Staying Positive in a Negative World

Luke 5:14 -“You are the light of the world, like a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.”

I’m a fairly optimistic person, mainly because of my mentor. I joined his team over 30 years ago as a youth pastor. He grew our congregation of 150 older white folks into over 3,000 people from 10 different nationalities and every age demographic in 10 years. As you can imagine, causing that many different groups of people to come together for one purpose and one vision had its challenges but on any given day my mentor would always project a positive attitude. I have always said about him that he was the “eternal optimist.” So, over the years I have attempted to be as positive as I can. I habitually ask everyone who crosses my path, “How are you doing?” And they usually ask me back with my typical response being, “I’m Happy!” or “I’m Awesome!” But last September I felt I could become even more positive, so I read Roger Campbell’s book titled Staying Positive in a Negative World. One of the things he suggested for obvious reasons was to stop watching the news. Now I was an avid news watcher. I believed that it was important that I stay in touch with what was happening in the world (even though I knew that Smith Wigglesworth never allowed a newspaper in his home). So, after reading the book, I went cold turkey and stopped watching the news. WOW! What a difference it made in my attitude. I’ve found that as long as I was in tune with what was going on in my Father’s Heart (the Kingdom of God) I would always be able to relate with people. Jesus did say that we are not of this world, but of His world (John 17:16). And Jesus always connected with people right where they were in life.

With everything going on in our world – the panic and fear from COVID-19 – I broke my habit of not watching the news last night. In fact, I watched the local Montana news as well as the national news. No wonder the world is freaking out. This morning about four o’clock in the morning I was awakened by the terrible thought that I could get the coronavirus. As I laid there, I sensed fear coming on me as I began to sweat and think about every person that I have been around in the past week. The more I thought about it the greater the fear became. I finally got up and went directly to my office and pulled out my confessions of faith scriptures to decree and declare over myself. As I did, the presence of the Lord filled me with peace and an assurance of His protection and provision from all harm. Our eyes and ears are gates into our soul, so they need to be guarded. David said in Psalm 101:3, “I will not look on anything vile (unpleasant). I hate what people without faith do; I will have no part of it.” Anything that doesn’t build our faith diminishes our faith. Faith is what gives us an unfair advantage that the world does not have. Because we do not trust in a man, our trust and faith is in our Father God. The issue is never about the problem and what man says or does or how big the problem is, but the issue is always – How big is your God?

Anything that doesn’t build faith diminishes faith.

We must be the people of God that think differently than the world. Faithless people cannot solve the world’s problems. While the world is in chaos, we should look just the opposite. Light isn’t necessary until it gets dark. Now is our time to shine, now more than ever we are to be the light in the world. God has called us to be more than conquerors, to be overcomers (Romans 8:37, 1 John 5:5). If we’re acting like the world and talking like the world, we are denying who we truly are and are of no more value to them as the newscasters on TV. When the world goes down into fear and panic, we are to go up into victory. This is the time to be light and to give hope to the world. I encourage you to keep a positive attitude as you trust God for resolving this pandemic. As the Apostle Peter exhorted us in 1 Peter 3:15 – “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone about the hope that you have.” Jesus commanded us to “Lay hands on the sick” (Mark 16:18). How are you going to lay hands on the sick through social distancing and shelter-in-place restrictions? A command is a command, and anything less is disobedience. The will of God doesn’t change just because the world doesn’t accept it, or your denomination doesn’t believe it. God’s Word is always the truth and the solution to every problem. Now is the time to truly reflect the goodness of God.

Jesus commanded us to “Lay hands on the sick.”

The Lord would have you know especially during this time that He is with you, so do not fear but rather be bold in faith, be strong and courageous for our God is bigger than any virus. “Greater is He (God) that lives in you than he (virus) that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). God lives in you! Think about it, this is what being born-again means – God lives in you! It is natural for the world to panic and fear. But, the Almighty God, our Father lives in you. He is mightier and greater than anything of this world.

My prayer for you today is that you would look for opportunities to be light and hope to others.                    

Pointing People to Jesus,

Rocky Byers

“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”