What Does the Bible Say About Positive Thinking?

Positive Thinking. For some, this is the epitome of self-help hype. They write it off as just a lot of fluff that doesn’t really work in the real world. I suppose for those that take it to the extreme (all positive thought with no action steps to match) it would be understandable. Yet there is some pretty incredible science going on right now that gives positive thinking a new look.

In his new book, Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential, Shirzad Chamine explains that while IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence) contribute to a person’s potential, PQ (what he calls positive intelligence) determines how much of that potential you can achieve. Using research and anecdotal evidence, Chamine reveals that we have two regions of our brains:

  1. The Sage. This is where our positive intelligence is formed. It responds, as Chamine puts it, “Any problem you are facing is already a gift and opportunity or could be actively turned into one.” We should work to strengthen the Sage.
  2. The Saboteur. These Saboteurs come in 10 varieties and are manifested with names such as Controller, Victim, Avoider, Pleaser, and the Judge. Everybody has a Saboteur – the questions is only which one(s). The key to weakening your Saboteurs is to identify which one you have and expose its key hidden beliefs, patterns, thoughts, and emotions.

While Chamine does an excellent job of revealing the science behind his message, providing ample exercises for improvement, the message is actually a very old one. Psalmists, Solomon, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul were talking about changing the way you think thousands of years ago.

How’s this for some positive thinking?

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Philippians 4:8 MSG

You must be made new in your hearts and in your thinking. Ephesians 4:23

And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], Ephesians 4:23 AMP

A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones. Proverbs 14:30 AMP

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

For as he thinketh within himself, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 KJV

More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 CEB

It’s clear the Scriptures put the responsibility of controlling your thought life on you. I would agree that it’s not referring to some pie-in-the-sky mentality. Jesus’ message (metanoia – of which I’ve previously written about here) is specifically related to a kind of thinking that shifts from selfishness to selflessness. Yet no matter how you look at it, these Scriptures call for a shift from negative thinking to positive thinking.

Say what you will about positive thinking. After 25 years of working with people in all kinds of organizational settings, I concur with Chamine that those with a positive mental attitude are much more likely to be successful, happy, and fulfilled.

The choice is yours. Take captive your thoughts. Tame the Saboteurs! Lose the stinkin’ thinkin’! Clear up that foggin in your noggin’! Get a fresh mental and spiritual attitude!

What do you think? How do you go about fostering a positive mental attitude?


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