“If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
One of life’s great battles is to maintain a positive spirit amidst overwhelming negativity. Your spirit communicates volumes to your family and those around you. Regardless of your upbringing, temperament type, or past history; you can nurture an upbeat attitude that flavors your home.
ONE – Purpose to be an encourager. Speak words of life. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Build up your wife and children with words. Don’t down-talk family members. Compliment every constructive effort and attempt you observe. There was a man who always encouraged his pastor every Sunday, routinely finding something praiseworthy to say. But one Sunday the sermon was a flop. Laboring to find something supportive to say to his pastor, he shook his hand and said, “Great text Pastor! Great text!” If you try, you can find something good to say to your family.
TWO – Fulfill your role as director. Direct each of your children in the path they should take. Observe their natural bents, proclivities, and capacities. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). You should know your children better than anyone else. Guide them. Encourage them in the areas where they excel. Provide exposure to learning opportunities. Give them responsibilities. Involve them in projects. Build something together. Buy your sons tools and materials to use. Teach them how to work with their hands. Refuse to make pansies out of your boys.
THREE – Create an inspiring atmosphere in your home. Sights and sounds affect us greatly. “Mine eye affecteth mine heart” (Lamentations 3:51). What you see affects what you think. Your visual intake is the fodder that your mind feeds upon. What you see affects what you desire. And what you see continuously you begin to believe. Select images, pictures, and quotes to adorn the walls of your home and be sure to eliminate contaminating media!
The things we constantly hear impact us for good or evil. Your words should be an example of graciousness—see Ephesians 4:29.
Choose uplifting music to fill the airwaves in your house, using high quality speakers for the rooms where you spend the most time. Pleasant melodies and songs of praise should reverberate throughout your dwelling—“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).
Be extremely careful of whose voice you hear. Negative reports will contaminate your soul. If you passively listen to needless criticism instead of rebuking and refusing it, it will taint your spirit. Don’t permit slander in your home. As one Puritan said, “He that receives a slander carries the devil in his ear. He that speaks a slander carries the devil in his tongue.”
Cleanse the negativity from your own heart. I know a very serious Christian man who is meticulous in every area of his life having been nurtured on “moralistic preaching” majoring on performance and conformity. Unsurprisingly, he has lost his children—none attends church or has a heart for God. Perhaps if he had focused on heart issues rather than dress codes etc., things may have turned out differently. You must follow your conscience and convictions, but it’s better to emphasize what you are “for” than what you are “against.”
FOUR – Refuse to be a bottom-feeder. Don’t obsess over the failures of others or read the career critics who catalog the faults of Christian leaders. A “Dirt-devil” is a religious individual who can suck up filth on the best of saints. Some people find fault like there is a reward for it. Studying the defects of another will not assist you in developing personal virtue. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). Give your mind over to heavenly realities. Anybody can dig up the dirt; you be the one who looks for the gold.
To Think and Pray About…
- Remember always to think before you speak!
- Identify five or more strategies you might use this week to promote a positive mindset.
- Guard your heart and be sure to purge unduly negative elements from it.
The is chapter is taken from “The Extraordinary Father”. CLICK HERE to learn more about the book.