Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor
Dissecting "The Secret"
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|This is the third in a series of articles that examines a craze called "The Secret." If you've thought that The Secret offers something Good or even Great, then what I will share in these articles will be Greater — not because I say so, but because the weight of evidence supports this conclusion.|
1 - When the Head is Out of Harmony with the Heart
2 - Getting The Universe to Book Your Appearance on Oprah
3 - Hedonism Hiding In Sheep's Clothing: Twisting True Principles
4 - Faith as Feeling-Filled Visualization of what You Want
5- As a Man Thinketh in his Heart, not his Head
The most common comment I hear from those who have seen The Secret is this: It’s based upon true principles. One Secret Principle called "Ask Believe & Receive" parallels a truth taught by Jesus:
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer,
Out of context and on the surface, it only appears that Jesus is teaching the same principle voiced by The Secret author, Rhonda Byrne. But within context this is clearly NOT the case. Let's take a closer look at the context within which Jesus said what He said. The key concepts that need clarifying are:
1) all things
All Things. As Jesus meant it, there are many limitations to the promise of "all things." For example, all things that go against charity and love are excluded! Can one possibly "ask in prayer" for something that hurts or harms another and receive it? I think not. The Bible expressly teaches that there will be prayers that are NOT answered — at least NOT in the way the asker is wanting.
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss (James 4: 3)
Again, The Secret's teaching of "ask, believe, & receive," only appears to be what Christ taught, but it stands upon a completely different foundation. The Secret promises that effective visualizers can have what they "want" — with glittering goals of getting luxurious possessions, having a slimmer body, falling in love, and tripping to exotic locations.
In sharp contrast, the scriptures teach that we should "ask" for things that complement the plan and purposes of The Father. Jesus taught that we must keep an eye single to the following focus:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
It's painfully obvious that "all things" for which we might "ask in prayer" should complement the compassionate context of seeking "first the kingdom of God." Differently, the primary dream dangled by The Secret involves seeking first to build one's own kingdom—the acquisition of fine jewelry, sporty cars, huge houses, and the "green stuff."
There is nothing inherently wrong with having fine jewelry, sporty cars, huge houses, and mucho denaro, unless these are the most important treasures of your heart; in which case, such worldly wants become idols that receive your active attention and worship. The Secret teaches that placing sole focus upon what you want IS how you supposedly GET these treasures in the first place, via the Law of Attraction — "wealth flows where you're attention goes." In contrast, Jesus taught this truth:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6: 21).
The previous passage provides a measure of your core identity: You ARE what you Treasure. This verse is followed by the admonition that your "eye be single" (Matt 6: 22); and a dozen verses later, the Bible clarifies the aim of a single-focused "eye" —"But seek ye first the kingdom of God" (Matt. 6: 33).
Ask in Prayer. Prayer that is acceptable to the Father, is prayer that follows the example of the Son:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven,
In consistent fashion, Jesus lived to fulfilled a single-minded goal: "Thy kingdom come." His prayer in Gethsemane gave an example; He addresses the Father — NOT the universe.
Again, a contrast arises between the focus of the secret compared to the focus of Christ: It is obvious that the secret is pandering to people who are focused on "my wants" and "my will" — instead of "Thy Will." Jesus displayed perfect consistency in honoring The Will of the Father — He gave his whole soul to that focus. On one occasion, the disciples were concerned that Jesus had not eaten:
In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them,
Believing. Another facet that needs clarifying to grasp the True Principle of Ask, Believe, & Receive is that of Believing. According to The Secret, the process of "believing" is about getting what you want — it is a version of "belief" that equates to affirmative visualization and is a believing that is primarily focused upon what you want! In clear contrast, Christ taught a vastly different kind of "belief" — a belief in a Messiah, a Redeemer, a Savior through which all things of lasting value are realized.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
Believing in Christ IS the "believing" that brings about the promised blessing of "receiving," specifically receiving "all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer." This is the true principle that Jesus taught; a principle vastly different from its foundations from what The Secret is selling. What does "Believing in Christ" look like? Jesus answered this question directly:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me,
What "works" did Jesus do? (read about "faith and works") He did The Will of the Father (John 5: 30). In contrast to visualizing worldly wants, Jesus taught that we should actively embrace the sole focus— the single-minded focus—that is reinforced in these first phrases of the Lord's Prayer:
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.
Jesus did not preach the process of visualizing egocentric wants and chanting affirmations to get these wants. Thus, it's curious that the teachers of the secret cite the words of Jesus Christ in support of what they are selling. When stripped down to its essential message, The Secret is selling Hedonism Hiding in Sheep's Clothing. The following words of Christ refute the main message of the secret:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt,
Compare this to a message of the secret, as given by its primary author Rhonda Byrne:
People who have drawn wealth into their lives use the secret, whether consciously or unconsciously. They think thoughts of abundance and wealth and they do not allow any contradictory thoughts to take root in their minds. Their predominant thoughts are of wealth. They only know wealth, and nothing else exists in their mind. Whether they are aware of it or not their predominant thoughts of wealth are what brought wealth to them. It is the law of attraction in action.
The "wealth" that The Secret is enticing you to . . . is a material wealth that is absolutely subject to "rust" (and what did Jesus say about things that rust?). In an attempt to justify what Newsweek calls "relentless materialism," the teachers of the secret are quick to add that the pursuit of wealth includes "well being" — a pertinent point, for there are plenty of very "rich" people who are also very unhappy!
This is precisely why Secreteers cloak their message of materialism in sheep's clothing, trying to pass off the secret as something that Jesus taught! Keep reading this Dissecting The Secret series and you will discover just how different The Secret is compared to what Christ taught.
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The process of Dissecting The Secret is just getting started. This article goes to exposing the counterfeit version of "ask, believe, & receive" — it's Hedonism Hiding under Sheep's Clothing.
The next article is this series is entitled Faith as Feeling-Filled Visualizations of what You Want. This article explains why Biblical "faith" is NOT an emotion-filled. mental exercise of visualizing what You Want; instead, New Testament "faith" and "belief" is solely focused upon Jesus Christ — the True Vine.
Speaking of "faith," Dr Matt has read ALL the biblical passages that contain these words faith, belief, works, good works, grace, salvation, and eternal life. And from this comprehensive review, he has written a four 4 part series entitled Salvation by Grace through Faith.
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