For nothing will be impossible with God. – Luke 1:37
My Saturday morning Bible study has just launched an ongoing study based on Norman Vincent Peale’s classic text, The Power of Positive Thinking. The guys are motivated and excited about this, and I can’t think of a better way to launch 2016 together.
We all face challenges; none of us are immune – it’s the nature of life; yet at the same time we all have phenomenal resources we can tap into. Positive thinking is about understanding what tips the balance in favor of affirmation, of belief, and then living out of that sense of fait accompli – because we know without any doubt that nothing has the power to defeat us when we live in the light.
Saturday morning we discussed the first chapter, “Believe in Yourself.” As I prepared to lead our discussion, I thought about some of those resources we all have at our disposal, and I took a moment to think about how that balance stands in my life, and I jotted down the first half-dozen I could think of:
- Faith: I believe in a loving God who created me with imagination and purpose.
- Rebekah: I am married to the most positive, encouraging, spiritually alive, and resourceful person I have ever known.
- Family: My family believes in me and loves me; they “have my back.”
- Church: I belong to a church bursting at the seams with the best people in the world.
- USA: I live in the USA! This nation is dedicated at its very core to freedom, liberty, justice, equal rights, and opportunity!
- Intellect: God has equipped me with a good brain and a creative imagination.
Just considering the above brief list (and each one of us could easily come up with something similar) gives me pause; the items immediately make a strong statement that I can move forward with confidence and belief, no matter what is coming next in my life.
JESUS: But then, underlining everything with the bold mark of complete certainty, comes the icing on the cake when it comes to putting things in the right perspective; namely, Jesus. God did not send Jesus into this world just to save us for eternity, God sent Jesus to invite us to live into the possibilities of the “Life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:19) right in the here and now!
- “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
- “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” – Romans 8:31
- “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
- “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27
Positive thinking works most effectively when it is rooted in the fact of the gospel! Knowing Jesus gifts us with the confidence to move forward into this day, into tomorrow, into next year, and into whatever might possibly come along to trip us up and cause us to struggle; because of Christ we can live in the sure and certain knowledge that we have what it takes to overcome!
What we have is – as Martin Luther wrote – “the right man on our side,” and I can hear him telling me, plain as day, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches” (Revelation 3:20-22).
I can believe in myself because Jesus believes in me. In that sure and certain knowledge I can accomplish – we can acomplish – just about anything – DEREK