Bible Study

Positive Thinking

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Romans 12

Romans 12

Positive thinking has been negatively viewed in Reformed and Evangelical circles due to its abuse by some preachers. Nonetheless, positive thinking is a call from our Lord and it is necessary, even essential for recovery. It does not replace His Spirit and Word, but it will impact all that we are and do in our recovery.

Here are some replacement thoughts to help line up your thinking to God's reality.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Substitute Negative Thoughts


Positive Thoughts

I do not feel loved.


God loves me and nothing can buffet that. Romans 8:31; 38-39

I give up.


I can. Philippians 4:13

I am too weak.



The Lord is my strength. Psalm 27:1

I am a failure.


God does not abandon me.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

I am worthless.


I am not worthless because God made me. Psalm 139 13-16

I am confused.


God has a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11

I am afraid.


God gives me power, love and no fear. 2 Timothy 1:7

I feel alone.


God is with me. Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5

I feel unfulfilled.


I can be content. Philippians 4:11

I do not know what to do.


God will give me wisdom. James 1:5

I feel judged.


I am not condemned. Romans 8:1

Theology is our understanding of who God is and what He has done for us. This directly translates into who we are and what we do. If you think theology is not important in regard to relationships, consider how it relates to our feelings and how we view others and ourselves around us:

Theological Concepts

Theological Results

Justification means we are completely forgiven by God by what Christ has done! God's righteousness is covering us! There is nothing that we can add to it, such as good works or clean living. Thus, we have no balance to weigh a judgment on someone else! (Romans 2:5-16; 3:22; 5:1;10; 9:30; Philippians 3:4-14; I John 1:9).

My response to justification is I do not need to fear the expectations of others or my own failure because God accepts me! Therefore I do not need to withdraw, gossip, manipulate, or be overly driven to succeed; I do not need to please others for my self-approval. My focus is on God's glory and His Kingdom!

Reconciliation means I am at peace with God because Jesus reconciles me to God, so I am not an enemy of God; I am accepted by Him and need not fear His wrath and punishment. Since I am at peace, I am no longer at war with God. I realize as a believer that I am in a fallen world that is still at war with God (2 Cor.5:18-21; Eph.2:16; Col. 1:20-22).

My response to reconciliation is realizing I have harmony in Christ. I do not need the approval of people when I have God's. I do not need to fear being rejected or not accepted by others. I can be an instrument of His peace and character regardless of what others do to me. I can relax and in Him and be vulnerable to build relations with others without fear.

Propitiation means God deeply loves me! His grace covers me. God's wrath is pleased by the sacrifice that Christ made on my behalf. I no longer need to fear losing out on love or being rejected. I know that God loves me and desires me to model His character with love, care, and respect. This allows Christ's amazing grace to cover all the evil within me (Habakkuk. 2:4; Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:8-9).

My response to propitiation is that I do not need to go around feeling unloved, blaming and slandering others to make myself feel good. I do not need to put others down when they do not meet my standards, because I certainly do not meet Gods! So, my actions can be in response to the transformation of Christ's grace by living an honest life. I can remove the hypocrisy in me that can cause so much destruction.

Regeneration means that Christ is at work in me and through the Holy Spirit is making me completely new. He is my hope! This fact hits me when I have a sense of my need and futility. If I continue in sin, I realize that my regeneration is in question because the control of the Christian life is grace, not sin! (Matthew 5:3; Romans 6:15-23; Galatians 4:19).

My response to regeneration is a desire to be humble, knowledgeable and repentant, always seeking God. I can be a changed person and move in the direction of maturity and fullness in His Kingdom. My identity is in Christ and all I do is because of Him. So, my desire is to continue to operate with passion, truth, and conviction.

Understanding who and what God has done for us affects all of our being, including our recovery, relationships, goals, and the direction we take in life. We cannot rely on our own efforts, skills, personal connections, or beliefs. Remember that is the first step, I am powerless to do this on my own and I admit my need for help and Jesus. How we recover and heal is directly related to how we see ourselves in Christ. If our relationship with Christ is on track and growing, so are our recovery and relationships! Our self-esteem must come from who we are in Christ and what Christ has done for us. This should give us enormous satisfaction and sense of worth. The King and Creator of the universe cares for me and loves me! He is living within-guiding, loving, and holding me! There is no adequate substitution for that! But, it is sad that we try so hard to substitute the wonders of the truth of what Christ did for us with stupid insignificant lies.

Building and developing recovery is not just something we learn from a book or hear from a sermon. It is not fully realized from a counselor or a treatment plan, even though these are necessary. It does not come upon us in the night, or sneak up in the day. It does not come automatically, accidentally, or suddenly. It is a process that comes from being parented in it from God Himself. He leads us and in our motives we are to respond in gratitude and diligence. It is a slow process. You may not even realize you have it until others point it out in you.

Remember this; recovery is not permanent once it is formed. It requires our continual grip and practice. There are many times when it falls away-times of great stress and moments of weakness through personal loss or personal sin. I have seen it nearly flee from me on many occasions from all that I have been through in life. But, when we remain in Christ, He remains in us; He even remains in us when we do not remain in Him!

Many great people have said this over the millennia, "Our strength is shown in the things we stand for; our weakness is shown in the things we fall for. People of genius are admired; people of wealth are envied; people of power are feared;but only people of characterare trusted." Can you see yourself in those words? We help create our world of recovery and relationships by our choices through our own use of words, so use them wisely!

This step is not to bring shame and discomfort to you, but allow for refection to see what you need to do and grow from here.


  1. How are the words from your mouth being used? How are your words guiding you? How are your words touching others?

  1. We all make mistakes. So, what is the difference between a deliberate or premeditated sin and a mistake?

  1. Carefully look over these charts and be in prayer. How can these thoughts help you? Can you commit to it?

  1. If you want to continue in your dependency or addiction what do you hope to gain? How will it improve your life and others around you?

  1. Do you have a problem with resentment or unforgiveness? What do you need to do about it?

  1. Take some time and write out an inventory of yourself. Concentrate on what you have done well and have not done so well. Then in prayer and the help of a sponsor or counselor, see what you can do to overcome these setbacks and behaviors.

  1. How have you handled your recovery so far? What do you still need to do?

  1. How is your tongue a reflection of your mind and a mirror to your soul?

  1. What would it take for you to fully realize that our thoughts and words are tools at the disposal of our hearts and minds?

  1. How do you balance personal responsibility and the grace that God has for you?

  1. How you recover and heal is directly related to how you see yourself in Christ. So how are you doing with this?

  1. How is your patience in this journey of recovery so far? Read Eph. 4:1-3; what do you need to do more for this step? What still needs to be examined to see what needs to be fixed?

Meditate on these passages for the next week or more: Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 4; 25:11; 28:13; Matthew 12:33-35; Luke 6:45; 2 Corinthians 3:2; Colossians 3:5-17; 4:6; James 3:9-12

© 1990, 2003, 2008, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools

For more on this step see our topic on Forgiveness! Love & Forgiveness

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