Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! — 2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMPC)
Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind – by Joyce Meyer
“I’ve always had a short temper. That’s just the way I am.”
“I’m a straightforward person. That’s who I am, and that’s how people need to accept me.”
“I call things as I see them. I don’t sugarcoat anything.”
This list could go on endlessly, but the one thing these excuses have in common is that each is meant to justify people remaining the way they are. It’s a way of resisting change.
Making excuses also creates space for Satan to creep into our minds. Being the deceiver that he is, he tells us that we’re not rude—we’re just being honest, and people need to respect that quality in us. We think we speak the truth as we see it, and we’re not cowards or hypocrites. If the devil can convince us that we don’t need to grow—that we’ll always be fine exactly the way we are—he’s won a serious battle in our lives.
In fact, the devil can give us a lot of excuses for not changing. If he convinces us that other people are at fault because “they’re just too sensitive” or “they don’t want to hear the truth and face reality,” we don’t feel responsible to grow in the way we communicate, and we think it’s all right to say whatever we want, which isn’t true.
Another example is this: No matter how negative we might be in our thinking, most of us wouldn’t call ourselves “negative.” We’d prefer words like logical, realistic, forthright, or candid. Not facing the truth about ourselves is one part of Satan’s deceptive work.
When I went through a season where I was extremely negative, I wouldn’t have thought of myself as a negative person—I thought I was just being honest. If I saw something wrong, I spoke up, and often offered my counsel on ways for people to change. Because I could see the weaknesses and problems of others, I was happy to show them how they could overcome. On my worst days, I found things wrong with all my friends and everything they did. I didn’t have to look for things to criticize—they just appeared without me having to look for them. I didn’t consider it negative because I thought I was merely trying to be helpful. I was so full of pride at the time that it never occurred to me that people didn’t really want my help. They wanted acceptance and encouragement, not judgment and criticism.
As I said, I had never thought of myself as being negative—that is, until God dealt with me and convicted my heart about the way I was treating people.
I’m not trying to condemn anyone for being negative, frank, blunt, candid, or whatever term you use for it, because condemning is in itself being negative. Instead, I want to help believers recognize if this is an attitude problem for them, and help them know that God is willing and able to help them get free from it. The path to freedom begins when we face our problems—without making excuses—and invite Him to help us overcome them.
We start the Christian life as new creations of God. Our past is wiped away. Our walk with God is one of change—of growth—of moving onward. We know what we’ve been in the past, but we also know that we don’t have to remain that way now or in the future. With Jesus’ help, we can have our minds renewed with His Word and always be growing.
The most difficult part may be to say to God, “I’m a negative person, but I want to change.” Once you’re honest with Him about your struggle, you can begin to win the battle and see more freedom in your thoughts, words and attitudes.
Prayer Starter: Father, please give me the grace to let go of negative, critical thinking, and help me see people and situations the way You do. Thank You for helping me renew my mind with truth, and to use my words to encourage and build others up. In Jesus’ Name, amen.