Bible Study

Should Christians Manifest?

January 23, 2024

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“Manifest the life you want” is a common phrase we hear everywhere today. However, I want to invite you to ask yourself, “Should Christians manifest?” especially if you have ever become tempted to believe it is Biblical or adopted the practice yourself.

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to join a mastermind that was presented as if it were a Christian group. As a part of the group, I immediately learned the principle of manifestation. For those of you who might not be familiar with the term, manifestation is connected to the law of attraction. It was made popular by the 2006 bestselling book, The Secret, and has been espoused by people such as Iyanla Vanzant and Oprah.1

Angelina Lombardo shares that “Manifesting is making everything you want to feel and experience a reality…via your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and emotions.”2 However, a deeper study of it will show that action usually takes a back seat to the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions you experience. 

And I began to fall for it. 

I Wanted to Believe in Manifestation

I wanted to believe that I could manifest the:

  • wealth I thought I needed to run a successful ministry,
  • family I wanted to be entrusted with, and
  • vacations I wanted to enjoy.

I wanted to lead a life that would give others a reason to consider how good God is and how much better a life with Him is. However, let me admit that this is ironic in every way-especially since I was beginning to focus on my own effort instead of His. 

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit began to convict my heart.

A few people I admired who claimed Christianity connected it loosely to Scripture. Up until that point, it was good enough for me. But the Holy Spirit led me through a deep dive of 1 and 2 Samuel, and I started to see differently

Saul’s Attempt to Force His Will

Although Saul was the first king of Israel, his legacy was overshadowed by the witchcraft he entertained. That witchcraft ultimately ended his life. In fact, many of the scriptures about him narrate a biography of a volatile, abusive father who only turned to God when he wanted to manipulate God’s hand.

Oddly enough, something about his story struck a chord with me. It was as if God was trying to get my attention.

The Mosaic Covenant was established under Moses and practiced in Saul’s time. It required the Israelites to make regular offerings to obtain God’s favor and avoid judgment in our fallen world. This Mosaic Covenant foreshadowed the ultimate Lamb that would be slain on our behalves to reconcile us to God, the Father, in Christ Jesus. And, it was still in effect during the time that 1 and 2 Samuel was written. 

Let’s take a look at one instance in 1 Samuel 13.

1 Samuel 13

In 1 Samuel 13, Saul decided to offer the burnt offering to the Lord without Samuel, the prophet and priest. When Samuel asked why he had done it, Saul answered that the troops were deserting him. He shared he wanted to obtain God’s favor, so he forced himself.3 

He literally said that, and it blew my mind. You forced yourself? Seriously?

As I began to study this scripture, I found that there was something oddly familiar about it. I often shared that I wanted to bring greater glory to God’s name and influence others to follow Him. Yet, I believed that I had to force myself to adopt other practices, like manifestation, to do so. 

And that was a trick of the enemy.

The Issue with Manipulation

God doesn’t need any help being God. His Word tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, and souls.4 Trusting practices outside of His will do not lead us closer to His will. They lead us further away, and although it doesn’t seem like rocket science, some of us just need a little reminder.

After all, look at Saul’s life.

Saul demonstrated that he had very little trust in the Lord. His trust was in the men whom he feared would completely desert him.

Similarly, my trust wasn’t in the Lord, either. My trust was in the material blessings I believed would help me gain greater influence rather than giving God greater glory.

By adopting manifestation, I attempted to manipulate God’s hand. I wanted to force him to act on my behalf. Our God, however, is relational. He will not be manipulated. So, let’s talk about some of the problems with manifestation.

1. Is Manifestation The Same As Speaking Life?

I received a lot of pushback about Christianity and manifestation from the circles I spoke to in 2021 when I first started recognizing some of the problems. Many shared that manifestation is the same as speaking life. However, that’s just not true. 

Manifestation is the practice of speaking about your desires, and it leads to idolatry.

Idolatry is the practice of elevating something to a place of priority where only God should exist. It shows what you value most through the money, time, energy, and investment you offer it. Manifestation does not lead us to speak more of Scripture. It leads us to speak more of our selfish desires.

John 14:6 states, “Jesus said to him, ‘ I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” As Christians, we also remember that John 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word made flesh. 

Therefore, if Jesus is the Life and the Word, our focus on speaking life should be speaking what the Scripture declares as true. 

Scriptures to Meditate on Instead of Manifestation

I recommend that we begin to meditate on scriptures like Matthew 6:31-34 to counter culture’s influence on our spiritual lives. It reminds us that life is more than food and our body is so much more than clothes.

Consider Philippians 4:11-13. It tells us that learning to be content in every circumstance is possible because we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Reflect on Acts 2:46-48. This scripture reminds us that the early believers learned how to break bread, praise God, and enjoy the favor He supplied. 

Although these are only three examples, meditating on them will lead us to focus on greater contentment, joy, and gratitude than we are led to cultivate through manifestation.

2. Is Manifestation the Same As Speaking Those Things That Are Not As Though They Were?

Despite the pushback I received, I continued to share that we have to be cautious about adopting cultural trends without question. The pushback, however, continued.

Many responded by saying, “We have the power to speak those things that are not as though they were.” Unfortunately, I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t have a response.

I’d erroneously learned that we have that power as well-until I read the scripture for myself. 

It is true that the power of life and death is on our tongues, and those who love it will eat its fruit.5 That’s what Proverbs tells us. It reveals that we will experience many of the things we talk about. After all, the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.6 It’s one big circle.

At some level, we must change our thoughts to change our words to change our lives. But the problem with manifestation is that this isn’t always possible. We need Christ to renew our minds from the past trauma and trouble we have endured that have created patterns in our mind. We need our Lord to help us move beyond coping skills we develop through our own efforts to be better and do better.

And context is important.

Romans 4:17 is often misquoted.

Romans 4:17, the scripture that was being quoted in the defense of manifestation, is often misquoted among unsuspecting believers. A closer look shows it is not about us. It’s about God.

When writing to the Romans in chapter 4, Paul began to talk about Abraham. There, in verse 17, he shared that Abraham was called the father of many nations in the presence of the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 

We do have the power to pray and speak deliverance over other brothers and sisters. Still, we only experience that power in Christ Jesus, not apart from Him. That power comes through humility and submission. Exercising authority in the Lord always follows the surrender we practice when we acknowledge God’s sovereign nature. 

It does not come through rebellion by attempting to take that power into our own hands for our own benefit. That, Family, is what we call witchcraft.

3. Does Manifestation Lead to Deeper Worship of the One, True God?

As humans who were created in the Imago Dei (or the image of the Lord), we must remember that our highest calling is to worship the Lord. The Hebrew word šāḥâ is translated into English as worship, and it means to bow down or show homage.7 When we bow down, we intentionally exalt something or someone else by acknowledging their superiority over us.

I like to define worship as adoration in action that we live out over time. I have learned that everyone worships something because that’s what we were created for. However, when we begin to focus on manifestation, we begin to idolize and worship our dreams and goals above the GIVER of the dreams and goals.

Our Situations are Secondary

Worship requires us to acknowledge that our situations are secondary to the sovereignty of God. It leads us to exalt His name above our emotions and admit that He knows best. This can be uncomfortable and costly, and it’s only natural for our flesh to want to resist it. Still, it is something we have to do from the very beginning of our relationship with Him. When we begin to confess that Jesus is Lord and we need a savior, we admit that He is sovereign over everything else in our lives.

In return, we trust that Romans 8:28 will be accomplished in our lives, even in the most distressed state. Attempting to superimpose our will above the sovereign Lord’s will always leads to trouble. It is up to us to invite Him to mature us as we develop character for the vision He will one day fulfill in our lives. 

Looking back on my life, I am grateful that so many prayers I prayed in my immaturity have gone unanswered. I shudder to think where I would be now had I forced my way above His will.

I have learned that it may take decades for us to discern how good it was that God denied that request. In some instances, we may never understand or sense it at all. However, He is faithful, and when we trust Him, we bring that reality back to our minds again and again and again. 

4. Does Manifestation Yield the Fruit of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22-23 are two beautiful verses. They outline the fruit of the Spirit and remind us that there is no law against such things. The fruit of the Spirit are known as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The fruit is cultivated within us the more we develop maturity.

Manifestation, however, contrasts the fruit entirely. It is nearly impossible to continue cultivating peace in the presence of so much focus on attaining the next great goal. Those who “manifest” their desires are known to highlight their ambition, even when it comes at the expense of other people. Those aspects eliminate all hope of showing any gentleness or self-control. In fact, one would question how you could possibly demonstrate kindness in the absence of gentleness or self-control, at all. 

Manifestation only attracts others when it’s shared in connection with a quick response time. If it required a longer wait time, it wouldn’t be as tempting to turn to it. Therefore, when you choose to focus on manifestation, you surrender any invitation the Lord extends to help you develop patience or faithfulness. 

Real Life Problems With Impatience

I often became incensed when I felt my husband moving at a slower pace to accept the many plans that I had for our lives. In an effort to achieve my goals, I became irritable and traded in gentleness for greed, patience for the desire to please people, and self-control for self-indulgence.

We fought and argued often. Although I can’t take all of the credit (I have stories on that brother for days), looking back now, I see how focusing on my own goals led me to forfeit peace and love in my marriage for a significant period of time. 

5. Does Manifestation Honor God?

Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” As Christians, our faith is not found in what we can do. It’s found in the God who we serve.

When we begin to claim the right to create our own world through the law of attraction, we attempt to usurp God’s authority, and it reminds me of those who attempted to build the tower of Babel to make a name for themselves. 

There’s no way around it. Manifestation does not honor God. It attempts to win influence to ourselves so that we may be honored instead. 

In fact, Romans 1:21-26 offers cautionary wisdom to each and every one of us struggling with this issue. It reminds us that when those who knew God chose to resist the opportunity to honor Him, their hearts were darkened, and claiming to be wise, they became fools. 

It is sad to think about how many of us have exchanged the immortal God for images and the truth about God for a lie. May it never be said of us that we served the creature instead of the Creator or were given over to dishonorable passions. 

The Same Old Trick

It takes a lot of willpower and critical thought to assess the cultural trends that are presented as if they are Scripture. But, as we know, there is nothing new under the sun. The enemy twisted the Scripture to tempt Eve to eat the fruit, and he’s still doing the same today. 

When We Force Our Will, We Forfeit God’s

King Saul faced severe consequences because he wanted to force God’s hand. Rather than enjoy the blessings and the beauty of learning to trust God, he forfeited his entire kingdom. 

In 1 Samuel 13:13, we read, “Samuel said to Saul, “You have been foolish. You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. It was at this time that the Lord would have permanently established your reign over Israel, but now your reign will not endure. The Lord has found a man after his own heart, and the Lord has appointed him ruler over this people because you haven’t done what the Lord commanded.”

How tragic. Saul forfeited his right to the throne as well as his son Jonathan’s right to the throne. 

As children of God, grafted in through the body of Christ, we invite the Lord to renew our minds about His will and what will benefit us. In so doing, we know that He will continue to protect, provide, and prepare the way for our loved ones, as well. 

So, should Christians manifest? Well, that answer depends on who the god you serve is.

If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, please click here.

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  1. Zapata, Kimberly. “7 Steps to Manifest Anything You Want — Including Love or Money.” Oprah Daily, Oprah Daily, 17 Dec. 2019, ↩︎
  2. Zapata, Kimberly. “7 Steps to Manifest Anything You Want — Including Love or Money.” Oprah Daily, Oprah Daily, 17 Dec. 2019, ↩︎
  3. “1 Samuel 13:11-12 ESV – Samuel Said, ‘What Have You Done?’ – Bible Gateway.” Bible Gateway, Accessed 23 Jan. 2024. ↩︎
  4. “1 Samuel 13:11-12 ESV – Samuel Said, ‘What Have You Done?’ – Bible Gateway.” Bible Gateway, Accessed 23 Jan. 2024. ↩︎
  5. “Proverbs 18:21 ESV – Death and Life Are in the Power of the – Bible Gateway.” Bible Gateway, Accessed 23 Jan. 2024. ↩︎
  6. “Matthew 12:34-40 ESV – You Brood of Vipers! How Can You Speak – Bible Gateway.” Bible Gateway, Accessed 23 Jan. 2024. ↩︎
  7. “H7812 – Šāḥâ – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (Kjv).” Blue Letter Bible, Accessed 23 Jan. 2024. ↩︎

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