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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Secret and the Prosperity Faith Message

Rusty and I watch a lot of Netflix. Mostly, we just watch Fringe and other Sci Fi-ish kind of shows. We used to watch a lot of Stargate until they took it off streaming (Don’t get me started on that!).

Anyway, last week, for kicks, I clicked on THE SECRET because I was curious and figured I could easily shut if off if I felt uneasy inside--which I eventually did. But as Russ and I got into the show, we looked at each other with a sort of bewildered, stupid grin and started quoting all the scripture that actually coincides with the principles that so many people are into—The Secret people and Prosperity message people.

I’m not going to list all the components of wealth, health and relationship happiness from The Secret. Watch it if you want, but do be careful, it’s pretty narcissistic. And while I do believe that God delights in the prosperity of his people, as the Word says, I also think he should be the one getting the glory.

I told Rusty, “What they’re saying is pretty true to scripture. The difference is, God isn’t given the glory, so it sets man up as god-like in his ability to bring these things to himself.” Rusty agreed, because he almost always does, and plus I think he was dozing off (because it’s a very long show) and I woke him up with my incredible insights.

I think God set up universal, natural laws that work no matter who works them. Prosperity is one of those. We’ve all heard the stories of non-Christians who tithe and are blessed because of it. The law of sowing and reaping comes into play just because God made laws for humans. He wants to be involved, but even if we choose not to involve him, it is what it is. It’s pretty sad when the Universe that He created gets the credit instead of the Creator, but people will do what they’re going to do and believe what they’re going to believe.

The Secret is starting to work its way through the church even. I kid you not. There are the popular “dream boards”, which I actually think are not a bad idea when kept in perspective. Even the Bible says we are to write the vision and make it plain. We heard a preacher talking about the Law of Attraction a few weeks ago and he said,
“Be thankful. Thankfulness attracts to you that for which you are thankful.” And maybe it is another universal law that God set up. So I’m being very careful what I’m thankful for. My dogs, for instance. We already have five. Don’t want to be too thankful and get more.

What The Secret and The Prosperity message neither take into account are the powerful lessons learned from hardship. Peaks without valleys. Without those seasons we’re a bunch of spoiled, entitled kids sitting in our parents’ basements playing video games and eating all the Doritos. It’s not about who has enough faith or who is walking in disobedience. Sometimes it’s just a really great Dad who says, “I’m going to teach you something. Pack your bags and get out of my house and get a job. Oh? You don’t have money for your own place? I see you have an iphone, video games up the wazoo, a flat screen TV, Blu ray player. And also, there's that fancy computer with the 25' screen. That oughtta get you a month’s rent.”

In other words, as good parents, sometimes we have to stop making it easy on our kids and let them go through some things in order for them to understand how to take care of themselves. I think God does that too—lets us go through hardship for various reasons. It doesn’t make us bad people for God to force us to discipline. It makes him a good and loving God.

That’s the thing I don’t like about the Faith message. It sets people up for guilt and condemnation when that’s just not what God intended. And Christians play into that. One time a woman asked me what on earth I was doing to displease God that Rusty hadn’t found a job yet and I didn’t have a contract. SIGH. We've gotten a lot of that sort of thing the past two and a half years.

The truth was, we were trying really hard to be good and do everything right. We had favor with man but I was miserable because I knew I couldn’t bargain with God. His ways are just way higher than mine. When I got over it, repented for trying to work my way into his favor, that’s when my career turned around ever-so-slightly. And look, there was nothing wrong with the “works” I was doing, I enjoyed aspects of serving. My motives were just wrong.

To be really clear, I don’t think God made Rusty lose his job or took away my ability to write a sellable idea, I just think during this time of not-so-many peaks and a little more valleys, He’s taught me how faithful He is to provide daily bread.

Honestly, if I did what The Secret suggests and wrote myself a ten million dollar check and envisioned it into something that wouldn’t actually bounce, I’d be ruined. I’d buy useless things, do too much for my kids and that ten million would be gone in a year. No kidding. One million I could work with. (smile). After the IRS took half or more, I’d pay all my bills including the house, tithe of course (although I’m not sure where, because my membership status is a bit iffy right now due to some unfortunate ticking off of some people lately) and give my brother $10K because we have a deal that with my first check for $100K or more I give him that amount. I’m not sure what his part of the deal is, except the other day he gave me a package of pork steaks from his freezer when I didn’t have anything to cook for supper. I think that makes things pretty even. ☺

Anyway, if you’re a prosperity through faith person, don’t be offended, I’m not saying God doesn’t prosper His people. Just don’t let anyone make you feel as though you’re displeasing God some way IF you are struggling with finances, health, in a relationship. We can never be righteous enough to earn his favor. We already have it because of Jesus. And really try not to get full of yourself when God does swing the (non new age, just a metaphor) pendulum back in your favor.

So, it’s not really a secret. Ask, seek, knock. It’s God who gives the power to get wealth (which includes health and good relationships). And if he gives it to you, don’t take the credit. ☺ But don’t get mad at Him if this is the season for Him to love you through his faithfulness. He’ll keep his promises. Your needs will be met.

Just ask me how I know.


Bekah said...

I am what many would consider a prosperity through faith person, but I can say that I agree with you. "Faith" is not about how much stuff a person can acquire or having the easy life. It is about trusting God to take care of you no matter what circumstances you face in the world. Some times will be easier than others, but God is with us in all of that. Yes, He wants us blessed - for the purpose of advancing His kingdom- not for lavishing it all upon ourselves. James talks about this when he says that we either don't ask or we ask amiss, and either way, we don't get God's blessing that way. We might find some money without God, but it won't last that way.

Anyways, thanks for this post, very good and got me thinking (as have most every single one of your books). :)

P.J.R said...

I totally agree with your outlook.I have had a run of illness lately and someone sent me a card and it was Hope your better on the front of the card then inside it said "so what did you do to find disfavor with God that he heaped these ills on you?" I was having a drop your mouth on the floor and close it so the flies do not get in kind of moment.Then I remember a line in a movie that said God does not give us what we want he gives us what we need..and I have all I need.I don't think my ill health is because I was a bad girl.Things happen for a reason and I think God wanted me to slow down and pay attention and this is one way of doing that.
Thanks for posting.I enjoy your blog.

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