Summary: Although there are many self-help publications with this title, if an author doesn’t cite God as the source of all positive thought and ability it’s not something I’ll read. The power doesn't come from channeling some unknown energy it comes from God.
THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
INTRODUCTION: Although there are no doubt many self-help publications with this title, this sermon is not based on any of them. If an author writes a publication with a title such as this one and doesn’t cite God as the source of all positive thinking ability it’s not something I’m interested in. The answers do not reside in me; they reside in God and his word. It’s not about channeling some unknown energy; it’s about utilizing the power of the Holy Spirit. We have the answers to being able to think more positively and live a more positive life. Let’s see how we can do that.
1) The destructive power of negative thinking.
Pessimism is negative thinking. The glass is always half empty. The worst case scenario will always come to pass. I’m going to fail. And negative thinking turns into negative action. For as a person thinks; therefore he behaves. If I believe I’m going to fail then I probably will. Self-fulfilling prophecy. If I look at myself or my situation this way then I won’t try in the first place. In so doing I will deprive myself of the opportunity to succeed. And chances are if I were to try, and succeed I would begin to replace my negative thinking with positive thinking and climb out of the rut. If I look at the glass as being half empty then I’ll never appreciate the fact that it’s half full.
Depression is negative thinking. I’m never going to get better; things are never going to get better. My life sucks. And depressed thinking leads to depressed behaviors-addictions, self-abuse, suicide. All of this negativity is pretty destructive. This is the thinking and behavior associated with the old nature; a life without the power of Christ. And it’s futile.
Eph. 4:17-19, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”
When my thinking is futile (worthless) ie: negative, I lose all sensitivity to the destructiveness of it and I turn my negative thoughts into negative actions and it’s just a vicious cycle that goes on and on and gets worse and worse as time goes on. Instead, we need to clothe ourselves with Christ.
Rom. 13:14, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
It’s interesting that Paul says, ‘do not even think about how to gratify the sinful nature’. One might think, ‘thinking about doing something isn’t a problem; it’s only a problem if I act on it’. That’s not true. It is a problem because if we think long enough about gratifying the sinful nature then we will wind up gratifying the sinful nature. The thought will eventually turn into the act.
And besides, the thought can be the sin. Jesus addressed this when he taught about lusting being adultery in the heart and how hating your brother is murder in the heart. Jesus wanted the people to know that you don’t have to commit the act in order for it to be a sin. The power of negative thought is that it turns into a negative act. But if we clothe ourselves with Christ we clothe ourselves with the awareness of the destructive power of negative thoughts.
However, just because we’ve clothed ourselves with Christ and have become aware of the destructiveness of negative thoughts; it doesn’t mean we’re still not susceptible to negative thinking. 1st Cor. 10:12, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
Now, we might be standing firm. However, we can be deceived into thinking we’re standing more firm than what we are and we let our guard down. We commit a sin and say it’s no big deal; just a little slip-no problem. So because it doesn’t have much of an impact on us we find ourselves sinning more often and I continue to think I’m okay but I’m not. And the danger is that I’m slowly drifting away and going downhill yet I’m oblivious to it all because all the while I still think I’m standing firm and then next thing I know-I’ve fallen hard and I wonder how it got to that point.
Rom. 12:3 says we shouldn’t think of ourselves more highly than we ought. In other words don’t think you’re all that. Don’t think you’re arrived; don’t think you’ve got it all figured out. Don’t think you’re above temptation or that you’re super spiritual. Because if we do we are no doubt headed for a rude awakening. The bible says whoever exalts (elevates) himself will be humbled (brought low).