In the swift sharing of ideas that we’re capable of these days, things can easily get mixed up. Identical ideas can sometimes be unconsciously combined and the subtle differences ignored. Its so much convenient to say that two things are the same than argue that they are different.
We confronted the same problem in this page when we brooded the difference between Karma and God’s Justice here. Now, as the new year begins, I invite you to straighten out the HUGE difference between Positive Thinking (the power to align the universe at your command) and Faith in God (believing that you can do nothing without Christ).
From the previous paragraph, its quite obvious how wide the gap of these ideas are.
Positive Thinking is promoted and popularized by self-help books such as The Secret. It teaches that you have the power to affect the outcomes of what’s going on around you simply by thinking positive and using your mental powers to visualize yourself where you want to be. It also includes a certain amount of believing that when you do that, the universe aligns with you – conspires with you – to get what you desire. It would even stress that this is the secret of religions such as Christianity. It attempts to explain why faith works so much and why prayers are answered. Please note that this belief is a one-size-fits-all. God here, at least the ones taught by the ancients, is taken out of the equation. The universe and the power of the human mind is raised up.
Faith in God, the one taught in the Bible, is based solely on one thing. Actually, on one Person: God. There is no other way for a Christian or Jew to achieve anything good or eternal without Him.
Let me stress that last point a bit more. The Christian believes that, no matter how much mental power he uses, he can’t influence events in his life because only God is sovereign. He is in complete control. Without Him, we are lost – we are dried leaves in the wind. Fortunately, we can call Him our Father through the cross of His Son, Jesus. He has our best interests in mind and we can trust Him on that.
Faith is important to us, because Jesus taught in the Scriptures that its important to Him (Matt: 11:22-23 for instance). In fact, its so important to God, that he refused to do mighty works when a person or persons don’t believe in Him (e.g. Matt. 13:58).
In the Bible, faith isn’t referred to as positive thinking. It is simply defined as believing on an unseen God. It is demonstrated as believing that God exists, that He sent His Son to breakdown the wall between Him and man, that He knows whatever we’re going through, and that He is more than enough to deliver whatever our needs.It is admitting to God that we can’t go it alone, that we’re helpless, that we need Him in every thing.
Believers don’t have to imagine or visualize what is not there. We only have to take whatever the situation is and then lay it at the feet of the cross in surrender to the Sovereign God.
Positive Thinking trusts on the individual’s ability to visualize. It is trusting on one’s personal effort to think positive. Faith makes the believer depend on God and God alone. So what am I saying?
Choose. You can’t have both.
If you’re an atheist, knock yourself out with The Secret. From the reports I’ve read from articles and heard from friends, it allegedly works.
But if you’re a Christian, a Bible-believing Christian, get your beliefs right. Don’t claim anything as yours (as many Christians often fondly say). Don’t declare anything as yours (I’m getting fired up now). As far as your self is concerned, you’re supposed to acknowledge your helplessness before God (aka humility). Believe that God will make your dream come true ONLY if it aligns with His plans. Don’t act like you can claim anything or declare anything on your own. We’re not supposed to find strength and confidence in our selves or in the world.
Yes pray about it. Yes, believe that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. And then work hard for it. Leave the rest to The Lord Jesus. Be at rest. He knows what’s best.
If He says yes to your request, celebrate in thanksgiving! If He says no, thank Him still and ask Him what to do next. You don’t have to set yourself up for disappointments by forcing your mind to think of something that’s not there yet. Worse, don’t blame God when you lose something that was never meant to be yours in the first place.
Rather, keep yourself occupied with His Words, His goodness, His greatness and the work He gave you – as you wait for the God of the Bible to deliver your dreams to you this 2014.