Positive thinking vs. Faith? Why it matters how we think By Debra Torres
I sat on the massive concrete steps that led up to our university’s library, discouraged and full of doubt.
I had to admit it; I had come to graduate school hoping to add my “Mrs.” degree to my list of college accolades.
But I hadn’t met “Mr. Right” yet, and I was losing hope – rapidly.
My friend Kendall found me there, and when I began to speak out my doubts about God’s faithfulness, he did something surprising.
Instead of comforting me with syrupy words, he gave me something I needed to hear.
He said something like this: “How can you doubt God like that? How can you speak out those negative words about his faithfulness?”
Wow, had I been doing that?
I knew I had, and I later thanked Kendall for his wise counsel. Thoughts full of doubt and fear weren’t getting me anywhere, and I knew it.
But it’s easy to fall prey to them isn’t it? You lose your job, your health goes downhill, a relationship crumbles. What are we supposed to do during those times? Speaking out the negative just seems to come naturally, right?
I mean, if we are experiencing the bottom of the barrel – why not talk the truth?
I received a devotional in an email from a friend the other day, and it got me thinking about negativity and the damage it does.
The devotional from Pastor Jon Courson said this: “We take faith in as we hear the promises of God’s Word and the preaching of the Scriptures. Faith is worked in by the hearing of the Word – but it’s worked out by the speaking of the Word. That’s why Romans 10 also says we must confess with our mouths (verses 9-10).
"Faith comes in through the ear, but is worked out through the mouth. A lot of times we take in a Scripture, but then have the tendency to complain or murmur – and wonder why faith isn’t impacting our situation. Jesus said, ‘Say to the mountain, be removed …’ (see Matthew 21:21).
"This is such a key, but is forgotten so easily. Faith that works is not only a matter of having devotions in the morning or going to Bible study in the evening, but it’s a matter of speaking out that which we have taken in.”
A few days after reading this devotion, my husband and I knelt together and spoke words of faith over a difficult situation that we are dealing with.
We could have spent the time complaining to each other about what was going on. But with God’s help, we chose to claim scripture in our prayers and speak words of faith out into the open room.
I’ll tell you that it really changes things – maybe not yet in the natural, but definitely in the spiritual realm.
It can be frustrating, though. Sometimes I just want to wallow in my discouragement. Circumstances dictate that I have the right to, but I’m learning that is a defeated attitude.
Jon Courson says this “If I hear the Word in a Bible study and go my way saying, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know how things are going to work,’ my faith is short-circuited by my words of fear and frustration. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the power of life and death is in the tongue. How often we kill our faith either by the words we say or fail to say.”
Now, I do want to clarify that there is a difference between “positive thinking” and speaking out words of faith. I’ve noticed that there is a trend on Facebook these days for people to send “positive thoughts” to someone who expresses a need. And, I had a friend once who used to say she had “positive thoughts going up” about certain situations.
But honestly, I think that positive thoughts that are dependent on our own “energy” are simply empty wishes of good will.
It’s good to think positively, but if we believe that our positive thinking can accomplish anything apart from the hand of God, we’re sadly mistaken. Sticking to God’s Word, biblical teaching and the leading of his Holy Spirit in our thoughts, speech and action is key.
With that in mind, I think I’d like to change the title of this post.
How about, “Sending faith-filled thoughts your way”?
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Matthew 21:21Amplified Bible
21 And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done.
Proverbs 18:20-21King James Version
20 A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.