Positively Powerless by L. L. Martin is her first book but I hope it will not be her last. What I thought would be an overview of the history of the positive thinking movement turned out to be an examination of our need for the gospel to squelch the self-focus this movement inspires. The author presents the hope of the gospel in relation to self-deception, pride and the humanization of God.
The first chapter begins with a look into the positive thinking leaders, such as the European physician Franz Anton Mesmer and ending with the most famous Norman Vincent Peale. It was Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking that would bring this movement to the masses. The author then looks at pride and self-deception which are two dangers of the positive thinking movement.
“Christianity cannot be built around an optimistic motivational philosophy because the two belief systems are at odds with each other. One begins with God, and the other begins with self. In contrast to fixing our thoughts on Jesus, positive thinking turns us inward. It’s about us, our goals or desires, and affirming ourselves.”
Martin then reminds us of our sinful nature and God’s continuous work of sanctification in us. She uses the example of Paul who declared himself the chief of sinners yet also addressed believers as saints. This is followed by the characteristics we should have such as humility, esteeming God rather than ourselves and finding our sufficiency in who we are in Christ. Finally, she encourages us to be a part of a gospel-centered community that will speak the truth in love, sharing our own and carrying each other’s burdens.
I highly recommend this gospel-saturated book for those who need to refocus themselves on living a Christ-centered life.
I received this book as a giveaway by the author but not for an exchange of a review.