Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Word!: Part 2 of Magic? Uh...No.

Throughout this summer, I have become more aware of a growing fad of "the power of positive thinking"or the "law of attraction" or the action of telling the "universe" what we want in life and waiting eagerly for "Universe" to respond. And I am getting more and more concerned about why so many Christians are jumping on this band wagon too. I am not frustrated with those who are not Christian and believe the statement of positive thinking...the law of attraction to be powerful because they don't yet know the amazing power of God which surpasses all other powers. But I am getting really bewildered/frustrated that so many people claiming to be followers of Jesus Christ are allowing their minds to focus on proclamations from other humans on how they should think and speak and live.  It's getting a bit weird......Christians are talking about this positive thinking, name-it-and-claim-it stuff like it's God's Word.

There are SO many people saying they are children of God, believers in Christ, singing the latest worship songs in their cars each day AND talking about being able to positively think themselves into better fortune, better marriage, better health. It is clearly looking like these folks aren't living like they really know who God is. So, that's a little background on why and what I am about to write.

We Christians need to first and daily recognize Who we are following, Who we have surrendered to and put our trust in...the God of the universe, the Maker of all things seen and unseen, the Eternal Father. This new cultural/almost world-wide fad of speaking aloud our positive thoughts/hopes/wishes to get the things we want out of life has a bunch to do with....well, people's words. Ha!!  Let's first look at the most important word there is. Then let's look at what God thinks of that Word. Then let's look at what our response as humans should be to the Word.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
 -John 1:1
"Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him."  
-Proverbs 30:5 (NASB)
"I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek me in vain.' I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right."
-Isaiah 45:19
"'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"  
-Matthew 4:4 (ESV)
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing each other in all wisdom
...with thankfulness in your hearts to God." 
- Colossians 3:16
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
 O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." -Psalm 19:14
"Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth.  Therefore let your words be few."  -Ecclesiastes 5:2
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." -Psalm 119: 105

Recently, I have been thinking through, studying, and tackling a couple very difficult topics trending in our culture these recent years. Many folks in our world are focusing on self-improvement, mega business success, family/friendship restoration, and job promotion obsession all through the power of their thinking.....through positive thinking....through their words spoken aloud for the "Universe" to hear and respond.  I have friends, even Christian ones, who are beginning to believe the "name it and claim it"approach to life is for them and that it is working for them.  I have read portions of the book The Secret and learned a little about this new/"ancient" practice; about people speaking their wishes into the the "Universe" and forcing their minds and hearts to truly believe the powers of the cosmos will hear their desire and make a way for it to come true...all because they wished it....all because of some law of attraction was on "their side". Of course, as naturally self-centered beings, this is viewed as a great idea. If we don't have to depend on someone else to get what we need or want, that's the best solution, right? HUH!? 
So, Christians, are we to take this in too?  Are we to digest these new and also ancient approaches to self-gain/improvement and let them poison our bones as well?  Are we to begin living this way, in which God is viewed as a genie in a bottle instead of the Sovereign God that he is?  (As you know, I am not an apologetics scholar who can carry my readers/listeners into a deep theological discussion on this topic and brilliantly argue this point. And I am not one to write a piece that carries people in suspense for awhile and then lead them to the real answer of my thoughts and the conclusion. I am the gal who just says up front what I believe, with grammatical errors and all, and hopes that the Truth who I know is seen as beautiful and fearful and holy as He really is.)  
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, 
and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." 
-John 1:14
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
 No one comes to the Father except through me." 
-John 14:6
If all of us have this power, this "Secret" to speak circumstances, promotions, relationships, etc into existence by positive thinking then why on earth is there still so much recall on this "product"; all sorts of disease still happening, so many marriages breaking, so many people un-employed and hungry, so many children parent-less, so many thousands of people with depression and anxiety disorders, so many scandals, and so much violence/crime still happening? And if people are going to be speaking out into the universe and have all their wishes and hopes come true, then this place we call Earth would be truly complete chaos; all thanks to the "law of attraction". Really??  

Think about it: what if two different people are claiming to the sky, to the "Universe", or to the god of their choosing that they will get the position of CEO of a specific company?  What's the "Universe" or whoever going to do? Give it to both of them because they both sincerely claimed it to the skies, from their heart of hearts, mentally "bagging" that job? Is the "Universe" thus going to "see" that they deserve the job for giving credit to the powers of positive thinking and the law of attraction?  No. Only one person will get the job because it is clearly for "a" CEO.  
Think about these things: What is this power of thinking going to do for people when their family member gets sick with cancer?  Can they wish or positively think someone out of bed rest and into full health?  If they can, film makers need to make a new action hero movie about those people.  That's probably a new super power not made into comic books yet.  Come on people!  Why is this so attractive?  When, in the existence of man-kind, did we ever get the proof that we are perfect enough, sovereign enough, mistake-free enough, good enough, worthy enough for anything...the cosmos, the "Universe", the Buddha, our ancestors, the gods of this world, the spicy foods we ate the night listen to our desires, wishes or hopes and make them come true all because we claimed it aloud while thinking positively??

We human beings are not and have never been the completer of the God-head, the giver of all life. We have never been Creator. We are "fearfully and wonderfully made"....MADE.  We have all been birthed into this world cold and hungry and help-less. We have all been born completely dependent on a Holy power, namely Almighty God, to keep our hearts beating, our lungs breathing and our bodies growing to be strong and healthy.  We have never been in the huddle with God about the blueprints of creation....on any level. It has always been one way. God's way.  He was. He is. And He will always be. And we, his creation, will always be in complete dependence on Him for life...our life-breath and our life-joy. Regardless if we confess this to be true or not, we are in full need of our Creator for everything. So, (speaking to my fellow Christians who are believing in this "Secret")--why are you encouraging one another to just think positively, confidently that things are to happen in our favor, by our own "powerful" positive thinking? All glory is reserved only for God the Father in heaven. We, the created, will never get a slice of that pie.

Yeah, I know. I am stepping on toes; possibly hurting the feelings of friends I deeply love.  I have NO idea who has and has not read these books of positive thinking stuff.  I am not thinking of anyone particular while writing this. Most of this blog post was my re-action to what I have been learning about these new-ish trends through reading the news headlines and my discussions with friends. But I have been studying a little bit as well, so some of this post was for sure a confident response.

I just do not see why Christians are being so easily roped into all these different popular book guides to success, self-confidence, self-promotion, health, and happiness through the power of positive thinking; unless they are not truly reading God's Word daily. Are we Christians not reading the Bible AT ALL?  Come on, folks! As water is to a plant, so God's Word is to the believer in Christ.

This topic will be further explored and studied by me and you will hear from me again on this. I am praying for wisdom.  I know for sure I am FAR from perfect. I know I have many hang-ups and imperfections. So, that just tells me I need to lean even more on God's Holy Word.  His Word is truth and life.

Magic? Uh,...No

In preface to what my next blog post will be, I want to say just a few things. There are a bunch of discussions and lectures going around our nation about the power of positive thinking. Even more so, books are preaching it and people are getting paid to travel the country and speak to masses of folks about it.  But it is seeming to take on another face that is looking a bit frustrating to me.  What "gets me" are the Christians (some well-known pastors/teachers/authors or even just the very influential people of our local church families) who are preaching this message of positive thinking being a powerful force...a cosmic force...separate from God's power. These Christians aren't basing their understanding of the necessity of positive thinking on the entirety of the Holy Bible, but just on little portions here and there.  They are getting most of their "material" from a conjured up method formed from outside sources who are not surrendered to the authority of Christ. How do I know they are not surrendered to Christ's authority without ever meeting them face to face? I know because I have read their thesis statements and some book reviews about their works and these authors/speakers are not basing their entire power of positive thinking stance on the full message given in God's Word; personal and un-biblical theories are being twisted into the mix to "spice things up".

Positive thinking is something that I have embraced since I was a young girl. I like to look on the bright side of life. It is a very important discipline to have in our daily life.  Even in his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes to them to be careful what they think of each day. He even gives them a list of things to think on as a way to help the people (and all Christians, for that matter) to know where to center our minds. That list is in Philippians 4:8. But if you look at that list, each thing listed is something that seems to be hard to find most days. But the one thing...the one person who is all of those things continually is Jesus Christ. Our Lord God is good and right all the time.

Just because the Bible teaches us to be people who rejoice always, show gratitude often, love everyone, hope always, doesn't mean we Christians get that right all the time. For me, it's clear, if you know me at all or have read several of my blog posts here, that I am not always a positive thinker. I know that God commands me to think on things that are of God, but I am not always obedient. Duh! We all make mistakes. And just to add this in: Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a SINLESS life and died for OUR sins because God loved us SO MUCH. God knows we can't keep it right all the time. He knows we need a Savior. And I am SO grateful for Jesus! So, this trending topic of the power of positive thinking is getting a bit out of control when folks are beginning to speak about the power as a real force----not just a cause and effect anymore. It's being spoke of as a way to connect with the "Universe" and the cosmos and get the things we need and a magical attitude....spell recipe or whatever you want to call it. haha!  

After reading....rather skimming some of the popular articles and books that are out on the bookshelves talking about this, I am seeing that people are thinking that positive thinking can actually, magically, alter their circumstances.  If that is not what the books are teaching then, the editor of their book should have chosen better words for their descriptions. Seriously.

Positive thinking is a great thing and should be practiced regularly by all because it can dramatically change a person's situation for the better when implemented, but it is not a terms of power of a superhero.  And we, are not people who hold any power of our own. SO, positive thinking isn't some magical thing on it's own. Ever.

There is the possibility that I may "ruffle some feathers", but I believe God's Word is the Truth and is Holy. I believe that everything else should be looked at through the filter of God's Word. Okay, now you can read my personal stance on this topic that I had already written in the next blog post.  Blessings.