It’s been a long, long winter here in the northeast USA. February was the snowiest month on record for many cities. Tons of snow, very minimal sunshine—if ever there was a time for the winter doldrums to set in, this was it.
In contrast to the massive piles of snow are the deep ruts common to country lanes and sometimes even city streets. Similar to the Oregon Trail, these paths have been used so often that they appear to have a sense of permanency.
And so it is with our thought lives. Our media-saturated culture continually inundates us with negative news and discouraging thoughts—and in this case, it’s a year round deluge. Over the course of time such negative thought patterns become deep ruts that corral and direct our lives.
Consider a person’s daily routine in our nation:
Wake up. Stop by the bathroom and greet the day with an unfortunate look at your unkempt, aging self in the mirror. Pick up the newspaper, flip on the TV, or start the computer to grab the morning headlines.
Commute to work, listening to more news on the car radio. Spend time on and off throughout your day talking with coworkers about your frustrations with your favorite sports teams, government policies, the ballooning national debt, a volatile stock market and the most recent natural disaster. Terrorist attacks have become so common in our world that few even make for topics of discussion.
Stop by the grocery store on the way home—and of course, check out the tabloids while waiting in line: “Martian Baby Born to Hollywood Actress”; “Famous Athlete Cheats on His Wife—Again” Arrive home and flip on the TV to catch the evening news.
The vast majority of professing Christians in our country feeds on a diet that is high in saturated negativity. At what point do we focus on the truth of God’s word? In no way am I suggesting that we bury our heads in the sand, but the kingdom of God operates by faith and very little of what our secular media provides will bolster a person’s ability to trust God.
We know in principle that life offers more, but ruts are easy. We eat the same foods, practice the same habits, and watch the same TV screens, holding out hope that a new movie or come from behind victory will provide the life and vitality we lack. For the most part our efforts to break free prove futile as we find ourselves sliding back into those all familiar habits and mindsets. And so the ruts deepen.
Even taking the time to consider the issue of negativity can carry a weight of discouragement. But real change is possible if we are deliberate to develop a change of focus. Now that the snow is melting, this is a great time to start!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9 (HCSB)