It has been brought up to me many years ago that you cannot think negative thoughts when you are being thankful. This is an enormous statement with impact that can change your life in a positive and victorious manner. Let’s take a look at what God’s Word says way back in the Old Testament.
PSALM 107: 1 — O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.
God says to give thanks to Him because He is good. You can wake up in the morning and you can be disgusted and discouraged with life or you can thank God that you are alive to live another day. We really and absolutely have a choice every day to keep God first and to be thankful or to let the world drag us down and defeat us. As soon as we awaken in the morning, we should pray and think about all the things that we have to look forward to. I know this takes some effort on our part, but it’s not really that hard to do. Let’s take a look at the next verse and see what God wants us to be thankful for. Is it just for certain things?
EPHESIANS 5: 20 — Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
When we are thankful, we simply cannot be in a negative frame of mind. I have experimented with this principle for many, many years and it is true to fact. The world lives and functions on a negative plane. Negatives dominate newspapers, television, and even the internet. The world will always try to put fear and negativity inside your heart, while God’s Word will always instill believing — positive believing which brings positive results in your life. We have a choice as to how we want to believe.
Many times, I will get up in the morning and be thankful for the simplest of things that a worldly, religious, or secular person will take for granted. I am thankful that I have something to eat for breakfast. I am thankful for the smallest things in this life such as having clothes to wear. Can’t you see the essence — the deepest meaning of this teaching and the importance of giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of Jesus Christ? You see, it gives you an advantage because you are more cheerful and you are more pleasant than the person who is not so thankful. You will be better liked than most people; you will be a better worker than most others; you will overall be a better person and have an advantage over others. The next verse talks about another benefit that you will experience simply because you are a thankful, humble person. I am making every attempt to keep this teaching as simple as possible because the principle itself is so simple, but yet so mightily important.
COLOSSIANS 3: 15 — And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
When you are a faithful and thankful person, you will naturally enjoy life to its fullest. Negative thinking is believing in reverse and brings negative results to a person. Since you cannot be negative when you are thankful, we can simply conclude that you are in a positive frame of mind which will bring only positive results to your life. One of those positive results that is mentioned in the above verse is peace. Can you just imagine for a moment if some pharmaceutical company could manufacture a pill that would guarantee a person peace? It sounds quite far-fetched because it is an impossibility. Only when you keep God first in your life and you change your thinking to measure up to what God’s Word says, then you will experience peace. And it is a peace that will pass all of your understanding — you will not be able to understand it. By personal experience, I know this is true. And what is the only thing that God asks you to do once He gives you His peace? He asks you only to be thankful.
PSALM 147: 7 — Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
Have you ever had the opportunity to listen to or watch a professional singer, especially in person? I have been fortunate to be familiar with music and was once a music teacher. If you look closely — I should say listen closely, you can always tell a great vocalist because they sing from their heart. Have you ever been so blessed that you want to sing out praises to God? Even way back in the Old Testament, God wants us to sing unto Him with thanksgiving. He would like us to sing praises to Him with thanksgiving in our heart.
Are we beginning to see how important it is to be thankful in this life for everything that we have? It will overcome a negative attitude every time and we must remember that a negative attitude will defeat and destroy your life. Just refuse to be negative and look around even right now at the smallest thing that may be in your room or at your computer itself and be thankful that you have these things.
Someone once said to me a long time ago that thanksgiving is “thanks living”. The point I want to make is how POWERFUL this renewed mind principle is in your daily life and walk with God Almighty. You will actually feel yourself becoming more cheerful, and more confident, and more than a conqueror in every single situation if you acquire the mental habit of being thankful. In the following verse, God gets more specific concerning the details of our renewed mind efforts.
EPHESIANS 5: 4 — Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
How often are we out there in the world either at our jobs or almost anywhere and we hear people talking foolishly about somebody or something? How often do we hear people speak about other people in a negative manner? We hear foolish talking and ridiculous jokes that aren’t funny and we do our best to put up with it. There’s so much irrelevant clamor that goes on today in this world that it seems almost impossible to get away from. Can you simply imagine how many unnecessary conversations are taking place on cellular phones? Again, this is all designed and very well-designed by the world to take away your peace and to distract you and to fill you with anxiety so that the last thing that you might think of is God.
God states clearly in this verse that He doesn’t want us to be foolish babblers rambling on about nothing, but instead, He mentions for us to be thankful.
If you were in the midst of the situations that are described in the previous paragraph, just look around or think about something that you can be thankful for and you will keep your peace and your positive attitude. By applying this principle, you have an advantage and God wants His people to know the score and to be on top of every single situation. Your Heavenly Father wants you to be a winner and not a loser. Think about a person who is always thankful, positive, cheerful and happy, and most importantly, peaceful at the same time. Isn’t that the type of person that you like to be around? And how about the person who is always complaining and who is always saying something negative about someone else? Isn’t that the type of person that you will go out of your way to avoid?
I CORINTHIANS 15: 57 — But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This verse repeats what was just said in the previous verse. God wants us to give thanks to Him. God will repeat something time and time again when it is of the utmost importance. Our Heavenly Father is so gentle, caring, loving, and understanding with us that He knows our frame. He created, made, and formed us. He knows that we need to hear something over and over again before we finally learn and apply what He tries so hard to teach us.
Again, “thanks be to God” and then comes the final part of this verse which is what all of us truly desire and deserve in this life if we are keeping God first and foremost in our everyday lives and activities. In every facet and situation in our life, we should expect VICTORY as a result of what Jesus Christ did and accomplished for us. He defeated and paralyzed every principality and power that can harm us in any way. We must believe this with all our heart and then we will see the end result in our lives which is VICTORY. God gave us this victory and He asks us to simply be thankful.
I can tell you something for a certainty that if you are not thankful, you will never be peaceful and you’ll be subject to anxiety and discouragement and every other negative emotion the world has to offer. It is not that hard to acquire the habit of being thankful for not only the large blessings, but for the smallest of blessings. Work at it. It will take time to renew your mind to this great and mighty and most powerful and simplest of principles from God’s Word. The next and final verse gives us instruction pertaining to how to overcome anxiety and distractions.
PHILIPPIANS 4: 6 — Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Understand that the word “careful” means anxious. God is telling us to never be anxious. He is stressing that it is never right in any situation to be anxious which goes hand in hand with being distracted. He is exhorting us to pray for any and all things that we need and want according to His Word and to do so with thanksgiving.
Why do the scriptures stress this point about anxiety? Because the world is designed to make you anxious and to distract you as much as possible from God’s Word. Why? Because God’s Word is the only thing that will defeat every negative out there in the world. So if the world can get you full of anxiety, it will then distract you from studying and applying God’s Word, which will in turn hinder you from being victorious and being more than a conqueror in every single situation. It is never right to be anxious.
Have you ever tried to enjoy watching a television show? Have you ever noticed how quickly the pictures change from one scene to another especially during the numerous advertisements? Did you know that your mind cannot think that fast? The world has things set up at such a fast pace as to cause a person to experience anxiety.
God tells us in this verse that we are to pray to Him and not allow ourselves to be subject to the many sources of anxiety and distractions which are inherent in the world in which we live. He would like our specific requests to be made known to Him with “thanksgiving”.
If you can master this simple but powerful principle of being thankful each and every day, God’s Word promises you that you will experience peace; that you will be victorious; that you will not be filled with anxiety and that you will have a positive and cheerful outlook on life. This will give you the Godly advantage that you need. Remember, it is God’s Will that His kids know the score and are winners. So practice this principle and remember that change involves work. Keep your head above the negatives by filling your mind with truth from God’s Word. Mastering just this one principle can result in the most positive change in your life and lifestyle that you may ever experience.