4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
Your environment may be a stumbling block to new people. When we are anxious and get into a negative blaming state during Bible study, (instead of a place to seek God and how God’s Word can bring guidance in everyday living today), we disrupt the spirit of what community and Bible study is about. Sunday School/Bible study is a place to find hope, joy, grace and peace. It is a place to find community striving to live as followers of Christ and share Christ with the world. Negativity will breed more negativity.
One college student put things in perspective for me when I was at Samford University in a preaching class with this illustration. Are you more like a buzzard or a hummingbird? Keep in mind a buzzard gravitates towards dying, decaying things. A hummingbird gravitates toward a sweet fragrance. It is like the old adage, “is the glass half full or half empty?”
I honestly believe when we look for positive things, when we reach out in hope, joy and love, life is much more like the hummingbird (and people will gravitate towards us). When we look for what’s wrong in our world, can’t wait to talk about it, spend more time anxious and gossiping about what’s wrong than what is right, we are more like a buzzard. God is more interested in us being Christ’s presence in the world to bring hope than blaming others for the problems we see.
I am not suggesting that we are living in an ideal world. I am not suggesting that reality is not tough at times. I am suggesting that our attitude and spiritual life will determine how we handle the difficulties and challenges. Read the passage in Philippians 4 and hear the hummingbird mentality of the writer.
Did you get a taste of the passage? We are chosen by God to be joyful and bring peace. We are to be a shining example of hope for humanity. If we spend more time talking negative about life, the world and the church, are we more like a buzzard or a hummingbird? Are we going to attract people to God and the church and move them further towards the sweet fragrance of God’s grace? Or are we going to move them further away from God?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.