Thanksgiving? or Positive Think?
It's Thanksgiving morning
The cranky skeptic in me tends to dismiss Thanksgiving as just one more overly commercialized holiday. Tomorrow morning (in some cases, tonight!) the same "thankful" people will crush each other attempting to claim the best Black Friday sales.
Two things have moderated my Thanksgiving blues. Both hit me through FaceBook. The first is the practice of some to post a thanksgiving item each day in November. These show a habit of thanksgiving rather than a contrived performance. Then a dear friend posted the following today. "As I confess my ungrateful heart this morning, I am most thankful that the Lord forgives ... You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5" This post goes to the heart of true thanksgiving.
All genuine thankfulness rises from a deep sense of being unworthy of that for which one is thankful. There's a certain surprise that a good thing has come your way. Thankfulness is the polar opposite of feeling entitled.
Enter positive think
Some time ago I posted a hub that addressed Napoleon Hill's philosophy. He claims that anything is possible so long as you think it possible. His most outrageous assertion is that one can even deceive oneself with positive thoughts. That's how Jesus performed his miracles. And so there has developed a vast literature associated with life coaching calling us to think wonderful things into existence.
There is something attractive about these people, but it doesn't last long. Soon it becomes quite evident that their sunny disposition and positive encouragements are merely self-serving strategies. Try challenging them on their assumptions and watch how fast they turn negative toward you. Any talk of human failure infects the aura.
Prayer WITH thanksgiving
The antidote to positive think lie is to recognize God's call to bring all that is negative to Him, but in the context of thanksgiving.
The Scriptures read, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:5-7)
In a broken world it is reasonable to expect pain and disappointment. But the answer is not to deny these by lying to ourselves with positive think. Rather, knowing that we are loved more than we can ever imagine by the God who created us, we look about for positive features of the setback we encounter. Then, thankful for God's overpowering love detected in those positive features, we bring the setback to God in prayer.
The effect is not only to honor God but to literally change our disposition. We look at the starkest of disappointments confident in a positive outcome. We haven't lied to ourselves to get there. We've trusted Christ in whom reside "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:3)
We can do all things!
Every error is a knock off of the truth. In fact we wouldn't know it was an error if we didn't have the truth. So it is with positive think. Paul put it best in when he wrote, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
The "all" here needs to be qualified by the commitment to do what pleases God. God would not "strengthen" a person to do something wrong. What pleases God is far beyond what our imaginations can gen up. Trouble is we are more focused on avoiding his displeasure than in exploring his grand designed for us. Perhaps we can thank the positive think people for focusing our hearts on the truth from which they've departed.
And now I must help my wife with Thanksgiving preps... if she'll let me. I have a habit of premature tasting.
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