To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. -Proverbs‬ ‭16:1, 3‬ ‭(NIV)‬‬

An excited, well-meaning friend of mine sent me videos of Bob Proctor, a motivational speaker he was watching in a film called “The Secret.” My friend told me about vibrations and a law of attraction, and how we can get what we want (relationships, wealth, etc.) by thinking positively about it…and that we attract the things we want by thinking about them.

Red flags were going off all over the place in my head, but I didn’t want to write anything off before actually seeing or hearing it, so I did. And what I saw and heard only raised a sea of red flags.

Mr. Proctor’s assertions were that we could manipulate the universe and our destinies purely with our minds. If we want to be healthy, then we believe ourselves to be healthy, and it will happen. If we’re sick, then weren’t thinking the right way. Likewise, with wealth and relationships, we need only to think positively on those things, and wealth and dream relationships will gravitate to us.

While positive thinking is fine for self-motivation, what the motivational speaker is talking about is neatly taking God out of the equation. The power he’s talking about–manipulating the universe and all things and people in it to our will–is the realm of God alone. God controls all. He is sovereign, we are not. The snake in the Garden of Eden made a similar promise to Eve–that she could be like God–if she just disobeyed Him. And the outcome was far different than the shiny promise.

Before I was a believer, I would’ve been willing to give this motivational speaker a shot. Without a grounded world view, why not? Without God anchoring me, why not? Thanks to Jesus, I can see now where prosperity peddlers like Mr. Proctor, and prosperity preachers who tell you to simply “name it and claim it,” prey upon the natural flesh urge to want to get away from worldly discomforts. So, they promise you happiness and comfort and even wealth. The prosperity preachers even commit a serious sin in fooling their followers to believe that God is your cosmic servant whom you can will to make you rich simply through faith and prayer! (Be sure to leave a generous donation, though!)

Mr. Proctor also has several seminars on getting wealthy–not surprising. Be sure to buy his videos to learn more about how to get wealthy. And if you’re not wealthy yet? Buy more videos, and think more positively about wealth!

As believers, we do not chase wealth or have a need to store up material things. Our contentment, strength, and joy come from the Lord, and every breath we breathe is to praise Him, not things or ourselves, or we’re committing idolatry. We seek Him, acknowledge Him in all things, and He alone sets our paths. Paul tells us the real secret:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)