Staying Positive in a Negative World
Do you know what condition has the fastest infection rate? It is not the “common cold” or one of the many super viruses now found in the world. Most bacteria and viruses take several days to a week of incubation for symptoms to occur.
The condition that has the fastest incubation period is negativity. Send one negative person into a room of happy people. In only a few minutes, you can observe the depressing attitude as it spreads throughout the entire room.
It doesn’t even take person-to- person contact for this condition to spread. Turn on the world news and listen for several minutes to what is being reported. The stories of hate, crime, violence and injustice can affect and possibly infect even a healthy individual.
Negativity can take on many forms. It can present itself as pessimism, anger, gossip, grumbling or complaining. Its dark cloud sneaks in when we repeat the negative things that we have seen, heard, or experienced.
It only takes a small quantity of negativity for this disease of the spirit to multiply and take over a person’s demeanor.
So how can we build up our immunity to protect us or recover from this condition? The answer is found in the Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
Looking at the Hebrew, we read: “lev sameiakh yeiytiv geihah v’ruakh n’khei’ah t’yabesh garem.”
Lev can be defined as the heart, the will, the feelings, the intellect.
Sameiakh means to brighten up, to be joyful, to rejoice.
Yeiytiv is a prime root which is translated as make well, make sound, make beautiful, make happy, successful, make right.
Geihah translates as a cure or a medicine.
So the first half of the verse tells us that rejoicing, brightening up and being joyful heals (or cures) our heart, our will, our feelings and our intellect and makes us well, sound, beautiful, happy, successful, and right.
The rest of the Hebrew verse (n’khei’ah t’yabesh garem) would read in English, “...and an afflicted, and driven away spirit (the portion breathed into us by HaShem) becomes confused, ashamed, disappointed, withers and fails our bones (our support, our frame).”
We face a choice in every circumstance before us. We can choose to act in a positive and glad way, even when things are not the way we would like them to be. We connect to the L-rd, who is our source of joy and shalom.
If we choose to react in the flesh, it afflicts and drives away our spirit. We become confused, ashamed, and disappointed: our bones (support) wither and fail.
The apostle Kefa (Peter) puts things in proper focus in 1 Kefa (Peter) 1:6-9. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
“so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua;
“and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
Twice in this portion of text we see the word rejoice. This is the Greek word agalliao. Usually we find the word chairo is used for rejoice in the writings of the Disciples. Chairo means to be cheerful and calmly happy.
The Greek word agalliao, is formed by the two Greek words agan and hallomai. Agan means much. Hallomai means to jump or gush. When you blend the two words together, we get the word picture “jumping for joy”
When you insert those definitions into the text, it actually tells us that we are to respond to trials by jumping for joy.
How can a person jump for joy when they face trials? It is a difficult task to try to remain cheerful and calmly happy. Our natural tendency is not to respond in a cheerful way when we face difficulties. Usually our countenances fall and we can develop our own little dark cloud that hangs over our head.
The verses in 1 Peter are not telling us to ignore the situation and just start jumping and dancing around like a fool. Our jumping for joy is realizing that whatever we face, we do not face it alone. Messiah stands with us and is ready to walk with us through every situations.
The world notices what we do when we are have trials and difficulties. It is when we do not have the human strength for a situation, that they can see the L-rd’s strength shine through us.
Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) had a “thorn in the flesh.” Three times he asked the L-rd to remove it. The L-rd answered him in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
“My grace (charis, a form of chairo) is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” HaShem’s cheerfulness and calm happiness, His divine influence, is all we need. He is our source of peace in each and every difficulty.
Sha’ul’s response to the L-rd was, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah may dwell in me.”
Can you jump for joy when the washer and the car both die in the same week? Yes, you can! Our “jump for joy” becomes a leap of faith! We choose to focus on the L-rd. We tap into His calm strength and walk in His ways. Through Him, we will overcome whatever comes our way… and He will give us a cheerful and calm happy smile on our face!