I’ve been reading up more about how negativity hurts our bodies, especially with all the bad news going around and the negativity surrounding social media. As I looked around the first article I found described how negative thinking diminishes our brain’s ability to reason and form memories. And how negative emotions damage our capacity to think and gain knowledge.
I also learned from a study by The Journal American Academy of Neurology that this way of thinking leads to cynicism and unhappiness. And to make matters worse, cynical thinking produces a greater risk of dementia.
This isn’t good. I’m interested in achieving optimal brain performance. Looking into these things has helped me a great deal. But what’s helping me develop a happy and healthy state of mind is studying the scriptures.
I find it so interesting how often the apostles teach not to be deceived by bad company. Honestly, I just made a connection and understood what they meant. And I agree. I’ve since learned how not to be influenced by acquaintances given to negativity. So I agree with these teachings. Avoiding people who refuse to live and walk by the spirit is certainly the safest way to go.
Learning the principle of happiness
The book of Philippians teaches us to think about topics that are centered on truth, to think about those things that are honorable, just, and pure. And Isaiah talks a lot about seeking and trusting God.
“For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13.
I’ve been putting these teachings to the test these last couple of months and paying close attention to my emotions. When I catch myself starting to dwell in disappointment, I find praying and reading the promises of God help a great deal. And knowing God is closest to His children during times of trial gives me comfort.
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18.
Another great tactic is keeping in mind Jesus’s sufferings. This is helping me free my mind from toxic behaviors like selfishness, arrogance, and being judgmental.
I never really paid much attention in the past to the way I was speaking to myself.
Take a look at this verse:
“But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” Psalm 22:6-8.
Ellen White comments on how the Psalmist spoke by the Holy Spirit foretelling the maltreatment Christ would receive from humanity and then points her readers to study Isaiah’s prophecies concerning His ignominious death. (Acts of the Apostles 225).
As I read more about these things I’m finding clarity during trials.
These powerful texts teach us to trust in God’s leading, no matter how hard the test. I encourage you not to give in to all the negativity surrounding us at the moment. The key is thinking about what He went through instead.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” Isaiah 26:3.
As I start to think about the monstrous humiliation He endured, the abuse and rejection He received from His people, the suffering and affliction He endured shows me two main things. First, how much He trusted in His Father’s leadership. Second, my small problem doesn’t compare to this.
This story helps me put things in perspective and helps me see things a lot differently.
It showed me how negativity is like a magnifying glass pointed on small issues just to distract you from beholding Him. The fix is dwelling in the Word. Thinking about the Scriptures has removed the side effects of negativity.
I’d start to imagine the scenario from the stories of Christ. How He had to behold the malevolence of His enemies. I find the more you learn about Jesus and His love for us, the more your thoughts change. To think about how He’s acquainted with our innermost feelings and wants the best outcome for us. This reminder gives me peace.
“And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” Matt 9:4.
In contrast, we see the human condition mentioned in Proverbs 23:7 telling us that we are as we think. It reads “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
So when you read in the gospels how the Pharisees were plotting to kill Him, it makes me wonder what He saw spiritually speaking. He was constantly experiencing disappointment, yet He was happy. He was abused and tortured by the very people He came to save. Think about this. The people He loved, plotting His demise, lying to His face, and eventually killing Him.
I see God in His humiliation. The most powerful being in the universe, garbed in filthy, sinful-human flesh. And yet, after all of this evil done against Him, as He is about to give up the ghost, hanging on a cross, bloody, beaten, and bruised, asking His Father to forgive His killers because “they know not what they do.”
That just about blew my mind.
I’ve been hearing the resurrection story all my life. But to be honest with you, for this to have a positive effect on our characters, this topic has to be studied closely. Honestly, we have to take our Bibles and make time to understand these powerful lessons.
We’re being shown an amazing example of humility from the commander of the universe.
Let’s break this down a little. Think. What if it was you in this situation? Do you see the difference in characters? To think, Jesus wants to implant His character unto us with these powerful lessons. I want you to note carefully the choices He made while on trial. Next time you read the story, ask the text questions, write whatever impressions come to mind. It’s amazing what you’ll find when you revisit your notebook later. For me, I finally understand the advice of an old wise friend who kept telling me to keep my eyes fixed on Christ and ignore the foolishness of the world. It took me almost five years to grasp this lesson.
It’s no secret we’re living in the last days of earth’s history. I can venture to say we’ve been experiencing events prophesied in the books of Daniel and Revelation. And with everything that’s going on in the world, those of us who love Jesus understand that it’s time to get spiritually ready for His return.