The Secret and Your Soul
James C. Denison
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne has sold more than seven million copies to date. It’s been featured on Oprah Winfrey and talk shows around the country, made into a movie, and is now downloaded as an Internet video. Here are some excerpts which summarize its message:
“You can have, be, or do anything you want” (p. xii). Here’s how: “Decide what you want to be, do, and have, think the thoughts of it, emit the frequency, and your vision will become your life” (p. 23). Why? Because “all good things are your birthright! You are the creator of you” (p. 41). This has always been true: “Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Jesus were not only prosperity teachers, but also millionaires themselves, with more affluent lifestyles than many present-day millionaires could conceive of” (p. 109).
Here’s the bottom line: “You are the master of your life, and the Universe is answering your every command” (p. 146). All this because “you are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet…You have God potential and power to create your world” (p. 164). Indeed, “we are the creators not only of our own destiny but also of the Universe. . . . Your life will be what you create it as, and no one will stand in judgment of it, now or ever. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life” (pp. 175, 177, 183).
The Secret is by no means the only self-empowerment book on the market. I ran down to Barnes & Noble this week and jotted down some of their recent self-help titles. Among them: Awaken The Magic of Thinking Big: acquire the secrets of success, achieve everything you’ve always wanted, by David Schwartz (with four million copies sold); The Giant Within, by Anthony Robbins; The Success Principles: how to get from where you are to where you want to be, by Jack Canfield; Your Magic Power to be Rich, by Napoleon Hill; and The Millionaire Course, by Marc Allen.
You can be anything you want to be, do anything you want to do, have anything you want to have. Our culture is screaming at us: it’s all about you.
Is that really true? Can you get whatever you want just by wanting it? What if you want it to rain and I want the sun to shine? What if you’re pulling for the Rockies and I want the Red Sox to win the World Series? More to the point: what if the current self-realization fad is a sham? What if The Secret is a lie? Where would this lie come from? Why does it matter so much to your soul today?
Know your enemy
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made” (v. 1). The book of Revelation names him: “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (12:9; 20:2).
His central strategy hasn’t changed, because human nature hasn’t changed. His lie is always the same: “you will be like God” (v. 5). Do what you want–if the fruit looks good, eat it. Do what you want–if God says no, be your own God. “You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of life.” The secret of life is that life is whatever you want it to be. It’s all about you.
Watch this strategy unfold across biblical history.
If God accepts Abel’s sacrifice and not yours, kill Abel. Be your own God.
Make a name for yourself–build your Tower of Babel to reach the heavens (Genesis 11:1-4). Be your own God.
If Bathsheba is attractive to you, have the affair. Click on the pornography; go to the movie; watch late-night TV; look with lust. Be your own God.
If it’s going to cost you to follow Jesus, deny that you know him as Peter did. Three times, if you must. Be your own God.
This is the basis of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness. If you’re hungry, turn the stones into bread. Don’t wait on God to feed you–be your own God. If you want people to follow you, jump 450 feet from the Temple to the valley below. Don’t wait on God to lead you–be your own God. If you want to be the Lord of the world, worship Satan and receive the kingdoms of the earth. Don’t go to the cross–don’t wait on God’s word and will. Be your own God.
This is what’s wrong with you and me today: we want to be God. It started with Adam: “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Now “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And our desire to be God is the reason, the root of the problem. Here are some examples:
“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). Do you want to get rich? Why?
“He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy” (Proverbs 14:21). Have you thought poorly of someone recently? Why?
“Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!” (Proverbs 21:4). Has pride found you yet today? Why?
“If you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers” (James 2:9). Do you treat people based on what they have or what they can do for you? Why?