In The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale offers the following advice on how he thinks people should start their day: “First thing every morning before you arise say out loud, ‘I believe,’ three times.”1 He doesn’t say in what or in whom to say you believe, because in his view, it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that you just believe. Actually believing in something—especially something outside yourself—is superfluous.
Once again, God’s Word paints a different picture. In New Testament faith, what we believe is crucial! It is faith’s object that gives faith itself any sort of significance. Biblical faith is not a positive mental attitude that seeks to bring into existence the things that are believed in. It is good to think positively. It is even right to desire to be around positive people rather than negative people. Yet positive thinking in and of itself is not biblical faith.
The author of Hebrews writes, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (11:6). Real faith is reliable because its object is God, who is completely trustworthy.
Adapted from the sermon “What Is Faith?” by Alistair Begg