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What is your view of the “Law of Attraction”?

Today’s Question: What is your view on the “Law of Attraction” seminars based on the film called The Secret?

Linda from Tennessee

Bible Answer: For those who are not aware of the “Law of Attraction” it is a belief that thoughts and feelings produce an energy which attracts good or bad events in one’s life. If one thinks and feels that good will come to him, then good will come to him. The same is true of the bad. The film simply repackages the ideas of positive thinking into a more mystical approach.

I have watched the film and read the book by Rhonda Byrne and I have mixed feelings about them. Watching the film reminded me of the wisdom of the cow—he chews the cud while spitting out the sticks. I had to do this when I watched it. I had to receive the good while spitting out the bad. Obviously there is a lot to be said about the importance of a positive outlook on life and expecting the best. Jesus said, “According to your faith will it be done to you" (Matt 9:29). Paul reminds us of the importance of our thought life, “Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil 4:8). Our thoughts do affect our lives. As wise Solomon once observed, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7, KJV).

            The trouble I had with the teaching of the “Law of Attraction” is it falls short of the biblical standard of faith. When Jesus talked about faith He encouraged “faith in God” (Mark 11:23).

            1. It leaves out God.  The film talks about the “universal energy force” that causes our thoughts to materialize. Of course, a Christian watching the film could interchange the energy force as a synonym for God. The trouble is God is more than simply a universal energy force. He has a will and purpose. God is not an impersonal force that can be manipulated by man’s will and desire. Though God is good and desires good for our lives, this is not an automatic stamp of approval that whatever we want God will give it to us. We also have a part to play which the Bible calls obedience. Since God is left out of this teaching, so is obedience to God.

        After watching the film the viewer is left with the wrong assumption that basically the only requirement to living an abundant life with health and unlimited wealth is to simply visualize you with these things. It doesn’t matter to the student if his life is in sync with God, because he believes the “Law of Attraction” will work for anyone.

            2. It leaves out morality. In one illustration, the film interviews a homosexual who talks about the ridicule he received because of his sexual orientation. As soon as he discovers that he is causing the people to dislike him because he is “expecting” them to be mean, he then changes his attitude by expecting people to like him. And it works. People start to treat him nice.

            If he had the power to get “other” people to like him, why not use the same power to get “him” to change. The Bible would encourage this man, not so much to use the power to change people’s opinion of him, but rather to use his faith in God to bring healing to his damaged psyche which has caused his orientation. In the end, the teaching does not dwell on any morality. You cannot desire and visualize doing wrong or having wrong things and expect God to give it to you.

            3. It leaves out the confession of faith. It is not enough to visualize yourself being rich or healthy you have to confess the Word of God. Christianity is called the “Great Confession.” It is not the “Great Feeling” or the “Great Thought.” Though good feelings and good thoughts are important, unless the thoughts are released through words, God does not release His power. God releases His power through our words.

            In speaking on the power of faith, Jesus said, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him” (Mark 11:22-23). It is not enough to think thoughts, you must speak them.

            The words you must speak are the words of God. Positive speaking is not sufficient. The Bible teaches positive confession of God’s Word. “The Secret” leaves out the need to confess God’s promises.

4. It leaves out the power of resistance. Actually, the author denies the power of resisting evil. As the book claims, “What you resist, you attract.” This is wrong!

            The Bible is clear, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). However, the author believes that resisting evil will bring more evil into your life. But, we are in a battle against the spiritual forces of evil. And to resist those forces, do not attract them into our lives. Resisting those forces causes them to flee.

            The producers consider it dangerous to focus on eradicating evil. They prefer the method of imagining good instead of the real evil facing us. This is what I consider one of the most dangerous teachings of “The Secret.” Though I believe in the power of positive thinking, the author departs from mainstream positive thinkers at this juncture by encouraging the readers to ignore evil and not give attention to it. If people really practiced this part of the philosophy, then much damage could result, such as an increase of crime, poverty, war, genocide, drugs, terrorism, and other horrible problems. The author is wrong at this point—we need to fight what is wrong, and doing so will not increase more of it; the opposite is true, we will have less of it.

            The devil would love for us to adopt the “stick your head in the sand” strategy—ignore the devil and the evil he brings and he will go away. It must give Satan great pleasure for us to ignore evil instead of resisting it.   

            5. It leaves out self denial. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Life is not all about health and riches, but sometimes it involves sacrifice. For the sake of the gospel, Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:11-13). Although the producers of the “Law of Attraction” call their movie “The Secret”, the truth is, the real secret Paul discovered was the ability to be “content whatever the circumstances.”

            Sometimes God calls us to make great sacrifices for the sake of gospel. Paul learned to do this and still remained happy. I think this is “The Secret” everyone needs to discover.  

            In summary, I think the believer in Christ is better served by sticking with the teaching from the ministers of the gospel, who promote a well-balanced and faith-filled life with God. 

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