Dealing With Dark Thoughts Part 4

Editor's note: The beginning of the message is missing from the audio recording.

VIII. Beware of placing too much value on men’s opinion of yourself (or of others). 1CO 4:3. A. It is this very error that is causing such spiritual, emotional and psychological trouble among social mediaholics, particularly younger people. Dark thoughts overtake them. B. It is one of the ironies of life that the person who is striving to do well and doesn’t worry much about his own popularity is likely to end up the more respected and better rounded. C. The value system of corrupt and ignorant men is a poor measure. LUK 16:15; PSA 12:8; PRO 28:4. D. We do well to strive to have a good report in this world, especially in the opinion of people of good faith and character. ACT 16:1-2; 1TI 3:7; 3JO 1:12. E. A life of service to the rule and model of Jesus Christ gains heavenly and earthly approval. ROM 14:17-19; ACT 24:16. F. A godly life may seem futile or even generate false accusation and a lack of popularity. 1. God will vindicate it in due time. PSA 37:5-6; ISA 66:5. 2. In the meantime, pray for your troublers. MAT 5:44. G. Beware also of the value of your own opinion of yourself. 1. One could because of an unbalanced perspective or a faulty standard be given over to the control of pride (3JO 1:9-10) or of a false burden that forbids his fullness. COL 2:16-17. 2. We ought not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. ROM 12:3; PSA 131:3. 3. If you have to commend yourself, is it because God or men aren’t seeing you as you would like to be seen? 2CO 10:18. 4. Every good gift, talent or promotion comes from God Who can take it away to humble us (and then we must learn to process the humbling without resorting to dark thoughts). JAM 1:17; 1CO 4:7; PSA 75:4-7. 5. The best Christians need occasional humbling. 2CO 12:7. H. (GAL 5:26) Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

IX. As Christians, we have a Spirit and directives to be defined by such things as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, etc. GAL 5:22-23. A. We are to be “...wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (MAT 10:16). B. We are to model our Savior’s meekness and gentleness. MAT 11:29; 2CO 10:1. C. We are to be in control of our passions, emotions. PRO 16:32; 25:28. D. We are to respect authority. ROM 13:1. E. It is because of such things that we sometimes struggle under oppression where boundaries are not being respected but we don’t want to react in ungodly ways. 1. In all relationships, personal or work, there are necessary boundaries that should be respected and, if continually disregarded, some pushback is warranted. 2. Authority, for example, is to be wielded for the building up, not the destruction of others. 2CO 10:8. F. Consider the benefits of justified anger, hatred and fighting. They have their times. ECC 3:7-8. 1. Whereas we are to love others, we are to hate evil (ROM 12:9) and this presupposes that there are times when it must be resisted (always in our own hearts, occasionally when it is being brought against us). a. Minor issues can be absorbed and doing so is Christian. MAT 5:39. b. But what about where one’s life or livelihood is at stake and the ability to supply for one’s household in jeopardy? In this current era of “mandates,” this issue is very relevant. 2. Whereas we are not to give in to the negative passion of fear (HEB 13:6), we do have license to exercise the negative passion of anger (with qualifications). a. Justified wrath is an attribute of God. PSA 2:4-5. b. Our Lord Jesus Christ flexed His muscles against the wicked corruption of the house of God. JOH 2:13-17. c. Christ was sometimes angry with hypocrites (MAR 3:5) and even His disciples. MAR 16:14; LUK 24:25 c/w MAT 5:22. d. We are to be angry without sin. EPH 4:26. e. Whereas we are to be “...slow to wrath...” (JAM 1:19-20), nor wrathful (full of wrath, PRO 15:18), we are not at fault to use it responsibly when it is justified. f. I say with caution that there is a time to curse a fig tree by faith. MAT 21:19. g. Better to resist oppression and wickedness by justified anger than condone it by fear. Are you on the side of righteousness in a matter? Then stand your ground. h. Just remember that hanging on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other guy to die. 3. By such means boundaries are established and friction sharpens. PRO 27:17.

X. Closing pointers. A. Be not given to evil surmising about others. Get the other side of the story before assuming fault. 1TI 6:4; JOH 7:51. B. Give people the benefit of the doubt where you can. Be wary of rapid generalizations. PSA 116:11. C. Choose the high road. Deal with frustation, disappointment, etc. by looking first at self. PSA 73:22. 1. Ask yourself whether you could have done, or could yet do something to improve your life or circumstances. 2. Don’t default to blaming God or others for your status when you bear some blame yourself. 3. GAL 6:4-5. D. Stop filling your mind with negatives and focus rather on all the good that God represents and the blessings that are still available under the bondage of corruption. 1CO 15:33; PHIL 4:8.

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