A few years ago when I received an award for being the Rookie Teacher of Year for Marion County, a parent of one of my students gave me a book called the Secret by Rhonda Byrne. Inside the book’s cover the parent wrote, “I bought this book this weekend. After I read it I knew it would be a perfect gift to you.”
After reading the book I quickly had to re-evaluate and clarify the message I was sending the people around me. See this book is largely “pantheistic” and “eastern religion” in its message. In short, it says that everything is God and God is everything – including you. And if you tap into this power within you, you can literally change the world around you to bring joy in every aspect of your life. The book says that one can “eradicate disease, acquire massive wealth, overcome obstacles, and achieve what many would regard as impossible.”
Health, wealth, and happiness. I had to question myself – was I promoting the idea that this is what life is all about.
See this book has many problems:
1. This is what every infomercial, marketing campaign, self-help book (such as this one), get rich-quick scheme, and healing or prosperity pastor sells us. And if you are buying it, then they are the ones getting healthy, wealthy, and happy – and you are the sucker.
2. It promotes only those things that are temporal and will not last past this lifetime. It leaves the person (that can see past tomorrow) with a problem – what happens to all my wealth after I die, what happens to all my health after I die, and what happens to all that so-called happiness after I die.
3. It is based on flawed logic that sounds very sophisticated but is incorrect. Logic such as the constantly used phrase “Like Attracts Like” that says that “You are the most powerful magnet in the Universe!” and that “as you think a thought, you are also attracting like thoughts to you.” They call this the Law of Attraction – incorrect though, only unlike magnets attract (like charges repel), like actually dissolves like in science (not attracts), and the things that have the greatest forces of attractions objects with the greatest masses and the smallest distance apart. So unless you are going to increase your mass while shrinking (be careful not to become a black hole) – you ain’t attracting a thing.
4. There are no true pathways to real success in the book. You never see words such as hard work, self-sacrifice, humility, doing your best, thinking of others first, loyalty, friendship, integrity, character, seeking after righteousness, fixing your eyes on God, comparing yourself to God’s standards, etc.
I began to adhere to a man named John Wooden and his Pyramid of Success. It was not based on man’s standard of what success was (health, wealth, and prosperity) but on God’s standard of success. John Wooden once said “Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord.”
And so I began to clarify my message of what success was so that all would see. 2 Cor 4:18 says “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” The true secret to success is to fix your eyes upon Jesus – know that you can achieve “prosperity” that is temporary, but you can do nothing to ensure true success that is eternal. Only through coming face to face with your sinfulness, repenting of your sin, and then coming to the Lord for forgiveness and His gift of grace through Jesus – then you will find an “eternal glory” that outweighs any health, any wealth, and any prosperity that someone may have in this world.
And that is God’s Truth to Success.