in your mind there is a scale of the negative thoughts you get everyday – the negative input – and the positive input. you don’t have to go looking for negative thoughts. they’re all over. people
are more than happy to give them to you on a regular basis.
as you go through life, you get a lot of pebbles put on the negative side of your brain. if you don’t counterbalance that intentionally with GOD’s truth, GOD’s word, positive thoughts and beautiful ideas, you’re going to get out of balance. and the negative is going to outweigh the positive in your life and it’s no wonder you’re depressed. it’s no wonder you’re down all the time. it’s no wonder you’re discouraged and you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. why? because you don’t have any food, any soul food, that’s going to equalize the negative in your life.
paul says if you want to have joy, you build or focus on what is good.
paul practiced this himself. even when he was in prison, he had every reason to be bitter, every reason to complain, every reason to have a pity party. all his friends had left him. he’s alone, old, in prison unjustly to be executed.
now while he was in prison, CHRISTians turned against him and were attacking him incessantly. he was criticized unjustly.
if there’s anything that takes away our joy more quickly than criticism, i don't know what it is. just let somebody says something about how you look or about what you said or make a judgment against you, immediately you lose your joy. you want to retaliate, get even, criticize back. you start stewing in your mind.
but paul says, “i don’t have time for critics. i have yielded myself to GOD’s purpose. i’m focusing on what’s good. the last thing i’m going to do is let some stupid critic rob me of my joy.” he says, i’m not even going to allow other people to take my joy from me.
application: the reason why you’re unhappy a lot of the time is because you get too concerned about trivial issues. the reason you lose your joy so rapidly is that you don’t focus on the things that really matter and you allow unimportant things to upset you.
how many arguments in your family are really over major issues. isn’t it true that a lot of the conflict in your life, a lot of the killjoys in your life are over inconsequential things that aren’t going to matter thirty minutes from now much less for eternity? every time you get upset over an insignificant issue, you are letting the killjoys rob you of joy for a dumb reason. paul says, focus on what is good. that’s your choice. Every day you’re making a choice: am i going to be joyful or am i going to be stressed out?
just a thought from the front porch…