Faith, or, the Power of Positive Thinking
I use the comparative, or, here because although the two are similar they are not the same. One could certainly argue that the substance of faith would be the ultimate gain of what could be possible because its achievement is directed towards the highest of all possibilities, which would be the Creator of all things on earth and in the heavens. However, with that stated you must believe or it is not likely to happen.
Using the power of positive thinking has the effect of directing one’s path towards achieving higher personal goals, which are usually in reference to material things such as financial success, success in business, or to acquire power or things for personal benefit. In order to fully exercise this power, belief is also an essential factor. So what makes one different from the other? Could they be used interchangeably?
Although both set high standards of gain… one is set on physical achievements while the other is set on spiritual gains. The two are diametrically opposite because they are not even in the same realm of existence. Though you can sense things that are spiritual you cannot see them with your natural eyes therefore faith is based upon the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. In essence, you must believe based upon what you hope to achieve from an invisible power that is the highest of heights, the Maker of all things, which is the One we reference as Almighty God. Without faith, one cannot believe in God because there is no physical substance to make the attachment to other than what you believe.
The power of positive thinking solely attaches its power upon physical accouchements, which is the manifestation of what you are trying to gain, not just by thinking strongly about something, but by setting a power in control that compels it to happen. This power is invisible also but it requires a strong concentrated mental power. By keeping the focus on things positive you direct yourself towards a journey in that direction. It also helps if you actually have an action plan that goes with your thoughts, otherwise, it is just wishful thinking. Even wishful thinking can be more beneficial than negative thinking. Some people actually think things will turn out negatively and that is what they seem to get. I have been the beneficiary of both systems so I have a testimony and short story to share about both of my experiences.
For most of my life, I have been a dreamer even while wide awake. Although my birth circumstances were meager at best I always felt that I could do more than what life presented to me visibly. I was born on a rural country farm in a segregated society where blacks were discriminated against and otherwise held back from achieving the great American dream. In order to achieve anything of substance, you had to dream pass the obstacles that were right in your face. I dreamed of becoming a musician but my folks could not purchase me an instrument to learn. Somehow I kept hoping and imagining that I would become a musician so eventually, I was able to join my junior high school band where an instrument was provided for me. Somehow my grandfather on my mother’s side heard of me wanting to be a musician so he purchased me a six-string guitar upon which I learned to play the bass notes because I heard the bass in my mind.
I played in the school bands throughout high school, acquired a small scholarship to attend college, majored in music, and became a professional musician all because I believed in my dreams even without any evidence to support what I believed. This would be the power of positive thinking in action. Even though my relatives were religious-minded people I do not recall asking God to help me become a musician. This is not to say that God did not have a hand in it because this talent in me came through birth and not by the environment from which I was born. No one in my immediate family was a musician nor did I personally know anyone that was a musician so whatever manifested was something that came internally. I learned early that I could wish or hope for things and they could possibly manifest. I was using the power of positive thinking.
Later I used the same power to achieve personal goals when I got my real estate license. I enrolled in an eleven-week training seminar that taught enrollees how to become more successful at achieving real estate goals. At the beginning of the class, each participant was asked to write down three things they wanted to achieve within a year of taking the class. We were to cut out a picture that represented those goals and keep it on our car key chains throughout the remainder of the class. My three goals were to purchase a new car, purchase a home, and make over $60,000 annual income the next year. This was back in the 1990s. The 60K represented a mark that I had not yet reached. The prior year I made somewhere in the 40K per year income base. After the first day of class, it was down to intense training using all the provable methods of becoming a successful real estate salesperson for the remainder of the session. Once the class was over we graduated with a higher skill level than before the class and most of us did substantially better.
Almost and exact year after taking the class I achieved all three of my goals. I did not think about it until a bit later but I was amazed at how thinking and believing in something worked. I did not begin to stitch together my life-long use of this power but both incidents used the power of positive thinking and it worked miraculously. At the time I did not feel that God had anything to do with my achievements because I treated my faith separately from my business achievements. I later learned that I needed to keep God in my entire life and there should be no separation into different parts of my being.
After achieving modest success in both professional arenas I started reflecting on my spiritual life. I had achieved success as a professional musician traveling the world and working on all sorts of recording projects, films and paid advertisement commercials. When I got married I wanted to secure a more stable income base so that is why I got my real estate license. I used my power of positive thinking and became a realtor… it was a piece of cake. At one point I was practicing both professions but transitioning from music to real estate that would provide me with a stable income to care for my family. God was in the background but certainly not upfront in my life. I treated God separately and personally. I would pray or otherwise attempt to communicate with God and occasionally attend some form of church worship but I did not grow up in the church so that was not my preference. My guardians read the bible daily to our family members as our form of worship so we were not confined to a denominational organization. We were Christians only through our bible reading and studying His Word.
Upon turning fifty I realized that something was missing from my life so I decided to place my focus more on learning more about God. In a sense I had already developed a one-on-one relationship with God but it was not based upon formal training. I would always pray in my written diary and talk with God but I did not know what I was doing or what God was doing in return. I decided to start a search for my soul so I could get a better understanding of God and about the relationship that I was having informally with Him. I wanted to formalize what I had been doing all along but I did not know how I was doing what I was clearly achieving. That lead to me reading hundreds of books soaking in information about spirituality, philosophy, religion, history and the like. This was my way of awakening my soul and introducing me to the reality of God that had been there with me all the while, I just did not realize how to make it official.
Upon finding or improving upon my personal relationship with God my interest transferred from achieving personal success to achieving spiritual success. I wanted to perfect my relationship with God as I had done with my profession. The one thing that changed most drastically was my need to gain personal things so I was no longer using the power of positive thinking to acquire finances so naturally, my finances dwindled. I was not broke but I was not getting any richer. I managed to keep bills paid thanks to a wife that was still working professionally along with my abilities to make money as a lifelong self-employed individual. I did a few musical projects, a few real estate projects, I started a few small businesses, and I did some consultant work mentoring youth. God used all my talents to keep the necessary income flowing but it was not coming from a single resource for the most part. As I was seeking to find God He was providing for me. That is the only way I can explain what was happening over quite a few years.
One could say that I used the power of positive thinking all alone without consciously thinking I was doing it or one could say the invisible power of faith was at hand allowing God to do things for me because my heart had turned towards Him. At this late stage in life, I have successfully transferred my interest from desiring things of this world as the primary emphasis of my life to desiring the things of God as the focus of my being. As an elder person now retired I get up each morning communicating with God and seeking to follow His guidance. It has manifested into writing essays and articles of this nature mostly about faith and about living a godly life.
Today I realize the power of positive thinking carried me over humps and bumps during parts of my life when I was not consciously thinking about what I was doing. At the same time, I know my blind faith in the God that my grandmother taught me about was more in the background of my life actually carrying me over all the obstacles that stood before me in order that I could make it to this day when my entire desire is only to serve God. Was it my faith or was it the power of positive thinking? I chose God because I know that He was with me in the beginning, long before I knew what was compelling me to believe in what was otherwise impossible to achieve under the circumstances. Our power to achieve the unimaginable comes from a higher place in us that is of God even if you do not realize He is there. For this, I give Him all the praise and the Glory, Selah!