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A Perfect Challenge

Do you like a challenge? Here is one that defies natural thinking.

At the end of the preacher’s Thanksgiving sermon that morning, he confronted his congregation with a very dynamic challenge. He asked his congregation to agree that they would fast from negative speaking for one month, from Thanksgiving to the end of the year. They were to avoid complaining and only speak positive words about people, situations, or any negative subjects that enter the conversation.

When a church attendee shared this challenge to an outside friend, her comment was, “Yeah, that’ll be the day!” Why should positive speaking be so difficult? Could the people carry out this fast and speak only positive words?

Our sinful nature dictates negative, not uplifting thoughts. The acts of this nature are judgmental, jealous, critical, disrespectful, angry, and ungratefulness; these things come from what is in man’s degenerate heart. The sinful nature turns toward Satan, and his nature is vengeance. The apostle Paul tells the Roman believers, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires…the sinful mind is hostile to God” (Romans 8:5-7).

One of the hardest things for our sinful nature to do is to apologize.

So then, is it possible for these believers to carry out this challenge? The apostle Paul offers a contrast: “but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Therefore, “You are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:5-6, 9 NIV). What is your heart saying to you?

The critical words of the flesh seem to easily flow, but God wants His people to speak positive words into lives and situations so that people may be blessed and refreshed: “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

Who wants to be around a person with a negative and degrading mouth all the time? God’s Word, filling your heart and mind is powerful enough to change your vocabulary. Yes, His Word can do that and even more. Uplifting words and gratitude can increase your personal happiness and improve your relationships. Other’s will notice your positive words. Your heart “will be set to live in accordance with the Spirit” and your mind “set on what the Spirit desires.” With all the Spirit’s help, you win. This challenge will be easy.

When you enrich your outlook with thankfulness and with positive speech, this fast can be a very uplifting and learning experience. Will you accept this dynamic challenge?

Florence Simmons writes to glorify God and to guide believers toward a deeper relationship with Christ. Reach Florence at, or