Do you like a challenge? Here is one that will make you stop and reconsider.
At the end of the preacher’s Thanksgiving sermon that morning, he confronted his congregation with a very dynamic challenge. He asked his congregation to agree that they would fast from negative speaking for one month, from Thanksgiving to the end of the year. They were to avoid complaining and only speak positive words about people, situations, or any negative subjects that entered conversation.
When a church attendee shared this challenge to an outside friend, her comment was, “Yeah, that’ll be the day!” Why should positive speaking be so difficult? Could the people carry out this fast and speak only positive words? Not based on each person's own ability.
Our sinful nature dictates negative, not uplifting thoughts. The acts of this nature are judgmental, jealous, critical, disrespectful, angry, and ungrateful; these things come from what is in mankind’s heart. The sinful nature turns toward Satan, and his nature is vengeance. The apostle Paul tells the Roman believers, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires…the sinful mind is hostile to God” (Romans 8:5-7). One of the hardest things for us to do because of our sinful nature is to apologize.
So then, how is it possible for these believers to carry out this challenge? The apostle Paul offers a contrast: “but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6). Therefore, “You are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:9).
The critical words of the flesh seem to come easy, but God wants His people to speak positive words into lives and situations. For “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). I find that when I invite the Spirit’s help, I allow Him to adjust my attitude from negative to positive. In return, He reveals God’s perspective of right speech and the benefits of thankfulness. Positive words and gratitude can increase your personal happiness and enhance your relationships. The right attitude brings spiritual understanding as you live “in accordance with the Spirit” and have your mind “set on what the Spirit desires.”
When you enrich your outlook with thankfulness and with positive speech, this fast can be a great learning experience. Will you accept this dynamic challenge?
Florence Simmons is an author, writer and speaker. Her website can be found at
www.common-sensewisdom.com (She is open to other writers)