Let’s start with how not to end this internal war – a popular theory that looks nice on the surface, but will actually take you further from God instead of bringing you closer to Him. Often squeezing God out of the picture or ignoring Him altogether instead of depending on and trusting Him as the Creator of everything including all the “laws” of the universe, many people talk these days of, and swear by, the principles outlined in a film and book called The Secret. For those of you not familiar with it, here is a very basic summary from Wikipedia:
The tenet of the film and book is that the universe is governed by a natural law called the law of attraction which is said to work by attracting into a person’s life the experiences, situations, events, and people that ‘match the frequency’ of the person’s thoughts and feelings. Therefore, positive thinking and feeling positive are claimed to create life-changing results such as increased wealth, health, and happiness…a three-step creative process for manifesting dreams is introduced: Ask (visualize in the film), Believe, and Receive. This creative process is based on a quote from the Bible: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matthew 21:22)
At worst, believing “The Secret” as it is taught in this film/book is deceptive. Specifically the latter part of the above quote is very similar to “prosperity teachings” in some Christian churches. What people may not realize is that by quoting Scripture singularly and out of context like this, they are essentially following and spreading false teachings. When taking Scripture as a whole where we learn about the very nature and will of God, we understand that the above verse from Matthew is true if what we ask is in line with God’s sovereign will. Once we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and become more like Him throughout our lives (whether rich or poor), we are to become one with Him, living in Him as He lives in us, partnering with Him in seeking that His will be done, and completing the work He has prepared in advance for us to do. God always works all things – good and evil – for the long-term good of His children. Many times, it is a very unpleasant, yet refining, fire that we must walk through in the short term in order to become stronger, more mature, and increasingly full of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
“The Secret” is born from pride: you are the center of the universe and you deserve to be happy and have what you want…so just ask, believe, and receive it from the universe. If things were this simple, why did the Old Testament prophets, godly people throughout the Bible, Jesus himself, and His apostles all suffer so much in their lives? Why did Jesus say that if we want to follow Him, we are to take up our cross and follow Him? Why did Jesus say that we are to expect trouble and persecution in this world? To quote Kuzco again, “You see what’s going on here, don’t you folks? It’s a scam! The potion’s a fake. They’re selling snake oil people! Wake up!” You can ask/pray for and believe you will get a new blue Ford Mustang GT (sweet!), but unless it’s in God’s will that you have one for either your blessing or the good of His other children, don’t hold your breath! God’s answers are not always yes…sometimes they are no…and sometimes wait. Problem is, most of us are not very good at hearing no, and especially not good at waiting patiently on God. So, what better than to believe the lies that we have all the control in ourselves and in our own strength?
At best, believing “The Secret” is misguided. Some will say it’s not that everything that happens to you should be good, but rather that you see the good in everything through positive thinking. For example, getting in a car accident may not be a good thing, but a person practicing “The Secret” will think of it as a positive event because out of the suffering, they received the money to buy the new blue Ford Mustang GT that they wanted. So, it’s a blessing in disguise…what’s wrong with that? Nothing at face value…God gives us plenty of blessings in disguise. Still, it goes wrong when we place some mystic control into our hands instead of humbly depending on and thanking the giver of all good and perfect gifts: God. Our heart attitude and motivation may be corrupt. Is positive thinking vitally important and a sound Biblical teaching that God emphasizes and wants us to practice daily? Yes! But, we must give credit where credit is due…the glory belongs to God, not us and not some mystical “universe.” We worship the Creator, not the created.
Now, I might make some bold, blunt statements here that many people may not like…because I believe that being truthful – even though the truth may be hard to hear – is what real love does rather than letting someone you love continue on a path of error and lies. And friend, I care too much to be anything less than truthful with what I and many people have experienced to be true in acting justly, loving mercy, and humbly walking with God. I would argue that you cannot be a Christian and believe “The Secret” just as you cannot be a Christian and believe “all roads lead to heaven.” To do so, negates what our Lord Jesus did on the cross for us. The very essence of being a Christian is believing Jesus is the Son of God and He suffered and died for our sins so that we could be reconciled to Him and spend eternity with Him. Certainly the Creator of the universe knows the laws of the universe and how to wield them better than any of us! Why would He have chosen to think and feel the fear in the Garden of Gesthemene, to suffer and die a most painful death that left His body barely recognizable as being a man, if you and I could meditate our way there? If we had multiple “do-overs” for life in reincarnation? If we could worship His creation or our ancestors or a group of man-made gods instead of Him? If all we needed to have health, wealth, and success was just think and feel it? Matthew 19:24: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Material things can trap or distract us if we are not careful. And there is no shortcut to responsibility, wisdom, and good stewardship.
‘Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ – Isaiah 53:4-6
Look for “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme…I Need, I Need, Part 3: A Recipe for Endearing Legacy” to be posted soon! Enter your email address on the left to follow this blog and be notified of new postings.