I think Norman Vincent Peale was on to something when he wrote his timeless classic, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” For those who have read the book or given its suggestions a try, you can probably speak to the fact that our mind is a very powerful tool and the thoughts we choose to fill it with help determine our direction in life. I know my personal experience speaks of a much more rewarding life and much more valuable relationships both with others and with God when I have chosen to allow my thoughts to dwell on the positive. The Bible has much to say about how the power of positive thinking plays a role in our life as Christians and today we’ll examine a couple of those passages.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.”
King Solomon said it right when he said to guard our hearts with all vigilance. The heart is the very core of our being, the source of our thoughts, desires, and actions. Everything we do begins at the heart level, so it makes sense that we start there. Pollute the heart with negativity and immorality and we can expect nothing but grief and anxiety to manifest themselves in our life. But the opposite is true as well. Fill our hearts with positive thoughts and spiritual nourishment that is rooted in God’s word and we can expect to find peace and contentment. When our hearts are in the right place, we can overcome even the most dire of circumstances and still find our happiness intact.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
(Philippians 4:4, 8)
With the world in its current state, I realize that some could easily make the excuse that there’s nothing good or righteous to dwell on anymore. I must wholeheartedly disagree. Paul, writing to the church at Philippi, is writing from a cold, dark, and lonely prison cell. And yet he instructs us to rejoice and to think on those things that are true and pure and lovely. How could he say those things after facing the persecution that he was facing? The answer can be found in his first letter to Timothy. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). Paul had learned where his strength came from and he learned that he had much to be thankful for. That’s not always an easy lesson to learn and more often than not, it’s taught in the midst of trials. But we too can be like Paul if we’re willing to control what enters our hearts, to be mindful to fill them with that which is good. Some benefits to this positive mindset could include:
- More peace and contentment
- We would have less time for worry and negativity
- We would hold ourselves and others to a higher standard
- We would enjoy better relationships
- We would grow in our ability to encourage
As a final thought, I leave you with the words of the famous businessman and inventor Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t- your right.” Decide today on which side you will let your heart reside.