Today I was thinking about how easy it is to adopt the attitudes of people around you without even realizing it. The Bible talks about choosing good company, and that "bad company corrupts good character," but I'm not necessarily talking about good or bad people. I'm talking about their attitudes.
Of course, it is completely possible for a good person to have a bad attitude sometimes. But have you ever been around someone who is just negative? Who always sees the bad in situations, and in people? Have you found yourself influenced and affected by their negativity? Have you ever let it stifle your joy?
It's a crazy thing to watch the negativity of one person affect a whole group of people. I have seen the mood of a group of people change because one negative person entered the room. Why are we so easily influenced by negativity? I believe that even well-meaning people can be negative, without realizing it. They take their eyes off their destiny in Christ and start worrying about the state of the economy, future of our nation, and other issues that drag them down from joy into despair. Negativity is the enemy of joy, but such an easy mindset to slip into.
Fortunately, joy can also be contagious. The kind of joy that comes from a deep understanding of our destiny in Christ can keep us from being dragged down by the negativity of others, and can even combat that negative mindset. Supernatural, Spirit-birthed joy will change the atmosphere. Just as worship brings victory to our lives, joy brings a change in perspective that lifts us out of the depths of worry, stress and strife and places our eyes on the eternal rather than the temporary. Paul speaks of this when writing to Timothy. He says :
"I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy." (2 Tim. 1:4)
Here is someone whose life has the ability to bring about joy in someone else! When people sense that kind of joy in someones life, it can have a truly transforming effect. As failed, flawed humans, we are drawn to the heavenly. The hope of something greater than what we can see intrigues us. So when someone with a negative mindset is around someone who chooses joy, they can't help but be affected. It may not take shape in their attitude immediately, but it plants a seed and gives them hope that there is something worth rejoicing about.
I want my joy to be contagious. I want people to see me worshipping in the best AND the worst of times, and to see that my choice to rejoice is unchanged by my circumstances. I want the joy of the Spirit in my life to change the atmosphere wherever I go. My prayer is that the joy in my heart will be so great because of my choice to walk in the Spirit daily, that there will be no room for negativity to creep in.
When we choose to let our joy permeate our lives, it will overflow into the hearts and lives of others. And I don't know about you, but I think that this world could definitely use a dose of the joy of the Lord!