Finding The GoodSeries: Finding The Good. James Dewhurst November 24, 2019
Find the Good
We live in a world today, where people are angry, offended, frustrated, jealous, envious, dissatisfied, vengeful, annoyed and bitter all at the same time. These negative emotions compounded are turning people into ticking time bombs, ready to explode at any time!
The sum of all of these unchecked emotions is leading to a level of stress and anxiety in our culture that is both toxic and unhealthy. Anxiety is an unbridled illness that is endlessly tormenting the minds and hearts of countless people in our world today. The key indicator that anxiety exists in our lives is when negative or stressful feelings stick around and become intrusive, all-consuming and begin interfering with our daily lives.
Anxiety disorders have grown to the point today that they are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 1 in every 5 Americans (40 million adults). Along with fear, worry, depression and chest pains, anxiety manifests in restlessness and irritability.
When stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are constantly being dispatched by unending stress and anxiety, we end living in a world of fight or flight responses!
So, how did we get here? What do we do now? How do we fix it?
While there are certainly physiological and chemical factors that can affect us, I believe the majority of our negative emotions are a spiritual problem. One of the most powerful truths that influence our mental and emotional health, is found in the book of Romans. The problem is not that we haven’t heard it. The problem is, we don’t believe it!!!
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)
Paul wanted Christians to know that everything they face, God will turn for our good!
The Bible couldn’t be more clear about the fact that “everything”, the good, the bad, the pleasant, the unpleasant, the fair and the unfair; God will use to bring about, not just our good, but the Gr. meaning for the word good means: “best”. He will work for our best!
The majority of our stress and anxiety would disappear if we believed this one truth!
-If we believed this, we wouldn’t get angry about what happens at work!
-If we believed this, we wouldn’t get offended at what people say to us!
-If we believed this, we wouldn’t be so bitter about how we were treated!
-If we believed this, we wouldn’t complain about where life is right now!
-If we believed this, we wouldn’t be so jealous of what they just got!
-If we believed this, we wouldn’t be holding on to grudges from the past!
If we believed it, then instead of fixating on the bad we’d be looking for the good!
Duke University did a study on “Peace of Mind” and discovered the greatest factors that contribute to emotional and mental stability:
> The absence of suspicion, resentment, and grudges!
> Not being preoccupied with past mistakes and failures!
> Not wasting time-fighting conditions you cannot change!
> Refusing to indulge in self-pity when life is unfair!
> Finding something bigger than yourself to celebrate!
1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (ESV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (ESV)
There is something about being thankful that breaks the power of anxiety over our lives!
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (ESV)
Paul doesn’t just teach us to pray, he teaches us to pray through the filter of thanks!
Why? Because thankfulness shifts our focus from what is wrong to what is right!
An old preacher said – “God is glorified, not by our groans, but by our thanks.”
Someone else said – “Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad it is, is someone else’s fairy tale.”
An anonymous person said – “The pilgrims made seven times more graves than they did huts, and they still set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
Another person said – “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
*There’s something about counting our blessings that heals our troubled minds!*
In researching mental health a recent Berkeley University study found: With the rise of managed health care, mental health professionals have had to confront this burning question: How can they help clients gain the greatest possible benefit from treatment in the shortest amount of time? In our research, we have zeroed in on one such activity: the practice of gratitude. Indeed, many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. (They discovered what Paul taught 2000 years ago!)
2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (ESV)
When people come to the Lord in prayer we bring our problems, not our praise!
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! (ESV)
19 When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (ESV)
1 Chronicles 16:34
34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (ESV)
We don’t thank God because life is always good, we do it because he is always good!
“Even when I don’t see it your working, you never stop, you never stop working!”
(1) We thank Him for his Love!
Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
(2) We thank Him for his Peace!
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
(3 )We thank Him for his Wisdom!
James 1:5-6 (NIV) “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
When life is offering endless problems, God’s wisdom offers endless solutions!
(4) We thank him for his Mercy!
Micah 7:18-19 (NIV) “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. 19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”
(5) We thank him for Salvation!
Acts 4:12 (NIV) “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”