Have you ever been around someone who is always negative? They criticize everyone and typically assume the worst out of those around them. These types of people are usually arrogant and extremely critical. It’s exhausting to be around them. Some of you probably already have a person in mind that is like this. I’ve noticed that this way of thinking seems to make it’s way into the people of God far too often. It’s so easy to begin to criticize what leaders and church’s are doing just because it’s different from how you do it.
I’m going to be a little vulnerable in this post. It was not too long ago that I realized I was quickly becoming this person in the church. Spiritual pride, arrogance, and elitism quickly developed and I found myself criticizing everything. I would go into a service where many encountered God, but I would find something to criticize and even though there were many good things that happened, I would choose to only dwell on the bad things. You know what I found during this time? Negativity will kill the move of God in your life. If we don’t learn to celebrate the good things God is doing, He will quickly remove a measure of His favor. The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver and a thankful heart. Psalm 37:4 teaches us that we are to delight ourselves in the Lord, and He will give us the desires of our heart. If we choose negativity and criticism over delight, we can really limit the favor of God in our lives!
Thankfully, I have many great leaders and friends who are willing to confront this nasty thing in me and over the past few months, I feel I am truly beginning to come out of this critical way of thinking. There are two things specifically the Holy Spirit revealed to me during this time that have helped me grow exponentially in the past few months.
1. Celebrate the grapes!
In Numbers 13, Moses sends 12 spies into the promised land of Canaan to see what was there. After 40 days, the spies return with a report of what they found. The twelve spies all saw the same land, but came back with two very different descriptions. 10 of the spies came back and described the promised land as full of their enemies who were devouring all of their foes. They saw giants and were fearful. The people of Israel were so fearful that they wept and wanted to return to captivity in Egypt. They chose to dwell on the negative things they found, began to criticize their leaders, and it nearly cost them the promises that God wanted to give them! This is exactly what I’m talking about. If you choose to dwell on the bad things, it will only produce criticism in your heart and will cost you the promises of God in your life.
The two remaining spies chose to dwell on the good that they found in the land. They returned talking about a land flowing with milk and honey, and clusters of grapes so big that two men had to carry them on a pole. They chose rather to celebrate the size of the grapes, instead of the size of the giants.
It’s important to see that they don’t ignore the giants. They acknowledge the problems that they had to face, but they chose to spend more time dwelling on grapes instead of giants. We still need address things that need to be dealt with, but we can’t let this take our attention away from the goodness of God’s promises.
In any situation you are going to be faced with a decision to make. You can look until you find a giant to fear or complain about, or you can choose to find the grapes in every situation. I choose to celebrate the grapes today!
2. Dig until you find gold.
The second thing that has been very influential in my journey out of negativity is something I heard Bill Johnson teach. It’s easy to see the dirt in people’s lives. Anyone can do that. However, it takes someone equipped with wisdom to choose to dig deeper until you find the gold in them. Anybody can see dirt but only some will see gold. I want to be a person that’s willing to look past what is on the exterior of a person, and find the gold in their life. I want to celebrate the good things that God has put in that person. Every single person you meet has value because they are all the workmanship of God, and they were all bought with a price by the precious blood of Jesus. We must stop criticizing each other and tearing each other apart. Let’s start celebrating the gold in every person instead of only looking at the dirt.
I hope this encouraged you as much it encouraged me. I don’t want to be a person who can only see giants and dirt, I want to find grapes and gold!
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