Like most other Gen Z kids, I am an avid social media user. From memes to catchy dances, I am in touch with whatever is trending.
And what’s really hot right now, is this rising wave of “motivational” content that I have been seeing more of recently.
Comics on self-love swarm my Instagram Explore page, while scrolling #ForYou on TikTok leads me to videos of people manifesting straight A’s or a new boyfriend.
Many spaces across social media now advocate a culture of positivity, self-affirmation and self-empowerment.
No one wants “bad vibes”. People are hungry for happiness and success, and will seemingly do anything to fulfil their dreams and desires.
Is that so bad? What’s wrong with a little positivity and optimism?
As Christians, positivity is a trait that God wants us to have.
In fact, as His followers, we should be showing the world that God is our source of hope by rejoicing always — even in difficult circumstances.
However, when positivity starts to sound like “I am in control” or “I am the master of my fate”, the focus is being put on ourselves constantly, and we forget who God is.
Manifesting a promotion at the next staff appraisal, looking into the mirror each morning to declare that we can achieve our hearts’ desires — we replace God with something else entirely.
Additionally, becoming open to ideas such as cleansing our “energy” or having the power to “attract” good things into our lives, we may well open doors to demonic forces.
So what’s positivity, and what’s ungodly?
Let’s find the difference by debunking some of the more common statements I’ve seen on social media that seem acceptable (or even biblical!) at first glance, but are actually insidious dupes of God’s truths.
That way, we’ll also see what the biblical thing to do is — as compared to whatever is the latest trend that the world is proposing.
1. “I attract positive things when I think positive thoughts.”
The Law of Attraction is a popular belief that some adopt and practise in their lives and thinking. It is also what underpins many of the self-motivational posts that I see online.
This theory revolves around the idea that our thoughts radiate energy into the atmosphere. The universe will then match this energy by returning to us what we put out.
In other words, if we think good thoughts, we will receive good things.
Conversely, if we fill our mind with negative thoughts, we can expect bad things to befall us.
The tricky thing about this proposition is that it operates on the premise of a half-truth. It is true that our thoughts have power — but they are certainly not signal waves that shoot into the universe and boomerang back on us.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Our minds are a crucial aspect of life that must be protected.
Our thoughts have the ability to shape our way of life, and what we believe to be truth will affect our emotions and behaviour.
Our thoughts do not have the power to influence the arrival of good or bad things. However, what we think can either spur us on or hinder us in moving as God wants us to.
So we ought to be wary of what we allow into our minds, as many things have the power to deceive us and draw us away from God’s plans.
As such, the Bible tells us we need to consistently align our mindsets to that of God’s; we do this by taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
I can walk in God’s perfect will for my life when my thoughts reflect what He says of me.
In Philippians 4:8, we are also called to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable excellent or praiseworthy.
So, there is truth to the importance of filling our minds with edifying thoughts.
However, our faith also calls us to move beyond merely thinking optimistically to thinking in a way that reveres God and reflects our trust in Him.
So, instead of believing the lie that “I attract positive things when I think positive thoughts”, let’s hold fast to truth and the right way of thinking.
Consider this instead: “I can walk in God’s perfect will for my life when my thoughts reflect God and what He says of me.”
2. “Let’s manifest more pay and better grades!”
Extending from the Law of Attraction, is the recent craze over manifestation.
Manifestation can be described as a form of self-prophecy. Beyond thinking their thoughts into existence, people who practise manifestation believe that what they declare will come to pass.
I’ve even heard many of my Christian friends casually vocalise statements of manifestation.
While they might not mean it spiritually or even seriously, what they are unknowingly doing is acknowledging that they can call forth their desires into reality.
This form of “light-hearted” manifestation has taken the TikTok crowd by storm.
Creators post, for instance, about how manifesting has landed them a lovey-dovey relationship. Others show off result slips with straight A’s.
In the comments section, people rush to comment things like “manifest!” and “claim!” as a way to indicate that they, too, wish these things upon themselves.
But how do such practices relate to what the Bible says about meeting our desires?
Matthew 6:33 is a good place to start from: When we chase after God and seek His righteousness first, He promises to provide us with all that we will need and more.
People dabble in manifestation because they feel a lack in certain aspects of their lives.
But the need to do this stops when we realise that we already have everything we need in God.
So instead of manifesting a good life, why not trust and walk in what God has already said in His Word?
One such promise is Jeremiah 29:11: He plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.
3. “I am a Leo, therefore I am feisty.”
Astrology is another field of pseudoscience that culture has normalised as a fun and interesting way to know ourselves better.
Honestly, in the past, I would spend my free time scrolling through Instagram posts on astrology, such as those telling me what drink or pizza flavour I am depending on my sign.
It is easy to feel like there’s no harm in the occasional swipe through an astrology meme account.
It should be okay as long as I don’t take it seriously, right?
Well, it’s good to go back to what God says about the stars and constellations:
“And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” (Deuteronomy 4:19)
We must be careful not to fall into temptation, or to flirt with the enemy’s camp by filling our mind with things that challenge God’s authority.
Even if we claim to do it in jest, we subconsciously give these constellations some measure of control in our lives when we follow what they teach or promise.
These things have the ability to entice us away from God. It is precisely because they seem fun and harmless that we should pay attention not to fall to their lure.
Finally, why settle for some generic daily horoscope reading that applies to so many of its readers?
God has something unique to say to you each day and in every moment. Listen to Him. God has made you fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14).
Letting the month we were born in determine the type of person we are greatly cheapens the unique way that God has created us. It is nothing more than a lie.
Chill, why so serious…?
I hope not, but maybe you’re still wondering why a whole article needed to be written about things you find to be pure entertainment or fun.
I urge you to consider Romans 12:2:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
If we don’t stand guard against the lies and distractions of this world, we are in grave danger.
The Devil does not come in an evil scary-looking costume announcing his hatred for you. He is far more likely to dwell in deceptively innocent and innocuous sources of temptation.
When we keep making excuses to take a chill pill, there may well come a day when we are too far gone.
Let’s remember that we serve a great God who loves us too much to let us settle for counterfeits in this imperfect world.
- What are some areas of your life that you have unknowingly ceded to new-age thinking or practices?
- Take time to renounce these beliefs or practices. Repent and come under the Blood of Christ.
- What are some things you have to do, either online or in real life, to make God number one in your heart?