Posted: 1/28/19 at 4:25pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
The emotional climate of our culture today needs some climate change.
We need to become a part of changing the mood and atmosphere of our culture. In today’s column we will consider how to purposely begin changing our focus and filters with which we look at—and relate to—the world.
Most of our thoughts and actions today are reactive and rarely proactive.
When all we do is react to what others do or say, we are allowing the attitudes and actions of others to control our lives; indeed, we are giving them control over our thoughts, emotions, and decisions. In reality, God is the only one to whom we should surrender so much influence or control.
Who decides whether I spend the day letting others yank my chain? Often it is the person who yanks the hardest. But why? It is ultimately me, myself, who has the ability to purposely decide what I will do.
Do others really have the right to intimidate me into behaving like them?
Am I slave of a party, a faction, political correctness or other people? Or am a follower of Jesus?
Do I have to react every time someone says something that pushes my hot button?
No, I do not. I can choose not to react or choose a way to respond.
I can choose to walk away, to fight, to stand firm while saying nothing, or to speak out. If I let someone control me by pushing my hot buttons, the fault is mine. I cannot stop people from saying mean, taunting, or hurtful things; however I can decide the most appropriate way and time to engage that subject, theme, or person.
Rather than spending our days reacting to the agendas of others, why not take a proactive way to begin to change the emotional climate around us? In Psalm 103:1-5 we are encouraged to put on new filters, or change the lens through which we look at the world, and to speak about the goodness of God instead of the decadence of man. In Psalm 103:1-2 (ESV) we read: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”
The word “bless” means to speak well of, or to speak words of excellence about, or to praise. This means our focus should be on the excellence of God, not the bantering of humans.
We often thank God for the day, for his provisions, for his protection, and this is great; but giving thanks is often a private conversation with God. However, praise or blessing God is something that is done in the presence of others. It is speaking to others about the excellences of God, inviting them to focus on God for that moment.
We can thank our child for doing the chores, but oh what a difference when they are present and hear us bragging on them publicly to others. That is praise, or blessing them.
The writer of the psalm mentions some things we can praise God about, including his forgiveness, healing, mercy, compassion, and how God rescued us and gives us eternal life. We need not use the word “praise or bless” to accomplish this.
The psalm instructs us to tell others about the goodness of God—the benefits we receive from God. To illustrate, in a conversation we can say something like: “Wow, did you see that gorgeous sunset last night? Isn’t God amazing that he blesses us with such beautiful sunsets and gives us eyes to see and interpret that beauty?”
Or, upon coming into work you can praise God for a great night’s sleep, saying something like: “Isn’t it amazing how much better our day goes when God gives us a good night’s sleep so that our strength, patience, and energy are renewed and we can deal with the next day?”
As people begin to focus on the goodness of God the climate of our homes, our schools, and our workplaces can change for the better. As we speak of the excellences of God, we help others to focus on something beneficial to all of us.
God is good! Spread the news and change the climate around you in practical and beneficial ways. Bless the Lord and bring on the climate change!