It may seem like just yesterday, but it was actually 1952 when Norman Vincent Peale wrote The Power of Positive Thinking (15 million sold). He certainly had a point and many may well have been helped, although the human capacity for self-delusion is legendary. I think the biblical perspective is a little different. Scripture teaches us to acknowledge whatever is true (see John 8:32, Philippians 4:8). This includes evil in the world and sinfulness within as well as the beauty and wonder of creatures great and small, ourselves included.
True joy comes more from The Power of Positive Thanking. This is the habit of directing our attention away from ourselves to the One who made us and loves us. Thankfulness is our normal and healthy response to our Creator. We understand that we are failed people in a fallen world, but that God has joined us in our predicament in Jesus, suffering for us on the cross, and we are thankful. There is good reason for thanks as we experience forgiveness, healing of our souls, strength for each day, answers to prayer and hope of eternal life.
Here’s a further cause for gratitude: Since the dawn of humanity God has designed us to live in community – both with Him and with each other. “It is not good for the man to be alone,” He noted. Genesis 2:18 This is indeed true. It is said that solitary confinement is one of the cruelest forms of punishment. God gave us marriage, family, friendship and cities (villages?) to fill this void.
The church of Christ, imperfect though it is, is the community of the followers of Jesus scattered throughout the world. At the table of the Lord we celebrate our life in community and give thanks specifically for Jesus, God’s greatest gift, and for his sacrificial death. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide will gather for the same reason. We will share in Communion on Sunday, October 13th – Thanksgiving Sunday. Won’t you join us?
In Christ’s Love,