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What does it mean to manifest something? What is manifesting?

manifest, manifesting

Manifesting refers to the practice of bringing something into reality through focused thoughts, beliefs, and visualizations. The fundamental idea is that positive thinking attracts desired outcomes. The concept gained worldwide popularity through the New Thought movement and books like The Secret. However, it is important to understand the ideas behind manifesting are unbiblical.

Manifesting typically involves three key practices: visualization, affirmation, and positive thinking. Visualization is the act of regularly picturing one’s goals and dreams as if they have already been achieved. An affirmation is a positive statement to reinforce belief in achieving those goals. Positive thinking is maintaining an optimistic mindset to attract positive outcomes. According to proponents of manifesting, positive thoughts and visualizations can influence reality and attract success, health, and happiness. It is about harnessing the power of the mind to create a destiny.

Despite the popularity of manifesting, it is incompatible with biblical Christianity. The Bible teaches that the human will is subject to God’s will, not the other way around. While positive thinking can influence emotions and reduce stress, the concept of manifesting, as related to the law of attraction, lacks a biblical foundation and promotes a pantheistic view of God. Those who seek to “manifest” something reduce God to a universal energy force they can manipulate with their thoughts. This concept contradicts the biblical idea of a sovereign and personal God.

God is sovereign over all aspects of life, and our focus should be on seeking His will rather than trying to bend His will to our own. Proverbs 19:21 states, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” This verse highlights the importance of aligning our desires with God’s plans, recognizing that His will is greater than ours.

Additionally, Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Here, Paul emphasizes the importance of prayer and dependence on God rather than relying on positive thinking to bring desired results.

Faith and prayer are essential for believers, but the principles of manifesting teach faith in oneself, and prayer is unneeded. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” To have faith, then, is to trust in God’s promises and timing, even when the outcome is not immediately visible.

James 4:13–15 instructs, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” The uncertainty of human plans is one reason why we must submit to God’s will.

In the parable of the rich farmer, Jesus presents a man who had nothing but positive thoughts, visualizations, and affirmations for himself. After a bumper crop, the man said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’” (Luke 12:18–19). Unfortunately, all the visualizations in the world could not change his destiny, as Jesus relates: “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” (verse 20).

The primary danger of manifestation lies in its promotion of self-reliance and the belief that we can control our lives independently of God. Such a philosophy leads to a prideful mindset. Proverbs 16:18 warns, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Believers are called to humility and dependence on God (Philippians 2:1–11), recognizing that all good things come from Him (James 1:17).

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What does it mean to manifest something? What is manifesting?
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This page last updated: June 6, 2024