Introduction: If we believe that we are losers, we will sow and reap like losers. But if we believe that we are winners through Christ, God can help us to sow and reap like winner. A key idea in today’s discussion is “We should work on starving losing beliefs.”
1. Starve losing beliefs by feeding the winners. Notice in Matthew 12:43-45 the emphasis placed on keeping one’s space occupied, so the devil will not come and occupy it. We should work on keeping our minds occupied (e.g., practice morning, mid-day, evening, and “get back on track” routines).
We should keep our mouths occupied with words of life, not death. Sometimes it is better to be quiet than to speak negatively. We should keep our actions occupied with habits and routines that help us to be happy, healthy, and wealthy disciples of Christ with mutually supportive relationships and with track records and plans for contributing to and blessing others. Let’s work on keeping our space occupied.
2. Starve the losing belief of “permanent problems.” Passages like Psalm 30:5 teaches us that weeping and wailing may endure the night, but joy comes in the morning. In other words, our problems are not permanent (see Martin Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism).
God can change our emotional, physical (see Jn. 5; II Cor. 5:8), financial (see Job 42), relational (see Mk. 3:33-35), and contribution (see Mk. 12:41-44; Acts 9:36-42) situations. Don’t allow a bad five minutes to destroy your whole day or a bad day destroy an entire week.
Remind yourself that “This too shall pass. It will not always be like this. God is turning it around for me.” Let’s starve the losing belief of “permanent problems.”
3. In the meantime. Passages like James 2:17 teaches that faith without works is dead. Here are three suggestions for what to do, while we wait on God to change things for us.
First, cooperate with God. Don’t just pray for a job and for your health, look for a job and follow your treatment plan. Second, praise the Lord anyhow (see Ps 42:11). The more you praise God, the better you will feel.
Third, experience the peace of God. Peace is a state of mind, not a description of your circumstances. Philippians 4:7; Isaiah 26:3 support our ability to have peace, while waiting on God to change things for us. Let’s work on doing our part, while waiting on God to do His.
4. Starve the losing belief of “pervasive problems.” Passages like John 8:44; I Peter 5:8 teach that the devil is a liar and out to destroy God’s people. One of the lies he tells is that problems in one area of your life means that you have problems in every area of your life.
He tempts us to believe that losing a job, getting a divorce, losing a loved one, or being publicly embarrassed is the end of the world. Hebrews 13:5b teaches that God will never leave us or forsake us.
Even if you suffer mental and physical illness, lose your job and wealth, and all of your friends turn on you, if you are saved, you still have the Lord. Because God will never leave us, our problems are not absolutely pervasive.
The Lord is able to fix whatever is broke, smooth out whatever is rough. Remind yourself that “I still have the Lord. God is still working things out for my good.” Let’s work on focusing on God’s presence, instead of magnifying the problems that we see.
5. Make sure you are saved. John 3:16 supports the idea that one is saved from going to Hell by accepting Jesus as one’s savior by faith. The promises of God’s blessings are for His people. Make sure you are saved.
Make sure you have asked and are trusting God to save you because of Jesus’ substitute death for your sins. Let’s make sure that we are saved, so we can genuinely rejoice about God’s promises.
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