In a previous post, we established that affirmations are, indeed, Biblical when used correctly. In yesterday's video, I discussed Philippians 4:8 and the idea of positive thinking. Since the Bible encourages us to "think on these things," we can say, without a doubt, that positive thinking is a good thing, but again, it can be misused. For example, certain so-called Christian teachers will use the first part of Proverbs 23:7 which says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he, to promote their idea of positive thinking. Using that verse as their "proof text," they claim that if you think you're rich, you'll become rich. If you think you're healthy, you'll become healthy. Like some magical field of dreams, if you think it, it will come. Sorry, but life doesn't work that way.
These teachings really irritate me because they use the Bible as their proof, but what they're saying is distorting what the Lord is saying through His Word. If life were as simple as to think it and it will happen, then why do we need the Lord? Why is there heartache and disappointment? Why isn't everyone healthy and wealthy? Sadly, these prosperity seekers are leaving God completely out of the picture and saying that we are in control of our own lives and futures, and it all boils down to merely thinking about what we want and believing it will come true. They have confused positive thinking with blind ambition, and they're leading people astray by the millions (and many of them are making millions of dollars in the process).
While we are not in control of our lives and futures, we are in control of our thoughts and emotions. We determine what we think about, and that's where the Biblical principle of positive thinking comes into play. Take, for example, Proverbs 23:7 again.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Our thoughts cannot dictate our circumstances, but they certainly affect our emotions and even our actions. If we think angry thoughts, it's not long before we're upset and acting out in that anger. If we think negative thoughts, pretty soon we're depressed and snapping at everyone we come in contact with. Our emotions and actions follow our thoughts, so it's not rocket science to see that if we think positively (as Philippians 4:8 commands), we'll have more positive emotions and actions.
Sounds pretty simple, but I assure you, it's hard work! Thoughts come and go by the hundreds, and to keep our emotions and actions in check, we need to closely monitor every idea that passes through our brain and run them through the filter of Philippians 4:8. If it's positive and uplifting, then it can remain. If not, give it over to God immediately. When you first begin, this is tedious and tiring, but after a while, you'll find that fewer negative thoughts are coming to mind, and this is a sure sign of progress.
Is positive thinking a good thing, and does it work? If taken in context, comparing Scripture with Scripture, then, yes, it's a magnificent thing, and it does work. It's not a quick fix to life's problems, but if practiced regularly, it can be a valuable weapon in the battle against worry, anxiety and depression.
So, what's on your mind?