207. POSITIVITY OR CHRISTIANITY?
(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 4)
I don’t mean to burst your bubble but I must. If you have professed to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, my question to you is this: Positivity or Christianity? Take your pick.
If you are aiming to please people, to stay in their good graces and to only say and do the things that will never upset them, then you cannot please God and you cannot be his servant. If you are aiming to be positive above all else, then there is no way that you can stay faithful to God’s Word because there is stuff in the Word of God that offends.
Hebrews 4:12 states:
- “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The Word of God which is contained in the Bible, therefore pierces and discerns. It strips and exposes and as human beings, we do not like to be exposed. We hate the idea that there is a book that can get to the root of our motives, that sees us for what and who we really are, that we cannot fool, hoodwink or manipulate and that is unapologetic in exposing our flaws, the ugliness and selfishness within and dares demand that we repent and change.
The unbeliever therefore says: “Don’t talk about punishment, judgment and wrath. Don’t talk about sin and hell. Be positive!” The believer likewise sometimes says, when under conviction from the Holy Spirit: “Don’t talk about truth. Don’t make me feel bad. Don’t remind me that God can see my heart and the folly within. Pretend that there is nothing wrong with me and that I did not sin when I did this or that. Oh for the sake of peace and the preservation of my wounded ego, be positive!”
Yet, Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a SWORD.” That SWORD is THE WORD OF GOD.
If nobody gets upset therefore, when, as a Christian, you apply God’s Word to situations faithfully (not deceitfully) and use your gifts and talents to do what God has called you to do and within the boundaries that he has set and everybody is pleased with your message, then you can bet that there is something wrong with your message. For, if your message is derived from the Word of God, if you cling to it and unflinchingly, people are not going to always be pleased. They will be mad at you, they will badmouth you, they will speak all manner of evil against you and they may even stop speaking to you.
NEVERTHELESS, God’s truth remains. Isaiah 40:8 tells us,“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand FOR EVER.”
Pleasing people and pleasing God cannot possibly be achieved simultaneously. The two are mutually exclusive. It is either you are sold-out for Christ completely, no matter the cost or you are about pleasing people. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways. To whom do you owe your allegiance?
In the Old Testament, Adam chose to please Eve his wife over God, by choosing it seems, not to offend her. He therefore took the fruit she gave him and ate it, although he knew full well, he was going against God’s Word. Yet, sadly, pleasing his wife (a mere creation) seemed to be more important to him than pleasing God (the Creator).
Why am I writing about this issue of positivity versus Christianity? Well, someone told me some months ago, that I needed to be more positive and inspiring. He didn’t like how, through God-given discernment, I always seemed to be exposing the devil’s lies and strategies in light of God’s Word. Additionally, having had a respectful and honest conversation with him of some issues I had noted that he needed to address (and which I genuinely wanted him to, as it would be of great benefit to his life and invite more of God’s blessing), I guess he took offence. As a professing Christian, he didn’t like that I was pointing out areas to him that were not exactly Christ-like and which he needed with God’s grace, to work on changing.
Instead of humbling himself therefore and going to the Lord with the issue and examining what I had told him in the light of the Word, he decided in his pride, to deflect, by accusing me of always picking on him (which was not at all true) and not being positive. He even went so far as to “requite the favour”, as he called it, by trying to bring up flaws that he had pointed out about my character in the past, which I had acknowledged, taken to the Lord, had begun working on and was making some good progress in. The long and short of it was that he felt injured by what I had told him (although it was the truth) and wanted me to say good things, things that inspire and which would make people feel good about themselves.
I pondered for a while on what he said, as I truly try to accept constructive criticism so that I can change where needed for the better but I realized that this was not constructive criticism. It was meant as retaliation for my daring to expose some ugliness within him and it was also an attempt to silence me, in the future.
In any event, when I considered what he wanted me to be and what that would mean, I concluded that no, I could not be positive.
First of all, in Leviticus 19:17, the Israelites were commanded not to hate their brother in their heart but instead, the verse stated, “…Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.” It therefore encouraged frank and honest discussions with fellow brothers and sisters, though difficult, as opposed to inwardly nursing resentment, ill-will and hate.
This principle is reiterated in the New Testament, where it states,“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” It is therefore applicable to brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
We ought not to actively be looking for faults in others but if through discernment, we see a fault and it is affecting us, in addition to praying about it, the Bible endorses our going to that brother or sister, not to speak positive things but to tell him his fault honestly.
We can certainly begin our conversation by letting the person know of the positive attributes we have observed about his character, even as the glorified Jesus did when outlining the issues he had in the book of Revelation with each of the seven Churches in Asia. Truth be told, this is exactly what I had done. I was therefore amazed at the end, that although I did this and was careful in choosing my words and watched my tone, that the person I spoke to, still took offence.
In any event, I cannot be positive, as my fellow professing brother said I should be because my aim in life is not to be positive or popular. I was not created and redeemed to God for these purposes but to PROMOTE the truth of Jesus Christ and to be HIS SERVANT.
By all means, we should be positive in our outlook on life (and I think that I am very much so) but not positive to the extent where we deny and reject truth.
This brings me to my third issue. The positivity which people nowadays want us to embrace is one that denies reality. A person would be ill therefore and not feeling well and if, in response to an enquiry as to how he is feeling, he tells the truth and says, “I’m not feeling well today”, many on the positivity train would be quick to say: “Don’t say that! Be positive!”
What they mean is that being positive as they define it, is to never say or admit anything that is negative or considered bad, even if that which is bad is the truth.
Yet, in the Bible, when Jairus approached Jesus for help concerning his daughter, he did not couch what he had to say in ‘positive’ terms, as the reality was that his daughter was either at death’s door or dead. Instead, he was honest about the situation and said it exactly as it was. In fact, Matthew 9:18 records him as telling Jesus, “My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her and she shall live” while Mark 5:23 records him as having said, “My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”
Either way, Jairus spoke the truth about his daughter’s situation but expressed faith (not necessarily positivity), that Jesus could reverse the situation. This reminds us that we are called to have faith in Jesus. We are not called to be positive. Sometimes we think that these two terms are synonymous but they are not. Being positive requires us to see everything through rose-coloured glasses and to even lie about what we really see, so as to avoid saying anything negative, whereas having faith in Jesus allows us to be honest about situations, even if they are bad but still to have hope in Jesus’ will, power and ability to deliver.
Similar to Jairus, when the angel of the Lord visited Manoah’s wife to let her know that she would conceive and have a child, he too did not structure his words in positive terms. He told the stark, blunt truth but then gave her a reason to hope in God’s power to bring to pass his promise. He told her frankly, “…Behold now, thou art barren and bearest not but thou shalt conceive and bear a son.” (Judges 13:3).
Those who believe in positivity and seek to make it a doctrine, would have disagreed with what the angel said in the first part of the statement. Although this couple had evidently been trying for a baby for years and nothing was happening and everybody must have concluded, as was accurate, that the wife was barren, those who tell us that we must be positive, would have much preferred that the angel not even mention the word barren. They would have much preferred that he kept it positive and tell her that she was fertile and would bear. Yet this is not what the angel did. He had good news yes but he started with the painful truth.
This is the problem with being positive. It sounds wonderful but it is not rooted entirely in truth. It endorses the speaking of a lie, if only to maintain a positive outlook on everything.
That is why I cannot accept the whole ‘JUST BE POSITIVE’ mantra. Anything that is not based on truth in its entirety is to be rejected, no matter how popular it is and how much it has become embraced in contemporary ‘Church’ circles. For, where there is a lie, you can bet that Satan is behind it. He is a mastermind at mixing some truth with some lies, even as he did with Eve in the garden of Eden because he is the father of lies.
In John 8:44, Jesus who is 100% true, said of him: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
On the whole, to jump fully on the positive bandwagon, as many people who ‘claim’ to know Jesus today, have done, on all matters, including those with spiritual implications, would mean to become intoxicated with nonsense and to abort God’s calling on my life. For it would mean to compromise, to renege on my responsibility as a Christian and to walk away from what God wants me to do.
Certainly he hasn’t called me to be negative, to nit-pick, nag, be overly critical or complain but if an issue has spiritual implications, he has called me to declare TRUTH. His Word tells us to “…reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2). How do we do these things while only speaking what is positive? Clearly, there is a conflict between what God’s Word tells us to do and what positivity requires!
People may want me to be positive at all costs and at all times therefore but is that what almighty God wants? I think not. What if what I say is truth and it is delivered in the spirit of love and it is necessary? Must I compromise truth for the sake of positivity? God forbid.
Being positive sounds nice to the ears but it does not necessarily equate with truth. To have positivity as my goal and to aim to always inspire people, would mean to sacrifice the Word of God which is truth. For, it is not possible to put a ‘positive’ spin on certain ugly realities, like sin. Truth requires that we call a spade a spade, that we say how things really are, whether good or bad, even if people get upset with us.
We are not called to suppress truth under the guise of positivity. We are called to use wisdom and therefore, timing, tone, temperament and choice of words are important but we are not called to be charismatic or to aim to impress, appease or please the consciences of people, by telling them what they want to hear. I am called as a SERVANT of Christ, to promote the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ and the things that pertain to GODLINESS, nothing else. I am not called to inspire. I am not called to impress. I am not even called to be well-liked. Truth be told, I am not.
Galatians 1:10 reminds me, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
It thereby follows, that I cannot be a faithful servant of Christ and embrace positivity, as positivity’s aim is to always make the hearers or readers feel good about themselves, even if this means to court them with lies.
Whispering sweet nothings into the ears and minds of people (which is what being positive requires), does not bring about conversion or transformation. It cannot lead to the salvation of a soul or repentance where a Christian has erred. It is deceitful at best, as it gives the impression that everything is okay when in truth and in fact, it is not.
I have never been popular and most likely never will be and I’ve come to accept and even to be thankful for that. For, popular people always have to battle between not upsetting other people with truth and serving God, who requires us to worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). I have no such problems. I am already unpopular, so I am perfectly positioned to promote God’s truth with my pen and in one-on-one conversations with people, without fear or favour.
Not because people have what the Bible describes as ‘itching ears’ today and therefore, find truth to be increasingly intolerant, does it mean that those who promote it must back down or water down what they have to say or write. The Word of God states:
- “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
The message of positivity is a message of fables. At the sake of being unpopular therefore, not well-liked, not highly regarded or considered to be uninspiring and too critical because I do not promote positivity, as God’s servant, I must still do as God has called me to do, which is to uncompromisingly promote TRUTH.
At the end of our time here, truly positive outcomes would only have been procured, if we obeyed our Lord and sought to please HIM, not man. For, it is only when a person surrenders his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and renounces his sin, that he can look forward in hope, to a positive end. It is only when a Christian lives how God has said to live and without compromising, that that Christian can expect truly positive and sustainable returns.
Any concept of a positivity outside of Jesus Christ and living life the way that his Word says to live it, any positivity that frowns at truth instead of wholeheartedly embracing it, is nothing more than a farce. For, it is founded upon deception. It is empty, it is delusional and although it makes the hearers or readers feel good about themselves, it is not good for their spiritual welfare. In short, it leads to no worthwhile end.
The truth hurts. The truth offends. This is no secret. Yet as God’s SERVANTS, if we call ourselves Christians, we are mandated to deliver it to unbelievers and believers alike, always in the spirit of meekness and motivated by love but without ever compromising, so as to gain man’s favour.
What I’ve written above may gain me no likes on social media and it will certainly not endear me to many hearts. That is okay. As I said before, the Lord did not create and redeem me to be popular but to promote Him and what he stands for.
I am always pleased to see in my site stats, how many people (though their names remain anonymous) have taken the time to visit my Website and read my Articles and to see a listing of which Articles they read. Only God could draw them to the Page and guide them as to which Articles to click on and therefore, I am thankful that this work, which I consider to be a GREAT WORK is not in vain.
NEVERTHELESS, if no one was to read what I write, given that I’ve been called to do this, I must still press on and without compromising on truth. I cannot, for the sake of readership, abort the message and begin to promote positivity. I cannot change the message I’ve been given from God’s Word and instead, write inspirational stuff (as many have decided to do), so as to gain readers.
If a person does that, then he would be dealing with God’s Word deceitfully and based on the scriptures, he would be accursed. In Galatians 1:8-9, Paul made it abundantly clear:
- “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
A similar sentiment is expressed in Revelation 22:18-19 where it reads:
- “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
Although I aim to do everything I put my hands to with excellence therefore, I do not aim to have the #1 most popular Website but to point people to the truths contained in the #1 book, the Word of God.
I do what I do for God, not for fanfare, popularity or attention. I do it because I love Him, love his Word, find everything that pertains to Him and his Kingdom to be exciting, joyful and beautiful, am depending on and have trusted in his Son Jesus my Saviour for eternal life, he has called me to this work (despite my initial procrastination), equipped me for it and I enjoy being and feel honoured to be, his servant. I must therefore be about my Father’s business and that involves spreading TRUTH and nothing else.
What about you? If you have professed to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, where is your allegiance? Gaining popularity with people, promoting self or pleasing God? What is your message? Is it based on God’s Word completely or have you deviated to appease the masses?
If you are concerned about offending people, I put the question to you again: Positivity or Christianity? Take your pick.
(Written on 11th January, 2022)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 18 – ‘Riches, Abundance, Breakthrough And Promotion – Lies From The Pit Of Hell’
- Note 27 – ‘You Cannot Command Your Morning Or Day’
- Note 28 – ‘Our Words Have Power – A Lie From The Pit Of Hell’
- Note 42 – ‘Ten Red Flags That That Speaker Or Teacher is a Wolf Disguised In Sheep’s Clothing or Operating Under the Devil’s Deception’
- Note 162 – ‘The Spirit Of Prophecy’
- Note 203 – ‘How Important Is Truth To Christianity?’