Saturday, January 12, 2008

How to Overcome a Negative Attitude

Today I received the following e-mail:

Do you have any sermons on dealing with negativity or how to overcome a negative attitude?

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I thought the answer might contain a thought that would be helpful to others:

The first thing that came to mind was the series I did on Sunday nights when I arrived here: What Do You Do When God Is Late? It is a series on time. But it really isn’t about time – it’s about faith in God. Will God keep His promises? This is probably the most helpful series I have ever preached for me. At the end of the study, I concluded that God will give me all the time, money, wisdom, people, and anything else I need because he tells me: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). That is the message of the series. The rest is explanation and expansion of that theme.

I think most issues are God issues. Is God God? Will God keep His promises? Many God issues go back to previous experiences. If I have had few or no relationships (family, friend, church) where people kept their promises, it may be more difficult to understand a personality Who does that. Asaph quoted God in Psalm 50:21, “You thought that I was altogether like you.” It is good to remember that God is God and man is man. Even good men are men – not God. If I base my attitude on the performance of other people, I will be disappointed much of my life. If I understand that God and I can have a good relationship with each other regardless of the approval or disapproval of others, I will not be affected as much about what others think and do. I can grow if others choose to stagnate or decline. I can grow if others oppose. I can grow if others persecute.

It goes back to the a series on the “me-first” principle of Bible study. Someone might respond, “That’s why I’m depressed and discouraged. Everybody else is fine. It’s just me that's in a mess.” That also gets back to a God issue: did Paul mean what he said when he wrote, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)? Can and will God really supply my need? He promises to give me that gift if I will accept it. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12,13).

Maybe there is a "mustard see" there. Let me know if I can clarify.

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If these sermon outlines on time or the me-first principle of Bible study would be helpful, let me know and I will share them.

You may e-mail me for sermon outlines and tell me what would be helpful: .

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