced by fear. Negative thinking affects people as wells as organizations such as a Christian congregation. When it affects a congregation it can harm the ministry and keep a church from moving forward in faith.
When negative thinking is allowed to creep into our lives, it is hard to see the blessings before us. Negative thinking can keep us from taking hold of the opportunities that are before us. Some people believe that they are powerless over negative thinking. The good news is that there is Someone who can transform our minds and change our lives.
God is not a negative thinker. He has positive thoughts towards us.(Jeremiah 29:11) His thoughts are for our welfare and our well-being. His thoughts are about giving us a hope and a future. When humankind fell into sin, God’s thoughts were for the positive. He set forth his plan of salvation. He sent his Son Jesus to bring peace and salvation. The Son gave of himself on the cross and his death and resurrection have positive results for us. Through faith in him, there is life, forgiveness, salvation and peace. This is a positive reality that gives joy and strength through all the circumstances of life.
The Holy Spirit strengthens us in faith and hope. He keeps our eyes focused on Jesus and reminds us of his promises to always be with us. When situations appear overwhelming, the Spirit reminds us to look to Jesus.
A positive faith finds strength to press on. Through Jesus, we can do all things (Phil.4:13)We can make it through the journey. The Holy Spirit has a way of taking our negative thoughts and turn them into positive thoughts. He changes our grumbling into praise. He does this by pointing us to the promises of Jesus.
Will we still have challenges along the journey? Indeed, we will. Will the devil and the world try to bombard us with negative thoughts? They will. There will be struggles and doubts that will come. All this happens, but Jesus invites us to cast those cares on to him.(1 Peter 5:7) He will take care of it.
Don’t allow negative thinking to cripple you or hold you back. Don’t allow negative to make you timid or over-cautious. Go forth in faith in Christ. Trust in him to guide you through the journey.
You’ll have your share of setbacks. They might slow you down, just keep pressing on. Press on and seize your dreams. Use the gifts God has given you and live up to your potential. When negative thoughts and the devil speaks to you, don’t listen. Listen to the voice of the Master. He has good things planned for you. He’ll guide you safely through the journey. Along the way, you’ll be changed. Hold on to the Master, you’ll from the danger of negative thinking to the joy of a positive faith.