Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Positively Speaking

One of the trends in modern psychology is a field called “positive psychology.” Founded by Martin Seligman, it is a “new branch of psychology which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions. His research has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier — to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances.” (http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx)

Although motivators such as Dale Carnegie and Zig Ziglar talked about the power of positive thinking, and Martin Seligman started the positive psychology movement, one only has to read through the Bible to see that “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9). I have found throughout my studies in secular psychology that the truth that is found there is found first in the Bible.

It has been said that we have between 50 and 60 thousand thoughts a day. When we engage in negative thinking, those negative thoughts begin to carve a groove in our brains that make it difficult to break out of negativity. We are influenced by what we hear…even the words we say to ourselves. So, let’s look at some of the verses in the Bible that speak of the power of our thoughts and words.

Proverbs 18:21 "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit—you choose." (The Message)

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV)

Proverbs 16:24 "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 5:2 "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

Ecclesiastes 10:12 - 14 Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips. 13 At the beginning his words are folly; at the end they are wicked madness- 14 and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming— who can tell him what will happen after him?" (NIV)

Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (NIV)

In Romans 12:2 we are encouraged "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Thinking positively is more than just saying positive affirmations or editing how we talk to ourselves and others. Positive thinking and positive speaking occurs when we allow God to transform us into the kind of people whose words give life and bring healing.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.— Unknown

1 comment:

diana said...

i love this post. i'm a strong believer in how powerful our words are, but these verses are great reminders. i especially liked the first one - the message version of the proverbs verse. i'm going to write it down and stick it on my frig.

have a great 4th.