By Not Known
The winner of a recent test of stamina declared: It was just a case of mind over matter. This is a popular sentiment. There is a present boom in self-help publications, seminars and such like that revolve around mind-power. Mind-power has flourished since the publication of ‘The Power of Positive Thinking‘ by Norman Vincent Peale, a US clergyman, in 1952. A quick google of ‘mind-power‘ produced 2.12 million websites!
Mind-power uses a range of techniques to expand human possibilities and confidence for action. It helps to change the way we think about things.
How do we respond? The Bible takes our mind seriously. As is often written, Christian who are intellectually lazy, gullible or shallow dishonour God. We are to love God with our mind, along with all aspects of our being (Mt 22: 37). Part of presenting ourselves to God as an act of worship is to undergo a mental revolution or renewal (Rom 12: 2). So, let’s develop our minds as far as we can.
In once sense, anything that helps us expand our mental potential is good. Many of us are trapped in blinkered ways of thinking. Most of us need a better right brain/left brain balance. Further, it’s well established that a positive outlook can help achieve higher outcomes.
However, some mind-power approaches go much further. In its fullest sense, mind-power competes with the Christian gospel.
Mind-power gives distinctive answers to three basic worldview questions. In each case they deny the gospel.
- Who am I? Mind-power says that we are primarily mind (or will) and thus downplays human wholeness
- What is the problem? Mind-power says that our basic problem is defective thinking, especially that we are not optimistic enough. The Bible says that our basic problem is a sinful rebellion against God.
- What is the solution? Mind-power says that what we need is right thinking. The Bible says that what we need is God’s redemption through the body and blood of Christ.
In this fuller sense, mind-power is an example of philosophy marred by empty deceit and human traditions, rather than been a philosophy ‘according to Christ‘ (Col 2: 8). So lets expand our mind-power as far as we can. But lets make it a Christian mind, founded on Christ, informed by God’s word and transformed by God’s Spirit.