Isaiah 61:1-4 NIV
“1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”
(Isaiah 61:1-4 NIV)
According to Isaiah 61:1-4, why did God choose you to be an expression of His power, love and mercy? What tools has He given to empower us to be that showcase?
I want to highlight the empowering trait of positivity today. Having a positive outlook in life stems from three things that are found in I Thessalonians 5:16-19.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.”
I. Pray Continually – Prayer is conversation with God, plain and simple.
II. Gratitude – the ability to be content and to give thanks for what you have. Every situation is an opportunity for thankfulness. Gratitude trains us to be positive.
III. Holy Spirit – He is your friend, don’t push Him away. He came to be our comforter, the One who guides us into truth.
“26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ” (John 14:26)
A. Choose – Make a choice to rejoice. Choosing to be happy overrides feelings of negativity. I really started to take this rejoicing seriously when I found out I had cancer. God placed in my heart that my mentality was going to be a good portion of what pulled me through that crisis.
I needed to have a shift in my mindset. Challenge yourself by changing your thought patterns – think on things that are good, positive, true.
B. Not Circumstantial – The ability to rejoice comes from a deep abiding joy – the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
Happiness wanes but joy sustains.
C. How I achieve and keep joy:
1. Worship – Wearing the garment of praise breaks a spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3)
“3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3)
2. Unity – (Philippians 2:1-2) Being with like-minded people is so encouraging. We all have similar goals, belief systems, we can breathe in peace. Being authentic and connected is essential to positivity.
“1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)
3. Laughter – Put light-hearted funny stuff inside. Since 2017, I watch comedy videos all of the time. I like a good meme and funny movies because laughter does you good like a medicine
“22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
Everybody gets stressed out, everybody has problems; the Bible says there is nothing new under the sun, that what you are enduring is happening to someone else out there somewhere. Be encouraged, you are not alone in your struggle.