Summary: Probably nothing can contribute more to the quality of our lives than a positive attitude. And yet, sometimes it is so easy for us to become critical. And we end up focusing on the negatives. (Powerpoints Available - #225)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at email@example.com and request #225.)
This morning I want to talk about two passages of Scripture & “Developing a Positive Attitude in a Negative World.”
A. Probably nothing can contribute more to the quality of our lives than a positive attitude. And yet, sometimes it is so easy for us to become critical. And we end up focusing on the negatives.
ILL. It’s like the wife who bought her husband 2 new neckties. He was so appreciative that he immediately went to his room & put one of them on. Then he came out to show it to her. She took one look at him wearing the new tie & said, “What’s the matter? Don’t you like the other one?”
Please realize also that in talking about “Developing a Positive Attitude” I’m not talking about looking through rose-colored glasses & deciding that everything is just fine. There are many things wrong with our world.
But, yes, there are people who find something good in almost every situation, no matter how negative it might be.
ILL. Have you heard about the older gentleman who was admitted into the nursing home? Four ladies instantly took notice of him, & welcomed him. The first one said, “You’re new here, aren’t you?” And he answered, “Yes, I am.”
The 2nd lady asked, “Where were you before you came here?” He answered, “Well, I’ve been in prison for the last 20 years.” The 3rd one said, “Twenty years? Why were you in prison for 20 years?” He answered, “I killed my wife.”
The 4th lady said, “Oh good! That means you’re single, doesn’t it?”
SUM. If you look hard enough, you can find something positive in almost everything. But I’m not talking about that kind of Pollyanna attitude this morning.
B . Rather, I’m talking about being realistic, realizing that in the midst of all the negatives there is still much that is good in the world, in the church, & in our lives. And we need to focus our attention & energy on what is good.
Listen to the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
Now that’s positive! He says, “…whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy…” “You think about those things.”
Solomon said, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV). So the things that dominate your thinking, those things control the words you speak, the attitudes you have, & the way you react to others.
C. Now, in 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul talks about the 2nd Coming of Jesus. He tells them that “One of these days the skies will open, the trumpet will blow, you’ll hear the voice of the archangel, & you’ll see Jesus in all His glory. Graves will be opened, & we’ll all be caught up with the Lord in the air.”
He’s saying, “If anybody has a reason to be positive & joyful, Christians do because no matter what happens in this world, we’re moving toward something better & greater & higher. We will have a reunion with our Lord, & we’ll be with Him for all eternity.” So he says, “We have every reason to be joyful.”
PROP. Then, in chapter 5, he comes back to the present. He says, “Okay, here we are, waiting for the Lord to come. In the meantime, as we wait, how can we develop this positive spirit?” And he gives some very practical suggestions.
I. DEVELOP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD SPIRITUAL LEADERS
A. Paul begins by telling us that the best way to develop a positive spirit is by having a positive attitude toward our spiritual leaders, those who work hard among us, those who sacrifice time & energy to serve the Lord. We’re to respect, honor, & encourage them in what they do for God.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord & who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.”
It’s wonderful when the church works together in harmony as we do here, where people love & respect each other. But in a world that is becoming more & more negative in its attitudes, we must be alert to the challenges we face.
Right now we’re in the midst of a national political campaign. And you’re hearing a lot of criticism about the people running for public office. In fact, you can hear criticisms every day about people in various positions of leadership.