The default state of life in the world is negativity. When we live with the reality of our outer selves, rather than the reality of our inner selves, we refuse to allow ourselves access to positivity as a mindset. We take disappointment, hurt and rejection to be the base level of our expectations in life, and adjust our outlook accordingly.
And the worst thing is that this negative mindset is contagious!
It affects how we express ourselves, and positive people surrounding us are weakened by our negativity. How could they not be? The response to their encouragement is contempt? We become the negative experience that disillusions our peers, and so the infection spreads. We become a Trojan Horse in the midst of the city under siege, spilling a horde of enemy troops out to invade and conquer the people holding out.
Understand, there’s no judgement involved in this. Rather, there’s overwhelming empathy, because the attitude is pervasive. It’s everywhere. You’ll hear it explained time and again: “It’s perfectly natural. It’s just the world we live in.”
Well, no. We don’t live in the world. We are supernatural creatures.
That’s the blessing of the Kingdom. We have a new way to be. A new pattern to trace our lives after.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Nowhere in Scripture is the world’s way of dragging us down to negative, disempowering thinking more evident than in the story of the people of Israel and their years in the wilderness.
For over four centuries, the children of God had lived subjugated by the nation of Egypt, enduring forced labor, unfair and punitive laws enacted specifically to afflict and limit them as a people, and finally—the ultimate in draconian legislation against a race—the ruling that all male children would be put to death.
These were the circumstances into which Moses was born. When God sent a grown Moses to deliver the children of Israel from their Egyptian bondage, the people that were brought out of servitude were not the same as the people who had entered it. The experience had changed them as a race, made them fearful and incapable of trust.
God recognized this in them, even as He expected their faithfulness to Him, because God doesn’t ask anything of us that we cannot deliver. His compassion for His fallen people was immense, as it always is. He saw the negativity and the passivity that scarred their lives and revealed Himself in ways that in any other time in history would have been utterly astonishing.
The burning bush to prophesy their deliverance.
Terrible plagues to torment their captors.
The division of the Red Sea to aid their escape, pillars of smoke and fire to guide them to the land promised to them.
Food fell from the sky to feed the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, and water sprang from rocks to quench their thirst.
The Father gave his people everything possible to assist them in restoring their faith, their belief in themselves, their belief in their future with Him, their agency and power in the world.
But it wasn’t enough for them. Negativity and a subjugated mindset remained deep within them. Free of their Egyptian overlords, when adversity struck they would begin to doubt the wisdom of abandoning their lives there. At least in Egypt, they had had roofs over their heads and would not be in danger of wholesale slaughter in hostile territory.
Finally, God could not allow the situation to continue. The generation that had left Egypt would not trust in Him to deliver them as promised, no matter how extraordinary the miracles that surrounded them. He decreed that the next generation would take the land promised to them, and so the people of Israel walked the wilderness for forty years until that broken generation was no more.
When we feel trapped or powerless in our lives, beset by terrible circumstances, the common refrain is the prayer for deliverance from those circumstances, for a miracle to occur. And miracles do occur, of course. We, as Christians, see them in everyday life. All life is a miracle! But miracles don’t provide us with faith to survive the world.
We must elevate our thinking to positivity first or, just as with the Israelites fleeing Egypt, no amount of astounding works of God will convince us.
We in the Kingdom are in a cold war against negativity that stems from the world. Negativity finds a way in, it sours and poisons and breaks us down. And then it makes us into its creatures: Trojan Horses in the midst of the city, spreading the process of penetration, demoralization and subversion further.
Negativity isn’t our inheritance in the Kingdom. Our attitude and the way that you cope with adversity tells people everything about our true spiritual conditions.
And just because we are under siege doesn’t mean we’re about to fall, or let the enemies surrounding us through the gates.
The best defense is attack and the greatest response to the pervasive negativity that the world can throw at us is an unwavering renewal of purpose.
P.S. Some good friends of mine have started a campaign to give me “the gift of time” to write and renew in health. I thought this an enormously generous thing to do and I am very appreciative. If you’d like to donate to the cause, please feel free to do so here.