For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.
—Proverbs 15:15 (NLT)
When you are despondent, you have little hope. The thought of facing each day wears you out. If you have a negative attitude, you wait for the next bad thing to happen. You don’t look for good things in your day like a person with a “happy heart” does. To a joyful person, life is a “continual feast.” It is full of hope and promise—no matter what their circumstances.
The way you think determines how you feel. You can have can a positive attitude that gives you an optimistic outlook, or you can have a negative one that keeps you buried under a pile of emotional debris. If you want a life flowing with joyful abundance―one that spills over with spontaneous faith—you decide every day to have a positive attitude. You choose to “take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you” (Ephesians 4:24, MSG).
Being renewed from the inside out is essential to having a joyful and victorious life. "Brothers and sisters," Paul declared, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4:8, NIV). If you keep your mind focused on God's truth―on whatever is uplifting and joyful, the way you think changes. However, allowing the Holy Spirit to do this takes time and perseverance.
Only you decide whether you listen to the encouragement of the Holy Spirit or the negativity of the enemy. “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” Paul wrote (2 Corinthians 10:5b, NIV). It is impossible to stop the fiery lies that the enemy aims at your thought life, but you can choose not to think negative thoughts. The Holy Spirit gives you His power to bring them under control, but you must exercise His power. When you daily focus your mind on Jesus and not upon every possible scenario, you have the power to experience His peace in the most difficult of circumstances.
There is no way you can control circumstances, but you can learn to control what happens in your mind as a result. When you learn to take negative thoughts captive, you change the way you think. Not only are you able to say, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV), but you believe without any doubt that you have His strength. Living a life transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit gives you a positive and joyful attitude.
The Word reveals the truth of the new person Jesus has made you, and you have His power to act upon that truth. You consciously decide to think positively, and your feelings ultimately fall into line with His Word. When you rethink who you are, your feelings will not determine your thought process. In surrendering control and allowing the Holy Spirit to change your attitude, you learn your identity in Christ.
When you think differently, you feel differently. You believe. You trust. With faith, you can tell any lie which has claimed your mind to move. His peace, which is above any human reasoning, guards your thoughts. Your life is filled with infinite possibilities. His joy is your strength, and you stand firm in the face of lies. You rest in His grace, believing that the life He gave for you on Calvary has made you a new person—entirely recreated by His power. And now you have His power to choose positive thoughts and to defeat lies that spring up in your mind.
Believe who Jesus says you are. Be renewed in the way you think. Then the person that Jesus knows you are will be the person you know—the person who was worth His life.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy,” Jesus said. “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT). His purpose is to give you a life that is a continual feast—a life filled with His peace.
©2020 Lynn Lacher