Nate Buchanan - Middle School Pastor
I can remember being sixteen years old, walking to my old truck after baseball practice. I jumped in the driver’s seat, put the key in the ignition… and nothing. Dead battery. No worries — I had jump-started cars a thousand times. I hooked up the cables to my truck and a friend’s car. I did the spark test by touching the positive and negative clamps together of course, then jumped in.
When I cranked the engine though, smoke suddenly started pouring out of the engine bay!
Shocked, I jumped out of the seat to see the rubber of the cables melting all over both vehicles. The rubber completely melted away until there was bare cable exposed as I stood there in disbelief. The end result of my simple mistake was a ruined set of jumper cables, same dead battery, and a fried electrical system in my truck which cost me about $1,000 to repair.
Moral of the story — when you put a negative where there is supposed to be a positive, you’ll end up paying more than you planned.
The Power of (God-honoring) Positive Thinking
Why is it that so many in the Church look down on the thought of positive thinking? And why is it that many of these same people are the most miserable people we know? Positive thinking is not a replacement for God, but a response to God. Someone I deeply respect and look up to says, “You do what you do and you feel what you feel because you think what you think." If our thoughts drive our emotions and turn those emotions, both good or bad, into actions, we need to be diligent in processing what we are thinking about. Having emotions is a part of being human, and a blessing from the Lord. As followers of Christ, growing in the ability of not acting purely on our emotions can be beyond difficult. In order to, “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), there are four areas of life we need to make sure we are not putting negatives where a positive should be.
#1 — My Spiritual Life
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
How is my walk with the Lord? Am I in His Word? How’s my prayer life? When was the last time I was on my knees, before the Lord, depending completely on Him? When I am meeting with people in Soul Care, the common answer I get for these questions are, “Not as much as I should be.” You’re never too late to approach the Lord in humility. If you are reading this right now and feel conviction from the Holy Spirit, pause, call out to the Lord and reset your spiritual compass.
#2 — My Thought Life
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
When an intrusive thought enters, it can put us in a bad mood. Bad moods only exist when we allow them. We have the option; do I let this thought take me captive or do I take it captive? We are unable to plan and engage external adversities if we are losing the war within.
#3 — My Physical Life
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3
“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” Proverbs 23:20-21
Our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Getting inadequate sleep, overeating, unwise drinking, and neglecting our health can cause major damage not only to our physical bodies but our relationship with the Lord. Since we are created in His image, glorifying Christ with our bodies is an act of obedience.
#4 — My Relational Life
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20
Make the decision to put people in your life that are going to speak truth, offer encouragement, and point you to Jesus. Humanity was designed to be in community with other believers, strive to make your inner circle these people.
If you feel yourself slipping into that bad mood, stop, evaluate what you’re thinking about and take action. A spirit out of control, leads to a life that is out of control. Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
What area of life do you need to see the greatest change in right now?