Summary: When our attitude in life is negative, the gears are grinding the wrong way. When the gears in our minds are turning in the wrong way, we call it stinkin’ thinkin’.
Some of you walked in here this morning carrying a heavy load. Some of you are up against the wall in your business. Some of you are in the middle of family conflict that seems almost impossible to resolve. Others are battling personal illness. Still others face problems that I can’t even begin to imagine. And there’s not much light at the end of the tunnel.
About the only thing you can do is to pray, trust God, and have a positive, faith-filled attitude. You are where you are and what you are largely because of the dominating attitudes that occupy your mind. If you allow your negative situation to control your attitude, you might as well turn out the lights because the party’s over. You’re going nowhere - in your relationships, in your career, physically, emotionally and spiritually - with a negative attitude.
There are two key questions to ask in predicting a person’s future. "Can he?" ... which is an issue of ability and "will he?" ... which is an issue of attitude. Attitude is the major difference between success and failure. Our attitude determines our altitude.
Some of us are struggling with an attitude of worthlessness. “I stink.”
Others of us are struggling with an attitude of loveless-ness. “You stink.”
Some of us are struggling with an attitude of bitterness. “Life stinks.”
With a person is really thinking about something, we sometimes say that we can see the gears turning. The gears are always turning. Our minds are always working. In fact, we think so much faster than we can speak. So, the gears are turning. But too often they are turning in the wrong direction. When our attitude in life is negative, the gears are grinding the wrong way. When the gears in our minds are turning in the wrong way, we call it stinkin’ thinkin’.
Defining stinkin’ thinkin’
Worthlessness “I stink” No peace with myself
Loveless-ness “You stink” No peace with others
Bitterness “Life stinks” No peace with God
When we think this way, we are robbed of our peace! We are not at peace with ourselves when we think, “I stink!” We are not at peace with others when we think, “You stink!” We are not at peace with God when we think, “Life stinks!”
That’s why I want to talk to you about how to develop a positive attitude that transcends difficult circumstances.
And let me say at the outset that this is not a message about "the power of positive thinking." We’re not talking about The Little Engine That Could this morning - "I think I can, I think I can." Some of you are facing God-sized problems and you don’t need fluff - you need some God-sized reasons to be positive.
What robs me of my peace? It’s the way I think! I must get rid of stinkin’ thinkin’.
God has the antidote!
Getting rid of stinkin’ thinkin’
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
In the preceding verses, we have been learning about how to find God’s peace.
God’s Recipe for Peace
1. Celebration: Rejoice in the Lord. v. 4
2. Appreciation: Put up with people. v. 5
3. Supplication: Pray about everything. vv. 6, 7
Today, we want to spend more time on this 4th ingredient in the recipe – getting rid of stinkin’ thinkin’. Why? Because your mind is so important for your spiritual development.
In fact, the Bible says that the weapon we must use when there is spiritual conflict is our mind. II Corinthians tells us that we are to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Proverbs tells us, "As a man thinks within himself, so he is." Rom. 12:2 reminds us that we are to renew our minds. When I have a problem in my spiritual life, I can inevitably trace it to an undisciplined mind. When garbage comes out, it’s because garbage has gone in. Garbage in and, garbage out is not only true for computer programmers. It’s also true for Christian people.
If you are a 21st century American, you have been challenged to think in politically correct ways. But here, we are challenged to think in biblically correct ways! Here, we are being encouraged to get the gears turning the right way. Biblically correct thinking challenges the “I stink”-“You stink”-“Life stinks” world view.
This morning, I want to think about three choices we need to make about biblically correct thinking.
I choose to do biblically correct thinking…
1. … about myself.
This addresses our temptation to develop the attitude of worthlessness.
I must make a confession. I am prone to do what I call “negative navel gazing.” It’s looking at myself and focusing on the flaws I see.