Does Positive Confession Work?

Does Positive Confession Work?

by Nick Lotter on April 19, 2016

For the past few months I have been preaching a topical series on “The Most Misunderstood Verses in the Bible”.

The aim of the series is not to point a finger at anybody who has used a verse wrongly out of context, or used any of the clichés. We have all done that at some point or another. Actually, the aim is to demonstrate the right way to read, interpret and understand Scripture, so that we can be equipped to study the Bible and understand God’s Word.

You are reading an edited transcript of a sermon I preached on 17 April 2016. If you prefer, you can download the sermon or listen to it online. 

In the first sermon, we looked at one verse that everyone has memorized – even unbelievers – that being Matthew 7:1 and our two favourite words: Judge Not. Second, we looked at one verse that every Christian knows and quotes – that being Jeremiah 29:11 – God has Plans to Prosper us. Third, we looked at 1 Corinthians 10:13 and the Christian cliché – “God will not give us more than we can handle”.

This past Sunday evening, I chose to preach on something that has become a very popular teaching on Christian television and radio.

Speak It Into The Atmosphere

 

Does Positive Confession WorkOn Monday at around lunch time, I was driving and listening to the radio with half an ear when I heard the radio presenter say something strange. I heard her say the words “speak it into the atmosphere”.

At first I was like, “Do what?” So I started listened more carefully. I can’t repeat word for word what she said, but she was saying that if you want good things to happen in your life, you need to speak those things into existence. She was saying that there is power in your words.

So whatever you speak into the atmosphere, it will become reality. If you want a promotion at work, you need to speak your promotion into the atmosphere. You need to say out loud “I am getting a promotion. I have already been promoted. I am successful. I am appreciated.”

According to her, then, the power to change our circumstances is in the power of our tongue and what we say. If we say positive things over our lives or our childrens’ lives, then those words have the power to make positive things happen. Unfortunately, though, the reverse is also true – if you say negative things, negative things will follow you.

So in a nutshell, you have the power to basically design your life. You can change your situation, and the power to do that is in your faith-filled words. Think of what you want, say it, speak it out into the atmosphere, and apparently, it’s going to happen.

Now my mind was racing!

We have been talking a lot about missions and outreach at our church lately. We recently had the people from Logos Hope speak to us about the mission work they do. One of my friends has been showing us videos about Mission Aviation Fellowship and the work they do to reach unreached people with the Gospel. We had an hour of prayer specifically to pray for Christians around the world who are being arrested, tortured and murdered in horrific ways because they will not deny Jesus Christ. We watched video clips and interviews showing precious brothers and sisters in Christ who literally have nothing. Their most precious possession is a Bible, and yet being caught with one is a death sentence where they live. They are under constant threat of arrest, injury or death, yet still, their faith is so strong that in spite of the horror of their reality, they refuse to deny Christ… they would rather die.

Imagine if all that those poor persecuted Christians had to do, was just speak a better life for themselves into the atmosphere! Imagine if they just needed to say the words “I am loved by ISIS and they don’t want to kill me” and then imagine all the terrorists sending them home with money to rebuild their lives – all because they spoke positive things over their lives.

So quickly I got our my phone and I sent a message to the radio station’s Whatsapp number, which appears on the presenter’s computer screen, and this is the message I sent:

“Madam, maybe you can get the message out to all the persecuted Christians in the world who are being tortured and murdered for their faith, that they just need to speak a better life for themselves into the atmosphere.”

Sadly, I never heard back from them.

Well, the same message was sent out to East London’s radios on Tuesday. And the same again on Wednesday. On Wednesday a friend asked me what I’m preaching on that week. I said… “I think I’m going to talk about the power of the tongue and speaking things into existence.”

Is this Historical Christianity?

There is actually a name for this belief. Actually, there are a couple of titles given to it, but in Christian circles, the most common name for it is “Positive Confession”. Many accept it as historical Christianity because it is taught by so many of the popular TV preachers of our day.

Simply accepting something because some famous guys teach it is not the acid test of authenticity though, is it? So I began tracing this concept to look for the origin of the teaching.

Sometimes when you trace the steps of something, you get a real shock when you discover where the rabbit hole leads.

Word of Faith Movement

Fred Price Name It and Claim ItKenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, John Haggee, Paula White, Fred Price, Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen… they all teach this principle of the power of Positive Confession.

Hagin and Copeland in particular were heavily influenced by Essek Kenyon – a Oneness Pentecostal who lived between 1867 and 1948. It was Essek who coined the phrase “What I confess, I possess”.

These Word of Faith preachers then began referring to it simply as “name it and claim it”.

Fred Price actually published a book about it back in 1992 already, titled “Name It and Claim It: The Power of Positive Confession”.

The Law of Attraction

But the TV preachers aren’t the only people teaching this principle. If you know Oprah Winfrey, then you also know The Secret. The Secret is a book written by Rhonda Byrne and published in 2006, which teaches a technique called “The Law of Attraction”.

The Secret Rhonda ByrneThe book was published in 2006, but the techniques it teaches go back a long time earlier in history. On page 4 of the book, Rhonda says that The Law of Attraction can be traced back to ancient religions around 5000 years ago.

The Law of Attraction, in a nutshell, is a technique that involves visualizing a certain goal, and then constantly focusing on it, speaking things and doing things as though that goal has already been achieved.

This is called attracting what you want by your positive thoughts and focus. On page 9, Rhonda writes the following:

“When you focus your thoughts on something you want, and you hold that focus, you are in that moment summoning what you want with the mightiest power in the Universe.”

I was surprised to find out during my research that there is actually a Hindi version of The Secret. Now why would Hindu’s be interested in reading The Secret? So I dug a little deeper and this is what I found on one Hindi spiritual website:

The Secret in Hindu“The law of attraction owes a lot to the Hindu concept of karma and dharma. Karma implies a cause and effect….Good conduct breeds good results. Dharma is relevant to the law of attraction as dharma means purpose in life. Each of us has a purpose in life. The law of attraction speaks to identifying the aim of ones life through self discovery.” (1)

If you do some research of your own, you will find that the Hindu religion actually embraces and teaches the Law of Attraction and the power of positive confession.

Rhonda Byrne goes on to say on page 41 of The Secret:

“All good things are your birthright! You are the creator of you, and the law of attraction is your magnificent tool to create whatever you want in your life. Welcome to the magic of life, and the magnificence of You!”

So the Law of Attraction says that you can have anything you want. You are your creator, and you can use the creative power of your words to create whatever you want in your life, simply by speaking positive things over your life.

Notice she uses the word “magic”. Actually that’s no coincidence. I actually found another version of The Secret that is simply titled “The Magic”. So I dug further and I discovered that the Law of Attraction is actually a core ingredient in the ancient arts of Black Magick.

Wicca / Witchcraft

Aleister Crowley, who is best known for being a major occultist with connections to Satanism, said this in his book “Magick in Theory and Practice”:

“Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.”

Positive Confession in MagickSo I began to investigate connections to witchcraft and wicca, and this is what was stated on one Wicca website called wiccacourse.co.uk:

“Whenever you are casting a Wiccan spell you are using the Law of Attraction and whenever a Law of Attraction practitioner says an affirmation, he or she is really doing magick.” (2)

Howtobeawitchhq.com said:

“By formulating a witchcraft ritual you are creating and therefore taking responsibility for the circumstances of your life. This is the main message that the Law of Attraction has been broadcasting. The Law of Attraction is something that has been very familiar with witches for thousands of years as a very elementary teaching in witchcraft.” (2)

What I found is that the practice of speaking into existence the things that we want is not only being taught on Christian TV and radio.

What should be very alarming to us is that the idea that we should speak things that we want into existence, or speak our goals into the atmosphere, or speak positive things over our lives or our childrens’ lives, has also been taught by New Age occultists, wiccans, witches and Satanists for a very long time.

It may go by different names – Positive Confession, Name it and Claim it, The Law of Attraction, Karma, Dharma… but it is the same principle.

That should alarm us.

Joel Osteen

One of the reasons this principle has been so widely and easily accepted into Christianity by this generation, is due to the popularity of one very popular preacher by the name of Joel Osteen. Of all the TV preachers of our day, nobody has done more to popularize Positive Confession than Joel.

He has often appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show and she just loves the guy, because Joel is arguably the most prominent teacher of The Law of Attraction today.

Joel Osteen The Power of I AmIn his latest book – “The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today” – Joel writes the following on page 2:

“Here’s the principle. Whatever follows the “I am” will eventually find you. When you say, “I am so clumsy,” clumsiness comes looking for you. “I am so old.” Wrinkles come looking for you. “I am so overweight.” Calories come looking for you. It’s as though you’re inviting them. Whatever you follow the “I am” with, you’re handing it an invitation, opening the door, and giving it permission to be in your life. The good news is you get to choose what follows the “I am.” When you go through the day saying, “I am blessed,” blessings come looking for you. “I am talented.” Talent comes looking for you. You may not feel up to par, but when you say, “I am healthy,” health starts heading your way. “I am strong.” Strength starts tracking you down. You’re inviting those things into your life.”

Now compare what Joel Osteen has written there, with what is written on this Wiccan blog:

“You can create your own affirmations for pretty much everything. Say you want a new job. You could use an affirmation like “I am getting a new job that I love.” Wanting to find a new partner in life? How about using “I will find my true love.” (3)

We need to stop here and ask the question… Why are Joel Osteen and other popular teachers on Christian TV and radio teaching something that is common practice in the occult?

Joel writes on page 7:

“Words have creative power…. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Life and death are in the power of our tongue.” It’s up to you to choose what follows the “I am.”

This is the verse that you will see and hear referred to every time a Christian teacher pushes the idea of positive confession and speaking things into existence:

Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”

Is it Biblical?

So we need to ask the question then: is this in fact a Biblical theme?

Proverbs 18:21 does say that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Isn’t that saying that your tongue is powerful? And if that is in the Bible, surely we should believe it?

I mean sure, the same thing is taught in the occult, and Hinduism, and Buddhism, and Satanism, and witchcraft and wicca… but maybe those guys just ripped off a Christian principle and adapted it to their own religion?

The only way to know, is to see if this is the correct interpretation of Proverbs 18:21, and also to see if it is taught anywhere else in Scripture.

Some Major Contradictions

CONFESSION OF SIN

First, I want to deal with some glaring problems and contradictions with some of the core aspects of the Christian faith.

What needs to happen before we can be saved?

We need to acknowledge our guilt and sinfulness and confess it to the Lord.

We need to repent and say “God, I am a sinner. I am guilty of breaking your commandments and violating your laws. Please have mercy on me and forgive me on account of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, which He did for the payment of sins committed against you.”

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

Positive confession says you shouldn’t do that.

Positive confession says that’s the opposite of what you must do.

This is why Joel Osteen never talks about sin in his sermons. Positive Confession says you must declare “I am righteous! I am a saint!” Not “God I am a sinner and in need of your mercy!

Scripture says you can say you’re a righteous saint until kingdom come, but unless you humble yourself before God,repent and confess you are a guilty sinner, and ask God to forgive you, you will never be righteous and you certainly won’t be saved.

I would imagine, that if Positive Confession was a Biblical concept, then an awful lot of people in Scripture would be in real trouble now.

Like Isaiah, for example, who said:

Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5)

Or the writer of Psalm 88 who pours out his heart in shame and confession of his sins.

Actually, the Bible is filled to the brim with people crying out to God for mercy and saying “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13)

According to the principles of Positive Confession, those people should go to hell and they brought it upon themselves by speaking it over their lives.

ONLY GOD IS CREATOR

Secondly, there is only One who has creative power in His words, and He is God.

In The Secret, Rhonda Byrne writes on page 164:

“You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as you.” (The Secret, p. 164)

This is the underlying message of New Age occultism and Positive Confession. It says you can be like God. You can do what God can do. You can be God.

It implies that you don’t need God, because you can create your own reality with your words just God does.
This is quite obviously blasphemy and completely unbiblical.

Proverbs 18:21

Those glaring problems aside, let’s turn our attention to the proof text – to Proverbs 18:21.

The first thing you will notice if you open your Bible to Proverbs 18:21 is that Joel has not quoted the whole verse.

Actually, nobody who teaches this stuff ever quotes the whole verse. They only quote the first half. The whole verse says:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Why don’t they quote the second half of that verse?

The second half of the verse clarifies the first half. Those who love it will eat its fruits – to eat its fruits means you will pay the consequences. What it means is, your words have consequences.

This verse actually is saying that our words have power, and the things that you say have very serious consequences. Maybe you’re thinking, “Well Nick, that kinda sounds like what these positive confession guys have been saying.”

But hang on a second. There is no question that this verse is saying that our words have power.

But power to do what?

You see, if this verse is saying that your words have creative power to speak things into existence and affect your pocket, your popularity etc, then that must agree with the context of the chapter, the book, and the rest of Scripture.

As I have been saying throughout this series, the Bible doesn’t say what we want it to say. The Bible says what it says, and we have to find out what that is and then bend our will to conform with Scripture, not bend Scripture to conform to our will. We cannot remove a verse from its context and then decide for ourselves what it should mean. The context determines what the verse means, not our imagination.

What is the context of chapter 18?

If you read the rest of chapter 18, you will start to see that there is a common theme – which is how foolish words affect others and our relationships with others.

Verse 6 – “A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.

Verse 13 – “If a man gives an answer before he hears (again speaking before thinking), it is his folly and shame.

Verse 19 – “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

But a key verse in this chapter, that I believe clarifies the context of the chapter and the meaning of verse 21, is verse 14 – “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

People can endure many physical troubles – sickness, financial trouble, job issues, and still be fine… but nothing can crush your spirit like cruel words spoken by a friend or family member.

Friends, that is the context of chapter 18 and verse 21.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue – our words, our communication, our body language even, the things we say to one another – they have the power to break others down and crush their spirits, or to build them up and encourage them.

We who speak those words – either of breaking people down or building them up – will have to face the consequences of what we have said. We will be held accountable. That’s what it means when it says those who love it will eat the fruits thereof.

That’s also exactly what Jesus says in Matthew 12:36-37

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, (37) for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Proverbs 18:21 is not talking about power to speak money or anything else into existence. There is absolutely nothing in chapter 18 that has anything to do with creative power. It’s talking about the power of our words to build each other up or break each other down, and we will face the consequences of what we say.

Other Texts

Positive Confession certainly doesn’t fit the context of Proverbs chapter 18. What if we broaden our search to the rest of the book?

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)

A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin. (Proverbs 26:28)

Friends, these texts are saying the same thing – our words have the power to hurt, or to heal. You won’t find anything at all in the book of Proverbs that supports the idea that we can speak things into existence, or that our words have creative power.

Understanding the rest of the teaching of the book of Proverbs further cements the understanding that Proverbs 18:21 is talking about the power of our words to hurt or build up people and the affect of our words on our relationships.

For example, lying and gossiping about one another brings ruin.

It was very interesting seeing an interview that Ray Ortlund did with John Piper’s Desiring God website. Ray is a pastor and a blogger on the Gospel Coalition website. He has also published an excellent commentary on Proverbs. In his commentary (Proverbs: Wisdom That Works) he writes: “I have never seen adultery send a whole church into meltdown. Gossip, by contrast, is often perceived as a little sin. But it destroys churches.”

Ray Ortlund Commentary on ProverbsThat’s an astounding thought, and it’s exactly what Proverbs 18:21 is saying. Sins that physically affect us, like adultery, are devastating and incredibly hurtful. And yet nothing can destroy people, relationships, and even churches, like the hurtful words of our friends and family.

A countless number of people have committed suicide because of ruined relationships and abusive words spoken by people they looked to for love and affection. Our words have powerful influence to build up, or to break down and destroy. Life and death are in the power of our words.

This is not just a warning to stay away from negative words though; it is an encouragement to build one another up with positive words.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6)

Our words not only have the power of death – to break down and destroy people and relationships – but they also have the power to build up and greatly encourage one another and strengthen one another.

Do you have any idea how much strength people get when they are sick or struggling, and they get a simple phone call to encourage them and let them know that we are praying for them? When you know that somebody cares about you, is thinking of you, praying for you, and you hear encouraging words from them, that gives you strength to still have joy no matter how much pain you’re in.

James 3

The power of the tongue is also a major theme of James 3:

If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (James 3:3-6)

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:9-10)

Our tongues may be small, and you may think that mere words can’t do much harm, but the teaching of Scripture is that your tongue and the words you speak have a major effect and will carry major consequences. Like a small bit can steer a muscular horse, and a tiny rudder can determine the direction of a ship, our words have massive impact on others.

You have heard it said, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” The Bible disagrees with that sentiment. Our words are incredibly hurtful, and cause major harm.

The right teaching and interpretation of Proverbs 18:21, as well as the associated texts we have looked at, is that we need to guard our tongues, not blabber off a list of things we want.

Proverbs 18 and other texts warn us that the words you say to others, either behind their backs in gossip, or careless words said in anger, have immense consequences that will affect you AND the person you are speaking to. So much hurt has been felt by careless, hurtful words. Churches have been destroyed. Marriages have been destroyed. Relationships with children have been destroyed.

True Encouragement

But what a great impact they can also have if we encourage one another and build each other up, by pointing to Christ’s work in our lives.

Building one another up, by the way, is not flattery. Flattery is saying something that isn’t true. Speaking positive things over your children’s lives that isn’t true, like saying “you are an academic student” even when the kid is barely passing, is not doing the kid any favours. You might think you are inviting academic results into his life, but it’s just flattery and it’s a lie.

Do you really believe it is God’s will for you to speak lies? To say things which are not true? To speak of things as if they are a certain way, when you know they are not? Would God tell us to do that? To lie? To sin?

The right way to encourage your child and build him up is to encourage him with the truth – for example, to say that you can see how the Lord has brought about X, Y and Z changes in his character. Tell him that you can see how the Lord has been working in him in such a way that you can see how hard he has been working. You can see how kind he has been to his sister. These are true statements that encourage further positive growth in those aspects of his character.

Encourage him with the truth that though he may not possess many of the things others have, we have something far greater. Though we don’t own the BMW his buddy’s family has, or the 8 bedroom mansion on the Nahoon river, we have something of infinitely greater value. Encourage him with the truth that we have Jesus and the promise of eternal life, even though we deserve death.

Everything else is secondary and pitiful in comparison.

That’s truly building each other up.

That’s the true meaning of Proverbs 18:21.

Is it Serious?

After all this, you might ask, is it really that serious? How much harm can really be done by trying to speak good things over our lives? Does it really deserve this much scrutiny?

A Heart Issue

This, like most things, is a matter that reveals the condition of our heart. It reveals where our treasure is. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

If your idea of building each other up and speaking positively into your life and your children’s lives, is to speak into existence material and temporal things like that BMW, the mansion on the river, the job promotion, the financial increase, the academic excellence… and your desire is to seek those things more than seeking God and His righteousness… then what does that reveal about the condition of your heart?

Consider what James now says in chapter 4:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:1-3)

One of the major issues with Positive Confession is that people are going to busy themselves by “speaking out into the atmosphere” all the things that they want, and when it doesn’t happen, they are going to do one of 2 things:

Either they will begin to doubt their own faith and drive themselves crazy thinking about whether they are even saved, or…

They will begin to doubt God, because they are speaking these faith-filled words but the porsche ain’t coming and neither is the promotion.

The reason you are going to speak things into the atmosphere until you are blue in the face but never receive it is not because God is deaf, but because you are asking wrongly from the passions of a heart that desires worldly pleasures more than God.

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:4-5)

That’s the issue right there. Friendship with the world, focusing all your energy and thoughts on worldly pleasures like prosperity, wealth and health is being at war with God, and God is a jealous God!

It is adultery against God. It is idolatry.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:6-8)

You see this whole positive confession thing – speaking things into existence, and what The Secret calls having everything as your birthright and calling yourself the creator of you – that is exalting yourself over God.

It’s the very height and pinnacle of pride. It says “I can be my own creator. I can control my own destiny. I can create everything I want. I can be God.”

But God opposes the proud. He doesn’t call us to exalt ourselves, but to submit ourselves to God and exalt HIM.

Resist the devil! That’s where all this positive confession stuff is coming from. Satan wants to tempt you with all the fleshly and worldly desires – just like he tried to tempt Jesus with them in the wilderness. Resist the devil and he will flee.

Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:9-10)

The Law of Attraction and Positive Confession says never think of yourself as wretched. Never mourn or cry over your sins. But the Holy Spirit says be wretched, mourn and cry over your sins, humble yourself before the Lord. Submit to Him. Surrender to Him. And then HE will exalt you.

In your faith and repentance, HE will give you the HIGHEST honor – that of being called righteous, and a child of the Living God!

THAT is what where our hearts should be. That is what we should seek.

Conclusion

In conclusion, let’s get real honest with ourselves and each other.

You might think I am making too big a deal out of this. You might want to ask me: “Nick, are you saying that I will go to hell for trying to speak positive things over my life and speak good things into existence? I am just asking for positive things…what’s the harm in that?

My response is no, you won’t go to hell simply for speaking things into the atmosphere or trying to speak good things over your life or your childrens’ lives.

But you might be in danger of hell for rejecting the grace of God.

If worldly treasure is where your heart is, then the world has your heart, not Jesus.

That’s why in the same chapter that Jesus says “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”, a few verses later Jesus says in Matthew 6:24:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Do you know how to tell if you serve God or money? It’s if you’ve been told that Jesus died so that we can have eternal life, but the foremost desire of your heart is still to have more money.

God is good.

The Holy Spirit says in James 4:6-10 “But [God] gives more grace” and “humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.

I’ll tell you what our problem is: our problem is that God has offered us something of infinitely greater value than anything this world has to offer, and yet we would reject it in exchange for some temporary things like wealth and popularity.

You have heard it said that Jesus Christ died on a cross and took God’s wrath for your sin, and became sin in your place so that you can receive His righteousness and eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:21),and that doesn’t satisfy you. It’s not enough for you.

Yes, you want it, yes it looks appealing to you, but you’re not satisfied with it.

You believe that somehow there must be more. Surely I can have Jesus and money, health, popularity. And you get depressed when you don’t have those things, or when you lose those things. Your heart sinks when you lose those treasures, because that is where your heart is. That is what your heart belongs to.

We Choose the Rot over the Magnificent

In the wilderness, Satan tries to tempt Jesus with the most pathetic things. I mean, Satan goes to the King of the Universe – and there is NOTHING that is not under Jesus’ feet and that is not already his. All of heaven and earth, and all the praise and honor of angels belongs to Him. And Satan comes and tries to tempt Jesus with bread?

Give me a break!

Jesus is the King of all creation, but Satan tries to offer him the broken and fallen kingdoms of earth?

Pathetic!

But here we are…

Guilty sinners deserving of God’s judgement, and yet Jesus pays it all for us, and then says to us:

Come to me all who thirst and drink!! And you will never thirst again! (John 4:13-14, John 7:36-37)

Come to me all who hunger and you will never go hungry again! (John 6:35)

Come to me all who are weary and find rest! (Matthew 11:28)

Come to me and receive eternal life! (John 14:6)

But we are like, “Ya thank you Jesus, that’s cool and all, but there’s also this car I want… and I need these new clothes.. and I need these people to like me.., and I need my kids to get this scholarship… and why aren’t you giving that to me Jesus? I need them… don’t you love me?”

Allow me to put it to you bluntly.

It’s like two meals are put down in front of us to choose from.

God lays before us a feast of the most amazing foods – foods we can’t even imagine right now. A spread like no table has ever seen before of every good food there is. Juicy, delectable, delicious foods that satisfy our taste and hunger and gives us eternal joy and satisfaction…

And Satan puts down a filthy dirt bin lid with some pig snot and gravel…

And we run to the pig snot every time. We throw ourselves into it. We love it. We gulp it down and ask for more.

Remember those persecuted Christians I spoke about earlier?

They spoke in those interviews with smiles on their dirty, wrinkled faces. Though they didn’t know if they would get a meal that day, or the next… though wives had their husbands taken from them and they didn’t even know if they were alive… though men sat rotting in prisons for years for no reason other than because they are Christian… though they were mistreated and suffered the worst injustices at the hands of wicked people… they have joy.

They speak of Christ as their most precious treasure. They have no earthly possessions…everything taken away…and they could get it all back and the pain would all end if they would just deny Jesus! But they refuse, because their faith is strong! They love Jesus more than anything else. They have life in abundance. They have eternal life. And they are more than satisfied.

And now you think that the Christian life, having life in abundance and having more faith is about speaking a better job into the atmosphere and speaking financial increase over your life?

Give me a break!

You’re trading glorious eternity with Christ for a short-lived, rotten few bucks.

You think people who don’t have financial freedom, good jobs, health etc are in that position because they don’t have faith? You think you have a more comfortable life than they do because you have more faith than they do? 

How dare you!?

There are thousands of Christians – poverty-stricken Christians – who are murdered and tortured every year because they refuse to deny Jesus. Check out Voice of the Martyrs if you don’t believe me. Their faith is so strong, and they believe Jesus so much, that they would rather be burned alive than deny Him… but you won’t even deny your own selfish desires for Jesus and you think your faith is somehow stronger?

You deny Jesus every time you demonstrate that you are not content with what you have (1 Timothy 6:6-11) and you send a list of wishful words into the air for more! Because you don’t believe Jesus is all you need…

God Gives More Grace

The good news is that Jesus died even to pay for these sins of idolatry, my friends.

If you are convicted of having too much love for the things of this world and not being satisfied with Jesus, run to Him and confess before Him and you will be forgiven. He has more than enough grace for you.

Humble yourself before the Lord and He will exalt you.

Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you.

Because God is a good and generous Father.

He provides for all our needs, and yes, even blesses us financially. Don’t be anxious about anything (Matthew 6:25-34) – if God takes care of the birds, how much better will He take care of us? He loves us and we are of so much more worth than the birds! And even if in God’s wisdom He allows us to enter times of trial and difficulty, we know that this is not our home; our home is still to come, and where our home is, there is no lack and no tears. Forevermore.

Don’t spend your life storing up worldly treasure that rots away… rather surrender everything to God and He will supply your every need.

Much greater than that, He will give you Himself.

_______________________________________

References

(1) http://universalmindlaws.blogspot.co.za/2009/02/hinduism-karma-and-law-of-attraction.html

(2) These websites are since no longer active, but I found them also quoted and referred to here: http://beginningandend.com/apostasy-alert-joel-osteen-and-oprah-preach-new-age-magic/. Visit this website for more information on the link between The Law of Attraction and Wicca:  http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/MagicalTheory/a/Law-Of-Attraction.htm

(3) http://wiccanmoonsong.blogspot.co.za/2013/01/working-with-positive-affirmations.html

 

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