RSS Feed

Tag Archives: focus on the positive

Shutting the Door on Fear

Two first century authors use the imagery of a door to prove their point. The apostle Paul warns Christians against giving the Devil an open door to enter your life. This analogy suggests that you shouldn’t leave a crack or a gap. One of Jesus’ disciples focuses on the positive. This spiritual illustration uses God’s love as a source of superior power to snuff out fear by closing the door.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love [g]turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear [h]brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection], 1 John 4:18.

As I read the passage above recently, my mind turned to 2 Corinthians 10:5-6. Trying to confront the Devil alone is reckless. Yet, when you learn to take your thoughts captive by making them obedient to Christ, shutting the door on fear is possible. If fear feeds on weakened minds that become paralyzed by ungodly beliefs, you’re giving the Devil a foothold to use your fears against you.

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him], Ephesians 4:26-27.

One of Jesus’ disciples compares the Devil to a predator that feeds on isolated and wounded Christians. When a door is left ajar or cracked open, fear will enter your dreams while you’re sleeping. Anyone who doesn’t shut the door on fear will allow nightmares to continue to fester. These threats will only intensify as time goes by. This is why shutting the door on fear is essential for all Christians to practice.

by Jay Mankus

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

The expression “hear no evil see no evil” originated from an ancient Japanese proverb. The full proverb is “see no evilhear no evil, speak no evil.” This phrase was popularized in the 17th century as a pictorial Shinto maxim, carved in the famous Tōshō-gū Shinto shrine in Nikkō, Japan. Meanwhile, in the middle of the first century, the apostle Paul used conspicuous while referring to bad and good behavior evident to all who are watching.

The sins of some men are conspicuous (openly evident to all eyes), going before them to the judgment [seat] and proclaiming their sentence in advance; but the sins of others appear later [following the offender to the bar of judgment and coming into view there], 1 Timothy 5:24.

Perhaps referencing a previous letter sent to Galatia, Paul pulls back the curtains of the spiritual realm in Galatians 5:16-25. Deep inside of every human being is an internal struggle between good and evil. This particular passage is where the term dualism comes from. This biblical theology states that the universe contains opposing powers of good and evil, seen as balanced equals where a third party, a judge is necessary to intervene.

So also, good deeds are evident and conspicuous, and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden [indefinitely], 1 Timothy 5:25.

From a modern perspective, gossip and slander are never a good thing to practice. Paul urges the church of Philippi to focus on the positive, Philippians 4:8-9. While you will have opportunities, moments in life to correct and or rebuke close friends, don’t dwell on the negative. If you want to be depressed, just watch the nightly news. The best way to be a source of hope and light in this world is by taming your tongue, James 1:19 so you can keep the Proverb Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil .

by Jay Mankus

It’s Not What You Say, but How You Say It

It doesn’t take much for a coach, parent or teacher to get under a teenager’s skin.  Sometimes the tone chosen is demeaning.  Others come across as pompous or smug, alienating the individual they are talking to.  Meanwhile, impatient adults have a tendency to take out their frustrations upon young people, creating an even greater generational gap.  This disconnect proves that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear, Ephesians 4:29.

When you are reading a book, sometimes the context of previous events isn’t a hundred percent clear.  Thus, you are forced to go back to make sure you haven’t missed anything important.  In the passage above, you have to understand who Saul was before he changed his name to Paul.  This former Pharisee was a perfectionist, critical by nature, eager to point out flaws.  Therefore, the words Paul choses serves as a reminder to himself and his leaders within the church at Ephesus to focus on the positive, not the negative.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:7.

While writing a letter to a teenager, Paul reveals an important truth about the Holy Spirit.  Although the world tends to emphasize imperfections, staying optimistic isn’t impossible.  Rather, one of the fruits of God’s spirit is self-control, the discipline to control your own tongue.  The language you choose to express daily is a conscious decision.  Unfortunately, many don’t realize the power of words.  Every coarse joke, put down and sarcastic remark influences others in a negative manner.  Therefore, make sure the next time you open your mouth, you think before speaking for it’s not what you say, but how you say it.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: