Think About Our Attitudes 08-24-08

I Thessalonians 5:14-24 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. (15) See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. (16)Rejoice evermore. (17) Pray without ceasing. (18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (19) Quench not the Spirit. (20) Despise not prophesying. (21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (22) Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

There is a lot of instruction here, but I want to concentrate on three verses 16-18.

What does it mean to give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you? Does it mean that everything that happens to us is the perfect will of God? No, it means that the point of rejoicing and pray fully giving thanks is where every thing concerning our lives begins.Everything that is concerning us in Christ Jesus has its birth and beginning in rejoicingly giving thanks for the things that come or way.

A positive faith-filled outlook is what draws others to us and eventually to Christ. Which is needed today more than more programs! But what happens all too often is that we end up criticizing & complaining & saturating the very atmosphere around us with negative vibes. Our words, attitudes & actions create the climate we choose to live in. Then we often make excuses about having a bad day, hormones, mood swings, & our lot in life. To be honest these things do affect us, but they shouldn’t control our lives. Rejoicing should.

Philippians 4:6 states, “Be anxious for nothing , but in everything by prayer & supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; & the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard  your hearts & minds  through Christ Jesus.”

Did you notice something here? We don’t get the peace of God 1st and then bring forth thanksgiving. Anyone could do that, we are to refuse to be anxious & pray with joyous thanksgiving first, then after we have sacrificed with our lips & hearts, the peace of God will guard your heart & mind.Our words, our attitudes create a welcoming atmosphere for the presence & peace of God to overtake us.We are to never let our level of thanksgiving to be according to our circumstance. Our circumstances should never control our thanksgiving. Why? Because God is always greater than our circumstances. Remember the Veggie Tale song God is bigger than the bogey man. Our thanksgiving should control our negative situations & turn them into something positive for the Kingdom.

Let me give three suggestions on changing a negative attitude into a positive influence:

First, we have to want to:
Abraham Lincoln once said. “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
We must make up our mind to be joyful & refuse to surrender another day of our lives to criticizing & complaining about stuff that we have no control over to begin with. In other words as someone once said "we need take our day back from the devil".

Second, catch ourself in the act:
If you’ve always been negative & grown up around negative, complaining, criticizing people, then you have been socialized into that lifestyle. It’s called learned behavior. It’s not genetics, we arn’t aren’t born that way, it’s a learned behavior & what has been learned must be un-learned. We must recondition our mind-set. This won’t happen over night, we didn’t become who we were or are overnight and we won’t be changed overnight. We can become born-again suddenly, we can become a new person in Christ suddenly, but it often takes time to work out the old-man. We must make up our mind, if we can’t say something helpful; don’t say anything & maybe the mind will follow.

Thirdly, begin to purposely look for what is good & if we do, we will find it:
Looking back at Philippians 4:8 we find these encouraging words, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if it is virtuous, if it is praise worthy, think about (meditate or focus on) these things.”

The world often places these things on the bottom of the list under good looking, rich, famous, etc. But those who are focused on Kingdom Living will put these first.

We must look for noble & just things (they are there), we must be on the look out for pure & lovely things (we will discover them) we must constantly condition our hearts and minds to think of good reports (not bad reports) virtuous up-lifting things, not things that de-grade & pull down.

Meditate on the good things of God & live in a state of thanksgiving & if you do blessings will overtake you & God will begin to turn things around.