January 24, 2011

A Hypothetical Theological Mountain Bike

People ask me why I have a problem with the "Power of Positive Thinking" Preachers. I don't have a problem with them, I have a problem with their message. If I speak it and convince myself, it will happen. If I think positively things in life will automatically be ___________  <----Fill In the blank with whatever you want, stronger, prayerful, holier, etc.

Don't be so silly.

Only if we adhere strictly to Biblical principles and did not stray and sin were we even promised blessings in this life. The truth is we all stray and occasionally when we are obedient (very occasionally) we are blessed but more often than not these blessings are all by God's grace and mercy anyway. Positive thinking has nothing to do with it.

Although it helps (so as a man thinketh, so is he), "positive thinking" or "self reaffirmation" is not the vehicle that gets you to the goal. Just because you think you are more holy, are you? Are you the judge of that? If I am a mountain biker and I am only capable of a beginners trail, what happens when I attempt to do a downhill trail for professionals or advanced rides? I tell you what happens, I end up in the middle or at the bottom of the hill in a crumpled broken and bloody heap. Hopefully I will only be about 8 minutes from an Emergency Room and traction too. Positive thinking did not help me navigate the hill...it got me seriously injured, new dental work and perhaps a few metal screws in my leg.

These scenarios require a "process". Holiness is not just given to you but justification in Christ is. We are immediately made righteous in God's eyes because of the work Christ did for us which assures us of salvation and eternal life but we are far from being holy. The is a process that continues throughout our lives in varying degrees and intensities. Processes in this life are prone to failure so they should constantly be monitored by us with the help of the Holy Spirit to assure they are in proper alignment to our benchmark or measuring stick: Jesus. When we realize we've veered off the marked trail, the one blazed by Christ we need to steer it back on course or risk wrecking into a boulder or tree of unrighteousness. Often times we do not even realize we are off the trail until...

"Hey! Who the heck put that giant rock there?!"

Just like our mountain bike ride the ability to navigate an advanced trail requires us to not only to ascend gracefully but sometimes we need to also descend gracefully into valleys, ravines and pits in our lives to be able to master an entire trail, journey...our life. This trail though has been thoroughly marked off by the One whom has blazed the trail before us. We know the Path, we need only follow the markers left for us and listen to the helper our companion given to us who has come along for the ride.

Additionally we cannot jump from 1st gear to 4th gear. It takes time, energy to be expended to get up to speed and then the correct tools, mechanics and timing to shift the gears so that everything works properly and we make the most efficient use of the energy and spirit allotted to us. If we shortcut processes that were meant to follow we either strip gears, stall out or end up hurting ourselves/others or causing us to stubble or crash in flames (literally).

The one hundred mile trek to holiness begins with one step...and then another and another (and so on ad infinitum). In this manner we become more holy. Our development and progress will not always be positive and upward it will be littered with the burned out wrecks and marked by nosedives caused by sin. The good news is that those that believe God's promises and believe Christ died for their sins will survive to reach their intended destinations because we have been promised this by God. The journey on my hypothetical theological mountain bike will not always be pretty and may be interspersed with faceplants  and endos, but at least I 'll get to the end to trade-in my ride when I reach my destination for a new and improved model since I have ridden in a way in which to complete the trek.

Anybody see my Bible and a bone splint? I think I've hurt myself thinking this hard.


Sha4dice said...

Its true that "positive thinking" messages can be misleading and are usually taken as a shortcut to a great life by lazy Christians. But when applied appropriately, I believe that seeing and believing the vision before it is physically in front of us is very critical to my faith. I would like to mention, though, that I don't think of positive thinking the way most people do. So for distinguishing purposes, lets call my version "Godly Thinking." I don't try to think myself into the life I want, but rather I try to align my thoughts (and more importantly, my actions) with Gods word and the promises in it which subsequently gives me the best life because it is God's will. Controlling our thoughts is important and I believe that Godly thoughts prompt Godly actions in us. These are the types of things I discuss in my blog http://www.blog.shafordyce.com. You can read more of my thoughts there.

Andy Pierson said...

I agree with your assessment. When I say "positive thinking" I am talking about "Name It and Claim It" Type preaching. I should've been more clear. It is indeed true that where the mind leads the body follows. Proverbs 23:7 "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee." Visualization is good. Assuming you will do good because you feel you should because you feel you deserve it without aligning what you want with Scripture and the will of God...is dangerous.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...