Focus: Predicting a positive outcome
1 Peter 3:10 (NCV) A person must do these things to enjoy life and have many happy days. He must not say evil things, and he must not tell lies.
Everyone wants to enjoy life and have many happy days. So, why would a person who is having a happy day say bad things or tell lies? Take it one step further and think about the opposite—would a person who is saying bad things and telling lies expect to have a happy day?
So if we want to have an enjoyable life, we should focus on what comes out of our mouth, because ‘what comes out’ has a lot to do with what kind of life we will have.
The other day, I was thinking about a lot of things that are ‘up in the air’ right now in my life. Things that I’d like to see turn out well. I was praying at the time and just talking things over with God. I felt impressed to ‘fast forward’ my life to ‘some point in the future’, and make a declaration about how things turned out. I had time to think and pray, so I systematically went through every concern I could think of and just spent time thanking God for how each thing turned out—as though it were all in the past.
It felt good to hear myself saying the positive outcome of present situations in the lives of my children, my parents, family, friends, co-workers, my husband and myself.
When we’re concentrating on the many possible ways some things might turn out, our minds become full of ricocheting thoughts. The act of contemplating leads to internalizing a variety of potentially positive and negative outcomes that keep colliding inside of us and we’re kept from having any kind of real peace.
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When we ‘call those things which are not, as though they were’—according to Romans 4:17, we’re speaking with faith-filled words. God can bless faith. He can bless what we say, if it doesn’t contradict His Word. He loves it when we draw deeply from His well, and put Him to the test. He has all the resources He needs and can do whatever He wants—we just need to remember how great He is and that He’s bigger than any problem we have.
It takes real self-discipline to not be shaken by what we see, when just about everything around us is in ‘melt down mode’.
Aside from a momentary relief—it doesn’t really do much good to speak our mind about what’s bugging us. When we’re focused on how bad things are and the assumed probability that things are only going to get worse, we’re establishing our thoughts as facts, and literally giving life to them.
What are you facing today that you’ve been mulling over in your mind? Are the things you’ve been ‘working on’ keeping you from enjoying your life and having happy days? Are you so consumed with anxiety that you haven’t even thought about laughing very much lately?
When you run into someone you haven’t seen for a while who asks what’s going on with you, what comes out of your mouth? Do you launch into a long and detailed chain of dramatic events you’re currently pre-occupied with—including the possible devastating endings to the various stories? Or do you speak with confidence about what you believe God is going to do, in spite the fact that you’ve had some recent challenges?
Why don’t you take some time to ‘fast forward’ about the things you’re concerned with right now. In your mind, go to some point in the future when all of this will be behind you. Speak as though you’re looking back at something that happened a while ago, and then say how it all turned out—in a positive sense. Make the things you say a prayer to God out of gratitude for the wonderful way everything came to pass.
In the future, when somebody asks how things are going in your life—don’t lie—but find ways to predict a positive outcome that will bring glory to God. Let your answer include the fact that God is doing something good for you—because He is! Don’t forget to confirm that you have been through worse times than these, and that God has never let you down.
Declaration: I will find new strength by viewing my present circumstances through the eyes of faith. I will train myself to speak more positively about my circumstances. I will use words that are filled with faith and not fear. As I speak about what is going to happen in the future, I will give glory to God, knowing He has promised never to leave me or forsake me.
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