For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)
I'm currently daily reading Joyce Meyer's book Battlefield of the Mind - Devotional. Today's reading was about how our thoughts and what we focus on determine where we end up.
Over the past 9 months I've been having some major issues at work that just seem to be getting worse. Every time I believe it is getting better, something new happens to make me realize it may not be better at all. However, my negative attitude and thoughts from this situation have affected my life greatly. I dread going into work each day and am starting to be stressed to the point that my family life is affected and I'm even having disturbing dreams of having a heart attack!
Today's devotional really brought it home to me that even though I may not be able to control all the situations in my life, I can control my thoughts and attitudes. This is very important because as Joyce points out . . . "the mind is a battlefield. We must always remember that our adversary will use it in any way he possibly can to trap us!"
I need to focus on God's grace and give thanks for the good things He has provided me with. I don't need to deny what is going on around me, however my focus needs to be on the positive things in my life and to give thanks to God for those things.
This is not about the prosperity thinking we hear in the churches or the positive thinking we hear in seminars. This is about acknowleding the bad things in your life (and as a Christian there will be many of them as Jesus never promised us a rose garden, in fact He promised just the opposite!). However, acknowledging these things is not the same as focusing on them. We must keep our focus on Jesus and the blessings in our lives.
God does not want me to be of this world. When bad things happen in my life, if I gripe and complain instead of focusing on the positive and plunging forward trusting God to take care of me, how am I any different from those around me who do not know the Lord? My relationship with the Lord does not make me any better than anyone else, but it does give me a hope that others do not have. What good am I to the Lord if I don't let this hope shine from within me?