I am convinced that one of the primary lessons that God is bringing to the fore in these challenging days centers on the power of thought. Granted, this is not a new awareness on the part of humanity as teachings on divine thought power have been recorded even in ancient times. However, the widespread emphasis on understanding the role thought plays in helping create the quality of life we experience is relatively new. More and more people are becoming aware of and interested in these mental laws and how to use them.
Even the most cursory survey of recent publications will reveal America’s burgeoning fascination with the power of thought. Go into any major bookstore, search the shelves, and you will see a plethora of titles related to our thought life in general and the potential power of thought in particular. What’s more fascinating is that these books are found in diverse sections, from self-help, to psychology, to personal growth, and even Christianity. What’s going on here?
Many sources attribute this growing interest in our cognitive functioning to the runaway popularity of Rhonda Byrne’s book and DVD entitled, The Secret. Byrne’s book deals primarily with “The Law of Attraction,” which basically states that if you think about something long enough with the right frame of mind, you will see it manifest in your life. Byrne treats the subject from a secular perspective and in a somewhat sensational fashion, however, a review of her book is beyond the scope of this article. The pertinent issue here is: Is the Law of Attraction valid and, if so, does it have positive implications for spiritual development.
My personal answers to these two questions are: Yes and Yes.
First, there is nothing new or “secret” about the Law of Attraction. The notion that somehow there was a conspiracy to keep this and other mental laws suppressed is, to put it frankly, nonsense. The Law of Attraction or its equivalent under other names has been well-known for thousands of years. Buddha asserted, for example, that a man’s life is created by his thoughts. The Advaita School of Vedanta (Hindu) also contains many similar teachings. In the West, Egyptian metaphysical religion and the Greek Hermetic teachings detailed the Law of Attraction as well as other metaphysical principles that have been passed down through the centuries.
During the 19th Century, the New Thought Movement stressed the power of thinking as its major tenet and, within the many schools of that movement, continues to develop similar teachings right up through the present. Science of Mind, Divine Science, and the Unity School of Christianity are but a few contemporary examples of New Thought.
In Christian tradition, the Law of Attraction and associated principles have been seen in such well-known figures as Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. Today, the most significant home of these principles, at least under the Christian umbrella, can be found in the Word of Faith Movement, the fastest growing segment of the church.
From a biblical perspective, Solomon tells us in Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” On one level, what Solomon was getting at was the reality that a person’s consistent thoughts, especially his deepest thoughts (in his heart) tend to define who that person is. On another level, this verse, as well as much psychological research, tends to point to the fact that our thoughts have a magnetic quality, drawing to us the things we think about most. In practical terms, the Law of Attraction boils down to a simple principle: thoughts become things.
Looking briefly at Genesis 1, we can see that God created the world through his thoughts. The biblical text states that the world came into being at God’s verbal command – his words. In a sense, he spoke them into existence. And what are our words? Words are expressions of our thoughts. The Law of Attraction, from a biblical perspective, is related to the fact that we were created in the image of God. In a sense, we possess similar characteristics as those possessed by God. By thinking repeated thoughts they grow stronger, and, according to proponents of the Faith Movement, when we speak them, they grow even stronger. Through repetition, taken with faith in a positive outcome, what we are speaking will eventually come into manifestation.
Whether you believe the teachings of the Faith Movement is not the issue here. The important thing is that we not throw the baby out with the bath water. The Law of Attraction, like the law of gravity, is a natural part of God’s creation. Our capacity to use the Law was placed in us by the Creator and we should use it in accordance with his laws and his purposes.
Unfortunately, many teachers, especially those associated with the Prosperity Gospel, have appropriated the Law of Attraction to be used for the accumulation of wealth. I don’t personally think this is a biblical position, but I am not the sole source of authority on this. You have to evaluate whether or not God wants you to be rich for yourself. The problem here is the fact that many people who are opposed to the message of these prosperity teachers throw out the method because they feel it is being used for material purposes. I believe this is a mistake.
Our thoughts contain creative power and can be of great assistance to us in pursuit of godly character and spiritual development. Further, we can use the Law of Attraction to help bring about the Kingdom on earth. If we have within us a creative power that can help with manifesting God’s desires on earth, then we should use it in his service. The key principle to follow is: make sure you are using it for the betterment of yourself and all creation.
Here at LifeBrook, we stress the importance of what we have come to call “Conscious Cognition.” In essence, it is imperative that we become mindful of our thoughts and, as Paul says, take every thought captive for Christ. We stress the importance of positive thinking and positive planning, coupled with positive prayer, to create a meaningful and purposeful life.
There are several factors to consider once you commit yourself to the process of developing sacred character. First, you must realize that transforming character is just that: a process; it is not an event. Character development takes time. Next, you must come to the vital understanding that all personal change starts in your mind. Deepen your awareness of those areas of your thinking where you are controlled by ideas of limitation. God is unlimited in what He can accomplish and, although the human part of you has obvious limitations, the divine part of you is created in the image of God and is unlimited. If you can firmly believe this, you are well on your way to realizing your divine potential.
Let go of limited thinking and come to expect God’s best because that is what He wants for you. He wants you to become the absolute best version of yourself, growing increasingly in the image of Christ. Begin to see the future with faith, hope, and vision. With diligence, let the Holy Spirit help you to create new wineskins of thought. Keep in mind that God can’t pour new, creative thoughts into your old limited wineskins. It is primarily for this reason that Paul stresses the need for tearing down “strongholds” that we have erected in our minds. Viewed from a basic perspective, a stronghold is an almost automatic mental/emotional response that has become a deeply ingrained part of us.
When life presents you with problems, many times there is nothing you can do about it. However, you can have complete control over your response to any problem life sends your way. You can have greater peace of mind if you just choose to have the right kind of thoughts. Focus your entire being on finding solutions, rather than wallowing in the problems at hand.
Work diligently to find your Inner Light, that still, quiet part of your being that serves as the Holiest of Holies where you and God connect. Once you find this sacred sanctuary, continue to take proactive measures to deepen and maintain your contact with this sacred aspect of your being. The more time you spend in “sacred silence,” the better. In addition to reducing stress and helping you to relax, you will also become more centered and focused. Important spiritual traits will begin to flow out of the sacred silence and into your everyday life; traits such as improved concentration and mindfulness, attention to detail, and emotional balance.
(c) L.D. Turner 2008/All Rights Reserved