Positively Powerless by L. L. Martin [Book Review]

Positively PowerlessPositively 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.

2 thoughts on “Positively Powerless by L. L. Martin [Book Review]

  1. I briefly thanked you on twitter, but meant to leave a note here as well. Thank you for your review. I like how you state, “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.” I was interviewed on a podcast today, and actually used this at one point to explain my book! – That the first chapter explains and outlines the history of the positive thinking movement, but the rest of the book is more practical and points out the self focus this movement spawned and re-orients us to the gospel. I say “uh/um” too much, but here is the brief (12 minute interview) in case you are interested: http://hopesreason.podbean.com/e/positively-powerless/

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s