What Is Your Opinion of Positive Thinking?

In this 2.5 minute video and the following transcript, I share some thoughts about positive thinking.

Positive thinking is something that’s talked about a lot in this culture. Here’s what Scripture says:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things  (Philippians 4:8).

This passage could strike us as an example of positive thinking. But I think it’s actually an example of true, reality-based thinking. In other words, God says to us that certain things are true, and some of those things that are true are very bad news. It’s hard to think positively about sin, and let’s not try to put the best face on the reality of our sin that separates us from God. There’s no good face to that. That’s not positive thinking.

Biblical thinking says, “I come to grips with the negatives in life, and not by denying them.” I don’t deny I have cancer if I have cancer. I don’t deny I have struggles in my marriage relationship if I do. I don’t deny that I’m really struggling in my walk with God. Positive thinking is not what I can grab onto that gets me through these difficult things.

It’s God who gets me through. I need to place my faith in Him, and choose to focus on things which are ultimately and eternally positive. The promise of God in Romans 8:28—that He’s going to cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him—is a great thing to focus on. That’s not “positive thinking” as if I’m trying to convince myself that it’s really true. No, it really is true! Let’s meditate on that thing that really is true.

Ultimately, as Christians, we should be the greatest positive thinkers. Why? Because we believe in a God of sovereign providence, of redemption, who’s come into this world, who paid the price for our sins, and who promises one day He’s going to wipe away the tears from every eye and there will be no more curse. That is a very positive message.

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries