<< Previous | Index | Next >>
                           "SPIRITUAL GROWTH"

                 The Importance Of A Positive Attitude

INTRODUCTION

1. A good start toward spiritual growth is achieved when we...
   a. Accept the challenge to obey God's command to grow - 2Pe 3:18
   b. Believe we are capable of growing with God's help - Php 4:13
   c. Set both behavioral and functional goals as described in the
      Scriptures
      1) Striving to develop Christ-like behavior - 2Pe 1:5-8
      2) Seeking to determine and develop our function in the body of
         Christ - Ro 12:3-5
   d. Create good habits that slowly but surely help us reach those
      goals
      1) Habits that change our behavior (Bible reading, prayer, etc.)
         - 1Pe 2:2; Php 4:6-7
      2) Habits that utilize our functions in the body of Christ
         (assembling, participating) - He 10:24-25; Ro 12:6-8

2. For spiritual growth to continue, however, requires maintaining a
   positive attitude...
   a. Believing that all our efforts will be worthwhile - e.g., 1Co 
      15:58
   b. Encouraging us to persevere through difficult times - e.g., 2 Co
      4:8-9

[Paul certainly had a positive attitude.  But why is a positive attitude
so important to spiritual growth...?]

I. IMPORTANCE OF A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

   A. THE DANGER OF A NEGATIVE ATTITUDE...
      1. Illustrated in the example of the twelve spies of Israel
         a. Ten did not believe they could take the land of Canaan - Num
            13:31
         b. Their negative attitude discouraged the rest of Israel - Num
            13:32-14:4; cf. 32:7-9
         c. It led to Israel complaining and rebelling against God - cf.
            Deut 1:26-28
         d. It prompted them not to believe in God - cf. Deut 1:29-33
         e. It resulted in many dying in the wilderness - Num 14:26-38
      2. When negative attitudes are allowed to develop...
         a. We stop believing in God and in ourselves
         b. We stop trying to do what God wants us to do
         c. We discourage those around us
         d. We fail to reach the goals God has placed before us

   B. THE VALUE OF A POSITIVE ATTITUDE...
      1. Illustrated in the example of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem
         a. The people had a mind to work - Neh 4:6
         b. It helped them overcome ridicule by their enemies - cf. Neh
            4:1-3
         c. It led to the rebuilding of the walls - cf. Neh 6:15
      2. When positive attitudes are maintained...
         a. We continue to believe in God and our ability to serve Him
         b. We keep trying to do what God wants us to do
         c. We encourage those around us, and overcome those who would
            discourage us
         d. We ultimately reach the goals that God has placed before us

[Spiritual growth, like any other successful venture, requires a
positive attitude!  With it, God will help us reach our goals for
spiritual growth.  Without it, we fall short of becoming what God would
have us to be.  Therefore let's consider a few thoughts about...]

II. MAINTAINING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

   A. CHOOSE TO BE POSITIVE...
      1. We can control our attitudes, our moods
         a. We may not be able to control or change our circumstances
         b. But we can control how we react to them
      2. For example, we can choose to rejoice when times are hard
         a. As James commanded - Jm 1:2
         b. As we understand the value of difficult times - Jm 1:3-4; Ro
            5:3-4
         c. When we know that hope and prayer can help us to rejoice
            - Ro 12:12
      -- With a proper understanding, we can maintain a positive
         attitude despite our external circumstances - cf. 2Co 4:
         16-5:1; Php 2:17-18

   B. BLOCK OUT NEGATIVITY...
      1. By avoiding negative self-talk
         a. Such as "I can't do it..."
         b. Such as "It's too hard..."
      2. By constantly reminding yourself of such things as:
         a. You can do what God wants you to do (i.e., grow) - Php 4:13;
            2:12-13
         b. The more effort you make, the more results you will see - Ga
            6:7-9; 1Ti 4:15
         c. Your labor will not be in vain - 1Co 15:58
      3. By avoiding negative people
         a. Choose your friends carefully - cf. 1Co 15:33
         b. Stay away from "toxic" people (whose negativity poisons
            other people's attitudes)
         c. Otherwise you will join what Rick Pitino calls "The
            Fellowship Of The Miserable" and the killers of the dream
      4. By surrounding yourself with positive people
         a. People who will encourage you to do what is right - cf. He
            10:24
         b. People who refresh your spirit, not discourage it - e.g.,
            1Co 16:17-18; Phm 4-7
         c. People like Barnabas, "Son of Encouragement" - e.g., Ac
            4:36; 11:22-24
      -- With the right self-talk and the right companionships, we can
         avoid becoming hardened by the sin of negativity - cf. He 3:13

   C. LIVE IN THE PRESENT, WITH AN EYE TO THE FUTURE...
      1. Live in the present, not the past
         a. If anyone could have bemoaned his sinful past, it was Paul
            - 1Ti 1:12-15
         b. Yet he chose not to dwell on past mistakes (or even past
            successes), but to press on in the future - cf. Php 3:12-14
      2. Live in the present, with an eye to the future
         a. This is what Paul did, reaching forward to the prize of the
            upward call of God in Christ Jesus - Php 3:12-14
         b. It was the future glory that enabled him to endure the
            present trial - 2Co 4:17-18
      -- This mature attitude (cf. Php 3:15) is what helped Paul to
         maintain a positive attitude even in the most difficult of
         times - cf. 2Ti 4:18

CONCLUSION

1. We have every reason to have a positive attitude about our spiritual
   growth...
   a. God is ready to help us grow - Php 2:12-13
   b. He provided tools to us help us grow (the Word, prayer, etc.)
      - 1Pe 2:2; Php 4:6-7
   c. He designed the church to provide an environment conducive to
      growth - Ep 4:16
   d. Our labors will not be in vain, nor go unnoticed - cf. He 6:10
   e. Even when we fall, He provides forgiveness - 1Jn 1:9

2. The challenge we face is to not allow our positive attitude to be
   destroyed...
   a. Through negative self-talk
   b. Through negative people
   c. Through trying circumstances

3. The choice is ours...
   a. We can choose to be positive through faith in God
   b. We can block out negativity that surrounds us
   c. We can live in the present (instead of the past), with an eye on
      the future

Will we make the right choice?  Have you made to choice to follow God?

   "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for
   yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which
   your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or
   the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me
   and my house, we will serve the LORD."
                                                       - Josh 24:15
<< Previous | Index | Next >>


Home Page
Have A Bible Question? | Want A Free Bible Study Course? | Looking For A Church Near You?
Want To Talk With Someone By Phone? | Want To Discuss The Bible By Email?
Search The Outlines

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

eXTReMe Tracker