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Overcoming negative thinking
(Sixth in the series,
Overcoming the Enemies of Joy)

Jerry Varnado, pastor
Gateway Church, Athens GA

May 14, 2006

  • Main Scripture text: Philippians 4:4-9

  • Everything that we process in our minds has an effect on who we are and how we behave.

  • If we allow negative images to dominate our thought life, we will become negative-thinking people -- always focused on problems rather than solutions, always expecting the worst rather than God's best.

  • Negative-thinking people tend to be fearful. They seldom take risks. They are often underachievers, never reaching their potential in God.

    Sermons in this series

    1-The Promise of Joy

    2-Overcoming Unbelief

    3-Overcoming Self-Centeredness

    4-Overcoming Our Fear

    5-Overcoming Anger

    6-Overcoming Negative Thinking

    7-Rejoice Always! Rejoice!

  • I'm not talking about "realists," those who look at a problem and try to develop workable solutions. I am talking about people so negative in their outlook they cannot even see the possibility of success.

  • It has been my experience, and the experience of the church through the ages, that God invariably asks His people to do scary things -- things we can't do with our own knowledge, power, and resources.

  • If we are controlled by negative thinking, we will find a reason not to obey God's call.

  • Let me give you way four avenues for overcoming negative thinking. Three are verses to memorize and meditate on frequently:


Philippians 4:8:

"[W]hatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things.

To obey this text, we may have to avoid sources that are pervasively negative.


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Another verse -- Romans 8:28:

"[W]e know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

If this is imbedded in our spirit how can we be negative?

God who made the grave a place of hope has declared that He will use everything, good or bad, that happens to us to work for our good!


1 Peter 3:15a:

"[I]n your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

  • Ultimately, we overcome negativity by fixing our hope firmly in Jesus Christ, our Lord and King.

  • As the late Dr. S.M. Lockridge put it, Jesus "supplies strength for the weak, He's available for the tempted and the tried, He sympathizes and He saves, He strengthens and sustains, He guards and He guides, He heals the sick, He forgives sinners, He discharges debtors, and He delivers captives.... His promise is sure, His light is matchless, His goodness is limitless, His mercy is everlasting, His love never changes, His word is enough, His grace is sufficient."

  • Friends, this is the King whom we serve -- and if we stay focused on Him, negative thinking will not find any place to hide in our hearts.

Supporting texts: 1 Corinthians 15:33 | Philippians 4:8 | Romans 8:28 | 1 Peter 3:15

A mp3 audio file of this sermon is here (37 min.).
(Download to a PC by right clicking on the link and choosing "Save Target As." Mac users: click, hold, and choose "Download Link to Disk." Depending on your connection speed, the file may take several minutes to download.)

An audio tape of the sermon summarized above is available free of charge (U.S. requests only).

Request a tape by
calling or writing the Gateway Church office.
Please specify tape number 060514a: Overcoming Negative Thinking.

© 2006 Gerald R. Varnado

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