The other day Camilla and I were watching a movie called Silver Linings Playbook. At the end of the film I wanted to hug every character in it and give them a copy of The Power of Right Believing by Joseph Prince. I say that because everyone in the movie was broken or damaged in some way. Some had suffered loss, others had been unfairly treated, but nearly all of them were experiencing emotional pain or were in some way afflicted by a mental disorder.
The message of the film is that even when we’re broken, we can still experience life and love, and that’s a wonderful message. But can we also be healed? Can we be delivered from mental illness and emotional trauma? The film makes no promises.
One of the characters in the film is a man named Pat. Pat has bipolar disorder which causes him to sometimes act in an agitated and violent manner. This troubles Pat because he is not a violent man. Pat seeks help from a caring psychiatrist called Dr. Patel. Dr. Patel tells Pat, “You need a strategy,” to which Pat replies, “That’s easier said than done.”
Pat is an honest guy. He knows he has problems that he cannot overcome. What he doesn’t know is that Jesus is greater than all our problems. Jesus is able to meet our greatest needs.
And this leads me to Joseph Prince’s new book.
The Power of Right Believing is a book that tackles the predominant illnesses of our day, namely, mental illness and personality disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. It’s book of stories about people who have been radically set free by grace.
My favorite story is the one about the minister from Oregon who was assigned to provide counseling in a state mental institution. He entered a room full of severely broken, moaning people. These patients were so far gone the minister couldn’t engage with them. So he sat on the floor and started singing, “Jesus loves me this I know.” He did this for weeks and, over time, the patients began to sing with him. Within a year, all but two had been restored and were discharged from the hospital. They weren’t healed by a song. They were healed by a revelation of their Father’s love! Here’s Prince:
When you allow God’s love to saturate your mind, it doesn’t matter what wrong believing, fears, or addictions are keeping you bound. His grace will begin to break them down. (p.11)
According to Prince, the devil is after your mind. He wants to keep your mind negative, oppressed, depressed, and pessimistic for he knows that as long as you believe wrong you’ll live wrong.
The very areas you are fearful and anxious about indicate the presence of the wrong beliefs in your life that God wants you to be freed from. (p.150)
One of the problems with mental illness is it can turn you inward and away from healing love. In the film, Pat is aware of all that is going on in his mind. He knows his triggers. But this self-awareness actually makes things worse because it leads you to rely on your own understanding instead of relying on Jesus. Cognitive behavioral therapy succeeds when it breaks destructive thought patterns, but it fails when it promotes self-examination ahead of Jesus-examination. He is the Healer, not you.
Right believing is all about renewing your mind and uprooting the wrong beliefs that shape your thinking and behavior… God wants to change the way we think by shifting our thoughts from self-occupation to Christ-occupation. (pp. 199-200)
I want to commend Joseph Prince for addressing the illnesses of the 21st century. Many churches are way behind the eight ball on this. They have a heart for the sick but the sick are narrowly defined as those with physical ailments. As I have said elsewhere, churches need ramps for the mentally ill just as we have ramps for wheelchairs.
I’ve probably given you the impression that The Power of Right Believing is for mental people. It’s not – it’s a book for all who desire good health and peace within. The secret to that is not emptying your mind but filling your it with powerful thoughts of God’s love and grace.
If you want to live right you have to believe right. You have to see yourself as your heavenly Father sees you – as dearly loved and precious.
Self-help books point you to what you must do. My messages and books are all about Jesus helping you – pointing you to Jesus and what he has done for you! (p.77)
The Power of Right Believing is a good, healthy book that will resonate with many. Indeed, after just a couple of months it has already become a five-star grace book. My only complaint is that the message is often interrupted by plugs for the products of Joseph Prince Ministries. Reading this book is a bit like watching a movie with trailers in it. And that’s a pity because this movie – The Power of Right Believing – is good. It proclaims a message that you and I and people like Pat desperately need to hear:
Long before the enemy can steal your victory, he steals your song. Long before he can steal your joy, he steals your praise. Before you know it, you start becoming critical, pessimistic, moody, and oppressed. Don’t allow him to do that.
Let praises be continually on your lips and always be conscious of the Lord’s presence, his favor, his goodness, and his blessings in your life. (p.241)