The Expository Files.


 Think Positive, And You Can Do Anything!

Mantras Of The 90's #11
Special Series
 


Owing to the influence of human potential thinking, secular humanism, the New Age movement and other things, there is the widespread belief that thinking positive conquers everything; and some are convinced: thinking you can accomplish something will reduce or eliminate the impact of any negative or unforeseen factors.

Think Positive, And You Can Do Anything!

Yet, Biblical teaching is clear: THERE ARE SOME THINGS MAN CANNOT DO; THERE ARE SOME POWERS THE HUMAN MIND DOES NOT HAVE, AND CANNOT ATTAIN.. And, BELIEVING IN IMPOSSIBLE THINGS DOESN'T MAGICALLY MAKE THOSE THINGS COME TO PASS, OR CANCEL THE RELEVANT VARIABLES.

There are some things man cannot do:

Adam was driven out of the garden, and could not return (Gen. 3:24). I can just imagine Adam being counseled by Robert Schuller. "Adam, you just think you can't go back into that garden. You need to visualize yourself walking into that garden. That cherubim and flaming sword is only a figment of your imagination, tainted by your low self-esteem." Yet the Bible says, Adam was driven out, and could not return. The power of positive thinking would have been of no avail.

The rich man, in Luke 16:26, could not pass "from Tartarus to Paradise." There was a "great gulf fixed." Humanistic counselors want to say, "believe, and you will achieve." Still, the rich man would have run right into that great gulf.

Jesus said that man CANNOT serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). No human potential seminar can change this stubborn fact.

Jesus told His disciples on more than one occasion: "Where I go, you cannot come!" (Jno. 8:21; 13:33). While there was a faith these men were to have, it wasn't "faith" in their own potential to do what Jesus said they couldn't do! And ...

Jeremiah tells us that MAN CANNOT DIRECT HIS OWN STEPS (Jer. 10:23). These facts are not given to discourage legitimate persistence, a positive attitude or the "can do" spirit that motivates hard work. The point of all this evidence is: Believing in impossible things doesn't magically make those things happen!

All Bible students will acknowledge these two facts: (1) The Bible commends to us the excellence and necessity of faith, and (2) Biblical faith is characterized by power (See: Heb. 11:6; Rom. 1:16,17; 1 Jno. 5:4 and Jno. 7:38). Yet in these great propositions, and in view of the widespread misuse of the word "faith" by human potential advocates - there are two clarifications we must hasten to assert: ONE, Biblical faith must be carefully defined. "Faith" (in the context of positive mental attitude and human potential) may have reference to believing you will achieve, or visualizing success, or ignoring negative factors. This is not the faith of New Testament Christianity! Real biblical faith is convinced that the claims of Christ are true (Acts 8:37), rests on the certainty of God's promises (Rom. 4:21), and produces the works of obedience to God's Word (Heb. 11:7,8; Jas. 2:14-26). There is a big difference between "faith" in human potential, and believing you can accomplish your goals - and FAITH in Christ that obeys the gospel! The faith of New Testament Christianity "should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God," (1 Cor. 2:5). The location of faith's power is in God, His Word, His Son and the facts of the gospel.

TWO, THE POWER OF BIBLICAL FAITH is not the ability to fulfill your dreams and climb the ladder of worldly success! In the preaching I have done against the Human Potential Gospel, and the exaggerated Positive Mental Attitude, I've been charged with the sin of denying the power of faith. NO! What I'm trying to do is, clarify what the real power of faith is, according to the Scriptures. The power of faith is: the power to resist temptation (1 Pet. 5:8,9; 1 Jno. 5:4; Eph. 6:16); the power of prayer (Jas. 1:6; 1 Jno. 3:22; 5:14,15; Jas. 4:3); the power of stability and moral courage (2 Cor. 1:24; Jas. 1:3); and the foundation to build character (2 Pet. 1:5-11). By faith we are saved from sin, and by faith we cling to the hope of a heavenly inheritance. The Human Potential use of the word "faith" is temporal, anti scriptural and spiritually destructive.

 By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 4.11; November 1997

 

 

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