The Power of Positive Thinking: A Practical Guide to Mastering the Problems of Everyday Living is a self-help book that was written by Norman Vincent Peale in 1952. It has been an international bestseller with over five million copies in print. You can find a summary of Peale’s book at https://is.gd/39acLp.
There is much about the book that is interesting, and even helpful. Even though Peale’s book claims to be based on religious ideas, I want to show you a much better way to get the benefits of thinking positively.
Before I do that, let me point out some ideas in the book that do NOT come from the Bible.
The driving theory of the book is that having faith in yourself is the most important key to a “happy and successful” life. That sounds good, but the Bible teaches the opposite. It is a mistake to put faith in yourself. Jeremiah 17:0 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”
Think for a moment about this list of foul things that Jesus says originates from the core of who we are. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness” (Mark 7:21–22). There is not much good there for us to put our faith in, is there?
The Power of Positive Thinking also teaches that the way to stop worrying is to increase your self-confidence. On the other hand, God says that the one “who trusts in his own heart is a fool…” (Proverbs 28:26). “Thus says the Lord, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom and let not the mighty man boast of his might…” (Jeremiah 9:23).
If it is wrong to focus on how good we are, then how can we have a positive outlook on life?
The answer is quite simple, and yet it is profound at the same time. Instead of focusing on how good we are, we can focus instead on GOD’S goodness. Has God made you new on the inside? If He has, then you are in the process of learning many wonderful things about Him. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). God’s special “newness” begins when a person repents of their sin and puts his or her trust in Jesus Christ for eternal forgiveness (see Acts 20:21 & 26:18).
Focusing our attention on God is more than worth the effort because. “…In [God’s] presence is fullness of joy; In [His] right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).
If you are a Christian then your heart resonates with this request from God: “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek’” (Psalm 27:8).
If God has made us new on the inside, then we want to focus our attention on the Lord. How exactly, do we do that?
Like most things, it starts with a commitment. “To You, I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He is gracious to us” (Psalm 123:1–2).
The next step is beginning to collect things about God we can think about. Here are a few suggestions from my collection. These are things I found in the Bible. I listed them from A to Z to help me remember and review them.
The Almighty God, The Altogether Lovely One
My Beloved, The Bread of Life, My Brother
The Chief Corner Stone, My Counselor, My Creator
The Everlasting God
The Father of Lights, Faithful, My Friend
My Glorious Lord, The Good Master
My High Priest, The Hope of Glory, My Helper, Holy
The I Am, Immanuel
The Judge, Just, My boy
The King of Kings
The Lamb of God, My Life, My Light, The Lord of Glory
My Master, The Mighty God, The Man of Sorrows
Near, The Name above all Names
The Only Wise God
The Prince of Peace, Pure, Patient, My Provider
The Quencher of Thirst, The Quickening Spirit
The Resurrection, My Rock, The Ruler of All
My Shepherd, My Savior, My Sovereign, My Song
The True Vine, The Truth
The Unspeakable Gift, My Understanding
The Victory, The Vine
The Way, Wonderful, Wise
The Zeal of God, Zion’s King
Another way to tap into the power of a positive God is by getting to know the Bible better. The best way to do this is to attend a Bible-teaching church. (I know of a good one to recommend!)
I hope each one of you will focus your thinking on our positive, almighty God. It is the best path to joy!