Just Think Lovely Thoughts
When I was a kid, Norman Vincent Peale’s silver tongue built Marble Collegiate Church in New York City from a church of 600 to over 5,000. His book, The Power of Positive Thinking, sold five million copies. He taught that the Kingdom of God that Jesus talked about was “the deep subconscious mind” and that we can win by being confident, shutting off negative thoughts, and repeating positive thoughts. Robert Schuller built on Peale’s ideas but preached not just “positive thinking” but “potentiality thinking.” “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Before we start using our own streams of positive thoughts as a mantra and betting our lives that we create reality by the thoughts in our minds, we should take another look at Simon Peter’s confident optimism that he would never deny Jesus and his boast about his potential in the upcoming trial.
“’Simon, Simon, Take a hard look! Satan is demanding to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you-- that your faith will not fail and when you have returned, strengthen your brothers.’ But Peter responded, ‘Lord, I am ready to go to prison with You, even death.’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow today, until you deny me three times.’”
Remember Peter Pan teaching Wendy and the children to fly by telling them “Now think lovely thoughts?” It works in fairy tales, but in real life you need more than fairy dust to conquer Satan and his evil purposes against us. The good news is that Jesus is still praying for us, and Dr. Luke will show us in Acts that the Apostle Peter’s faith did hold. After his denials, he repented, was forgiven, and gave the evangelistic message at the birth of the Church.
LORD, use this example of Peter to be like a flashing red light when I start to boast and to think I can deal with Satan and evil with only the weapons of my own psyche and self-confidence. Especially protect Your children from these lies that minimize the reality of evil and the tough temptations we face that can only be overcome by honesty and dependence upon Your resurrection power.
Note: If you’re tempted to believe all the possibility sales pitches, check out how things turned out for Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral.
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