Monday, March 18, 2024

Any Thoughts

The  mind can either be a wonderful or detrimental thing to use. For many years motivational speakers have continuously promoted what has been deemed "The Power of Positive Thinking." The power of positive thinking is a mental attitude in which one expects good and favorable results, or as a more modern definition defines it, a mental attitude of approaching life's challenges with a positive outlook. In every sense, it is simply mind over matter, that is, the use of willpower to overcome problems, whether physical or mental. There is certainly nothing wrong for one to have a positive approach to life challenges, but it still comes down to philosophy or psychological science. 

However, we need to understand that the unregenerate mind can be a powerful tool, but its power does not come from above, but is from beneath. The Apostle James tells us, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." (James 3:13-16) Notice that James is talking about people who are self-seeking. In a sense then, the power of positive thinking evolves around "I." James continues, "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." (James 3:17) 

Although James is talking about wisdom, keep in mind that wisdom teaches how to use knowledge effectively. Again, there is certainly nothing wrong with positive thinking. The question we must ask ourselves is, what or who is behind it our positive thinking? For believers, it is through the Word of God that the mind is renewed in which faith is increased, (Romans 10:17) and thoughts are transformed. Unfortunately, though, most believers thoughts and confessions are mostly negative, due to a lack of meditating and studying God's Word. (Joshua 1:8) 

The teaching behind the power of positive thinking is not only taught in the world, but it has also infiltrated the church. Many church leaders today have gathered a large following because they have reduced the Word of God to nothing more than a philosophy for life. Although cloaked with verses of scripture, in reality, it takes the focus off of Almighty God and puts it on self. The Psalmist David wrote, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1) Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)  

Teaching a philosophy for life from pulpits rather than God's Word is a very dangerous concept because it eliminates faith in Jesus Christ, and turns ones faith, to faith in what can be accomplished through their own ability and or strength. In actuality, this is nothing more powerful to renew a mind than when it is filled with God's Word. We should never forget the devils tactic that led the woman away from the truth to believe his lie, "...And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said...Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God..." (Genesis 3:1, 4-5) I believe the deception behind this teaching is what the Apostle Paul tells us concerning what will happen to many believers as we draw closer to the end, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power." (2 Timothy 3:5) 

The Apostle Paul tells us, "giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us (has given us the ability) to be partakers (to enjoy our share) of the inheritance of the saints in the light." (Colossians 1:12) When one is born again, they immediately received God's nature, (2 Peter 1:4), that is, His substance, His life, and along with new birth we can also be filled (baptized) in the Holy Spirit to live within us. (Luke 24:49; John 14:15-17; Acts 2:38). When Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come and lead us into all truth, (John 16:13), He meant exactly what He said. God's ability is freely offered to every one who confesses Jesus as Lord and takes Him as Savior. Another deception behind the teaching of the power of positive thinking as it applies to believers, is that it alienated believers from the life of God. (Ephesians 4:17) However, the moment that ones spirit is recreated, the mind may be renewed and brought into perfect harmony with the recreated spirit by the study of God's Word. It may take a little time, but it is worth the effort. When the mind is renewed with the Word of God and brought into fellowship with the recreated spirit, then the reality of all the blessings and promises of God become ours, not by positive thinking, but faith in Jesus Christ.

For everyone who is born again, you have God's nature, God's ability. You are God's child. God
is the strength of your life. He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30) We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10) We are the victorious and triumphant ones. (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14) These wonderful things are ours. We are not slaves, but free. This New Testament is the "Good News" of our emancipation and of God's participation in our lives here on earth. 

Finally, the Apostle Paul reveals some more wonderful truths, "But the natural man (anyone under the influences of the mind, the senses, and not the Holy Spirit) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned...For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:14, 16) Why would one desire to be limited by the power of positive thinking when the born again believer can be led by the Holy Spirit and be unlimited in the way Jesus was in His earth walk? The reality of Paul's prayer to the church at Colossae belongs to every believer, "For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge (complete, concise, precise knowledge) of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." (Colossians 1:9) PTL...        

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