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By Richard Gunther
is a great deal of noise being made about ‘the power of positive thinking’.
There are books on the subject, and quite a few people go about lecturing and
teaching it. Positive thinking has made quite a few people wealthy.
Now I have no problem with the idea that if one focuses on the more
positive aspects of life, one can certainly make more of it, and be happier, but
‘positive thinking’ can be carried too far, and become quite an unhealthy
exercise in fantasizing.
Suppose, for example, someone went about saying “I am rich”, and
expected the words to somehow cause the world to pour wealth into his or her
lap? The reality is, most people
are not interested in giving their money to other people, unless they really
have to. Another problem is the possibility of a majority all confessing wealth
– they will then have to swap money all the time, but few will gain more than
they give away.
Just saying “I am rich” often enough, will not cause most people to
become rich. Wealth may come because that person has a positive attitude towards
work, but thinking wealthy and speaking wealthy are not enough. It is like
trying to fly without wings. The expectation may be good, but the mechanism is
lacking to power up that expectation.
The ‘positive thinker’ is supposed to make something happen
(usually something good to yourself), all you need to do is ‘confess’ it
regularly. This fact alone ought to alert us to the dangers inherent in
‘positive thinking’ – it is a self-cantered and terribly selfish exercise.
(Have you ever heard of a ‘positive thinking’ message which goes like this:
“I want to make other people wealthy”?)
A third, and much more serious problem with ‘positive thinking’ is
the fact that, in the vast majority of cases, it totally excludes God from the
equation. Can a ‘positive thinker’ override God’s Hand in our lives? Can a
‘positive thinker’ reverse some heavenly ordained plan? Absolutely not!
Positive thinking is the power of the flesh. It can have some success,
but it is usually aimed at self-improvement – not at reaching the lost.
Positive thinkers virtually never confess their willingness to take the gospel
to other people. Positive thinkers are usually more concerned with the
betterment of their own lives.
So where does all this commercialized ‘positive thinking’ teaching
may very well have originated in the Bible. There are many ‘positive
confessions’ in the Bible, which, if taken to heart, can transform a
believer’s life. But these positive confessions were for Christians only.
Unbelievers would find them quite unworkable. (i.e. “I have the helmet of
truth”, or “I have hind’s feet”, or “I have access to the throne of
grace”) The statements of Scripture were meant for Christians (or ‘the
godly’ in the O.T. days) and no-one else, because, like knowing the
combination to a vault, only Christians can open the promises.
So Christians have the God-given right to make positive
confessions because of what God has given them in Christ. The expression
“in Christ” makes all the difference.
When I wrote the Ephesians Game I wanted to put into the mouths of
Christians the positive confessions which they are entitled to make. These
faith-confessions are our weapons against sickness, failure and poverty. (The
Game is available $20 postpaid anywhere in New Zealand, add postage for
is just one of these ‘positive confessions’ which Christians can make:
be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with
every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies”
look at these two points:
God has blessed us (we
already have those blessings, now, today)
Every spiritual blessing (they are all ours right now)
We read this, we may believe it, but do we confess
Making a positive confession is essential to a Christian’s daily walk.
The power of confessed beliefs is enormous. Over the years I have struggled
towards making it a habit to confess by faith what God says, rather than confess
what my eyes see. The spiritual reality must overrule the natural reality,
otherwise nothing happens. Our confession makes all the difference.
The Mighty Mag printing costs shot up to over twice their normal amount. My
reaction was to see (in the natural) failure, but instead of looking at the
(natural) problem, I looked at the (Biblical) solution. I confessed that “God
will provide”, and “God will
provide an alternative printer”. Every time I was challenged to express what seemed
like the reality I confessed the opposite – the ‘by faith’ reality. Two
days later I found a printer who was able to do the job for less than half the
cost. God overruled . . . but what if I had accepted the (natural) reality and
accepted the (natural) circumstances?
I was in a home where almost everyone was sick. 6 or 7 people were sniffing,
coughing, grizzling and complaining about sore throats, headaches and so on.
Someone said to me “It’ll be your turn next”. I said “I’ll stay
healthy. I won’t catch anything. Jesus has set me free from sickness”. And
just to prove my point I let the kids cough at my face, I ate food off their
forks, and I deliberately exposed myself to the bugs. Weeks later I’m still
well. (I expect health and healing to be my normal state).
But if you listen to people who are in the ‘natural’ state, you will
hear things like this:
go into a shop. “Miserable day isn’t it.”
You are expected to agree.
notice your bank balance dropping. Someone says “You’ll be broke soon.”
You are expected to agree.
feel the flu coming on. Someone says “It usually takes three weeks to get over
it”. You are supposed to accept this as inevitable.
You can reverse things, throw a spanner into life and make it go the
other way . . . by making a positive confession in Christ. In Christ the day is
not miserable, but full of joy and wonder. In Christ you have immense wealth and
all your needs met. In Christ you have health and healing.
let us look at a single verse, in Ephesians:
3:20 “Now unto Him that is able
to do /exceeding abundantly/ above /all /that
we ask or think, according to the power that works
break this promise down into little pieces.
everlasting Father, the King of glory, the infinite God.
able, immeasurably strong, powerful beyond description.
make happen, provide, give, help.
abundantly=not just abundantly but exceedingly so, overflowingly.
than we can imagine.
we ask=we cannot even put into words all the blessings we could receive.
think=our thoughts are never equal to what God can do in our lives.
is so powerful he inhabits eternity, He is ‘bigger’ than an infinite
in us=we have the power of God at work in us.
God offer us any more than this? Do we confess this greatness and vast supply in
our lives . . . or do we speak like misers? Do we pray like beggars, or affirm
God’s provision like princes and princesses?
of the best things you can say is “In Christ I have . . .
“In Christ I am . . . .
“In Christ I can . . .
And then follow the confession with the appropriate promise.
people fail to obtain every spiritual blessing because:
They simply cannot believe their inheritance. They don’t know how to
think like God’s children. They fail to step into the royal position which God
has already given to them.
have such a personal image of themselves they cannot bring themselves to act,
think and speak like a child of God.
don’t have the courage to wrestle against Satan and take to themselves what
God has given. They allow the lies and deceptions, excuses and innuendoes to rob
them of what is rightfully theirs.
blessings and the Law.
A friend of mine rang to say he was breaking out in a painful rash. I
explained this to him:
Did Jesus keep the Law? Yes.
Did all the blessings go to Jesus? Yes, because they are for those who
keep the Law.
You say you are a Christian? Yes? Therefore:
Did Jesus die for you? Yes.
Do you have the “righteousness of Christ imputed to you?” Yes.
There are many verses about God’s righteousness being given to
believers. It is like God has taken the pure white robes of His Son and dressed
us in them. We may look into our hearts and see sin, but when the Father looks
at us, He sees the purity of His own Son.
Here are some verses about the righteousness of Christ:
3:22 “Even the righteousness
of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that
believe: for there is no difference:
5:17 “For if by one man’s
offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace
and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)”
5:21 “That as sin hath reigned
unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal
life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
10:4 “For Christ is the
end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Corinthians 1:30 “But of him are
ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness,
and sanctification, and redemption:”
2:21 “I do not frustrate the
grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is
dead in vain.”
3:9 “And be found in him, not
having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is
through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by
also 2 Peter 1:1 Romans 10:6
Now, if Jesus kept the whole Law, and we have His righteousness, then we
should be inheritors of the blessings which Jesus has won for us. Right?
My friend, whom I mentioned earlier, said he wrestled with the sickness,
and kept confessing health and healing through Christ. By the morning the rash
was gone. He rang to tell me he was healed.
His is not to say that we deal with everything in some glib, formulaic
way. Life is much too subtle and variable for that. God wants us to grow and
develop in our Christian walk with Him, so He will allow us to go through many
interesting and challenging tests. However, a simple approach to every problem
we meet may be:
When we meet a problem or challenge, we can deal with it in several ways.
first way is to pray about it and ask God for guidance as to how to deal with
it. Sometimes a Scripture will come to mind which fits the problem exactly.
second way is to ask some other Christian/s
third way is to find a promise and confess it. Deal with the problem as if it
has been already solved. Thank God for the complete solution to the problem as
if it is already solved. This is called ‘affirmation’ praying, and it has to
come from a faith position.
Here are three different ways of dealing with a problem, in this case
that of finances:
Some Christians say “I know God can meet my financial needs”. This is
a very general, rather vague, non-specific sort of prayer, or confession. It
doesn’t give God much to work with. Vague prayers get vague answers. (You
wouldn’t order an item from a catalogue this way!)
Other Christians say “I am sure God will meet this particular need”
This prayer is more specific but still open to interpretation. The “need” is
not spelled out clearly, and God is not told precisely what his son or daughter
would like to see happen. There is nothing wrong with this kind of prayer of
course, but it could be improved.
The prayer of the positive confession goes like this: “God has already
blessed me with ‘x’ dollars because in Christ I have all my needs met”.
what can you and I do?
As we read our Bible, we should look for the promises, and take
them as our own. They are, after all, the words of our heavenly Father, and we
are His own children. The promises belong to us as our rightful inheritance. We
should learn what God has reserved for us, and when we need something we should
confess that we already have it. That
is the true ‘positive confession’, and it will enable us to be much more
effective witnesses and soul-winners.
I would like to see more Christians move into the ‘positive thinking’
of the Christian life. I remember a story about a man who bought a ticket to fly
somewhere. He got on to the plane and squeezed into a small, uncomfortable seat.
People all round him were smoking and yelling, and the smell was terrible.
However, the man put up with it until he reached his destination.
But when he got off the plane, someone told him that his ticket entitled
him to a seat in the first class section, where there was music, food service
and clean air. All that time the poor man had been ‘putting up’ with third
class when he could have flown first class!
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