I keep hearing about manifestation and manifesting and how it can help people achieve their life dreams and goals. When I question them about it, I’ve had some tell me that it’s actually based on a quotation from the Bible. They quote Matthew 21:22: “ And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.” Well that is in the Bible and Jesus did say that so it must be ok, right? Well not so fast, because in essence they believe that all they have to do, is believe (I’m not sure what they think they have to believe in) and pray and much like the old genie in the bottle, they will get what they pray for. Since I’ve done numerous messages on prayer and belief, I know that’s not how it works, not even close. So what does that quote mean?
That quotation tells us that we are to trust in God and in His power, to accomplish what He wants. Not what we want. But it seems so clear, and while that one sentence does, we have to understand the context in which it is used. It is part of Matthew 21:18-22, and here it is in context, “Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He *said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.
20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.” and then Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.” What this particular bit of scripture deals with is how Jesus is constantly telling his followers that they must be fruitful. The fig tree is often used to demonstrate how Christians are supposed to actually receive abundance. It’s an abundance of faith, not stuff. That’s the difference between Christian abundance and the worldly abundance that manifestation preaches. So now let’s take a deeper dive into whether or not it is biblical.
In order to talk about if Manifestation is Biblical, I decided to do some research. You see I don’t like to go off half-cocked. Firstly, under no circumstance is God an ATM machine or a Genie in a Bottle, so let’s get rid of that idea right off the bat. Manifestation fails on its very fundamental belief, that if you just ask for something to benefit you then you’ll get it. James 4:3 tells us, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures.” That’s also why the prosperity gospel or the name it and claim it theologies fall apart. You CAN’T ask God for selfish stuff, and everything you pray for has to be something that brings glory to Him not to yourself. It’s important to also remember that sometimes God answers a prayer with the word “no”, now I understand that word isn’t really popular today, but it’s one that many of us will hear at sometimes in our life. OK, so if it isn’t biblical where does it come from?
As best I can tell, it’s really an amalgamation of several theories that have been going around for centuries. One of the theories that it stems from, and in fact seems to be the one most central to its core, is called the law of attraction. Believers in the law of attraction claim that it is a universal principle that states you will attract into your life whatever you focus on. Whatever you give your energy and attention to is what will come back to you. When you focus on the abundance of good things in your life, you will automatically attract more positive things into your life. This is also much like what used to be called, and maybe still is, creative visualization. That is where you try to see in your mind’s eye exactly what you want in your life. In sports coaches often tell players to visualize themselves getting a base hit, scoring a touchdown, or making a basket. An even older philosophy that these stem from is the Hindu belief in Karma, essentially cause and effect. What we do in life comes back to us in the same form. If we are evil we get evil back, if we are good we get good back.
One fundamental question that has to be asked about that whole philosophy is what about evil people? I mean, there are people in this world who put forth nothing but evil and negative feelings and actions. Yet, they don’t seem to receive any kind of negative pushback. In fact, many of them actually appear to thrive. At least they don’t seem to suffer too many repercussions in the here and now, and of course as a Christian I believe that they will pay for their actions eventually, but that payment will be called for upon their judgement by God. Not in the here and now.
All these beliefs are based on the idea that everything in the universe is comprised of energy and since we are part of the universe we too are connected to the energy all around us. That all we have to do to succeed in life and to get what we want is to tap into the good energy of abundance and all the worldly things we want will come into being. To make it palatable to Christians, they’ve thrown in the words from Matthew that I quoted earlier. Most of the people I know, or that I have heard of who use it and who say they are Christians are actually neglecting multiple other teachings of Jesus.
Jesus is very clear about where we should place our priorities. 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 one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” I’m not saying not to strive for success, I am saying that if all you want out of life is material success, or that is your primary focus, don’t pretend to be a Christian. Everything a Christian does should be done in order to bring glory to God. This earthly existence will fade away, and any glory received in the here and now will fade into oblivion. However, if we pay attention to Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We should always focus on putting God first. We should focus on making sure that whatever we ask for is based on what God wants. That what we do, we do to bring glory to Him. We have to trust Him that He knows what’s best for us and if it is in our best interest, He’ll help us figure out the best way to get things done.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that a person can simply wish things into being, it doesn’t work that way. When you pray, ask God to give you the wisdom to make the best decision. Ask Him to send the Holy Spirit into your life to show you the way. Focus on being the best Christian you can be in everything you do. Remember, you will NEVER see a hearse pulling a trailer because you cannot take anything with you once you breathe your last. So if you want to manifest something, manifest glory to God and increase your faith.
That’ll do it for today, do me a favor and tell folks about this program, I’d appreciate it. Until next time, God Bless and Peace y’all