By Stephanie Montague
I’m going to start by being transparent.
When something negative happens I tend to allow it to cause other negative thoughts about my life. For example, I just found out there is a huge bill I have to deal with. So because I know that I know that I don’t have the resources to deal with it at the moment, I get angry. I then begin to think about all the things I don’t have in my life. I start saying, “Why is life so hard for me? When are things going to get better? I’m sick and tried of this mess”… and on and on and on. You get the picture. Over the years I’ve learned to quickly address what I like to call the Domino Effect.
I don’t think many children play with or maybe even know what dominos are but for those of us familiar with them what was cooler than setting them up in elaborate patterns, tipping the first one, hearing those dominos clap together and zip along the pattern it was a thrill. We put all that hard work into setting the dominos up, but it only to a few seconds to knock them all down. In this same way, our joy or happiness, if left unguarded, can get knocked down. I use the word joy here since most use it interchangeability with happiness. However, they are not really the same. Joy is a state of being, while happiness is connected to what’s happening.
The Bible says in Romans 14:17 (ESV) “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Our peace and joy are in the Holy Spirit not necessarily in what’s happening.
Yet, as people we are often affected by what is or isn’t happening to us. Our day-to-day can have a great effect on our thoughts. Our thoughts are powerful. What we are thinking about can make a difference in whether or not we have a good day. How we think and what we focus on affects our life, thus the importance of what our focus should be found in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, 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 is a powerful scripture. If you reverse the scripture it says: Think about these things. If there is anything worthy or positive, think on these things. I like the list of things to think on as stated in the King James Version: Whatsoever things are honest; whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue think on these things.
Whatsoever things are…
I just want to talk about a few things from this great list. When negative image and thoughts pop into our minds we have to pull them in and adjust our thinking. We cannot afford to allow the sickness of negativity to get into our “blood stream”. Let’s look honest. Honest isn’t about facts. The fact may be that you are sick or you’re lacking money right now. So called fact-based thinking can lead to our being depressed and that’s because your mind is focused on the world and your circumstance. The “honest” you are to know is the Word of God. Our hope must be built on the words found in the Bible. 2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;…” In other words grab those thoughts, cast the down thoughts out and compare them to the Word of God. For example you may be ill…that’s the “fact” but, how you cast that down is to think on “whatsoever things are honest (also whatsoever thing are of good report)” such as fixing your faith on the scripture that says, “By his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.
Whatsoever things are just or in other words guided truth. God’s word is true and there is no lie in it. His word accomplishes things! Isaiah 55:11 (KJV) says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Do we hear that? It will accomplish and won’t return void! God’s words are so important that He puts His word above his name according to Psalm 138:2. His word is what we should focus on not the negative because His word is unfailing no matter what is going on in our lives…stand on it.
Many of us receive all types of reports. There are news reports. There are doctor’s reports. There are financial reports. There are statistical reports…statistics on marriage, sickness, disease…on and on. Nevertheless, the only report we should ever believe is the report of the Lord (Isaiah 53:1). His report is healing, prosperity, growth, joy and peace, whatever you need. When we focus on the reports from the world it can begin the Domino Effect into depression and dismay. The question is what report would you rather believe? I don’t know about you but I’d rather believe the report God has for me.
Lastly, we can focus on the lovely thoughts that God has towards us all. Despite what you have going on, his thoughts towards you are lovely and he has a wonderful plan for you life. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11 Let us grab those negative thoughts and trash them where they belong and replace them with the encouraging and life building words of the Lord…. whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue think on these things.
Maybe today you’ve been bombarded with negative thoughts. It seems like you keep receiving negative report after negative report. You try to think positively but it’s so difficult in this world and more importantly in your life. Today, you can know the One who has a plan for your life and His thoughts towards you are of peace. Say this simple prayer: Lord, I need You to help me learn to focus my mind on things that are true and of a good report like Your word. I am a sinner and I need a savior. I realize that you Jesus are Lord. You died for my sins and rose again on the third day. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and set me free from my sin. And, because you are my Savior, Jesus, “I shall not die, but have everlasting life”. Thank you Jesus. Amen.