How positive are you? I know that I struggle with all the negativity that is going on in our world today. That’s one of the reasons that I stopped listening to talk radio and limiting my intake of the news. Not only is all of that negativity too much for anyone to handle, but also, when you are honest, you have to admit that every one of these news personalities are biased. Right or left, Fox or CNN – they all present the news through their own conservative or liberal bias. Why do they do that? Because they are only human. We all do it. Sadly, however, our personal bias is often influenced by those who have influence over us. Think it through for a minute and be honest. Think about the news programs you listen to or watch, and then answer this question: Over the past year, has my personal viewpoint become more or less like the viewpoint of those I watch?
It’s a simple equation that comes to us from the computer world – garbage in, garbage out. Now don’t get me wrong. It isn’t all garbage, but I discovered that not long after I stopped spending as much time on the news broadcasts, my perspective shifted. This isn’t just true with the news. We are also influenced by the movies/shows we watch, music we listen to, and things that we read. Be honest. After you go to a movie filled with violence and profanity, don’t those thoughts and emotions stay with you? Aren’t you more prone to use profanity in your words or thoughts? Garbage in, garbage out.
I often use the illustration of a glass of water. When you slosh it around, what comes out? Water. Replace that liquid with any liquid of your choice, good or bad, and the result is that whatever is in the glass comes out of the glass. It is true with our lives, our emotions, our words, and our deeds. Whatever we fill our minds with is what comes out when we find ourselves pressured by the world. So the solution? How do we stay positive in a very negative world? Follow the advice of the Apostle Paul who tells us that we should think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, things of virtue, and things that are praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) because garbage in, garbage out also means good things in, good things out.
Over the next several weeks, my preaching will be focused on staying positive in a very negative world. Yesterday, I shared 8 reasons why I am optimistic from Romans 8. I’ll bet if you spend some time in that chapter, you can find at least that many. Why not give it a try today and see if it doesn’t change your perspective just a little bit. And if one chapter from the Bible can change your perspective even a little, what would a committed effort to spend time in the Word every day do for you? Stay positive. Be optimistic.