The power of Belief – What is wrong with Prosperity and Heath and Wealth Teaching
There are three types of belief: 1, placebo, which affects our own brains; 2, the ‘law of attraction’, which affects other people and spirits; 3, faith in God, which requires a relationship with him, and honors him. (And possibly other types I have not thought of)
Everyone uses the power of belief to affect their own minds, and the minds of those who believe the words they speak. We also influence our future by believing in ourselves and by loving ourselves. This self-belief is part of the human nature, and a healthy person brought up in a good home usually does not need the help of teachers like Joel Osteen or Oprah Winfrey to boost their self-belief. The law of attraction works by self-belief, but not only can it be used to further our natural self-realisation, it can be used in an evil way, and can lead to self-absorption and hubris.
The fundamental principle here is that belief and intentions are the currency or energy of the spirit dimension. The more natural authority an individual has, the more they can achieve practically, and the more spiritual authority they have the more they can influence the minds of the people around them, and the spirit dimension. Authority comes from association; whose side you are on, who you know in the spirit world. Psalm 82 calls the rulers of this world gods, and we were all created to be little gods, but because of our dissociation from our creator we are not allowed to become powerful. The more powerful we become the more arrogant and selfish we become, and vulnerable to the enemy, and the less likely we are to trust God. That is why Jesus said “blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth”.
Is high self esteem not the most obvious solution to low self esteem? Absolutely not, both are forms of self-absorption. Faith takes the focus away from ourselves and focuses our attention outwards. The real ‘secret’ is to give to get; show honour and you will get honour.
The ‘law of attraction’ is about pulling resources into ourselves, and about becoming self-realised and successful. This belief in belief itself has been used by the occult for centuries, and is used by certain prosperity preachers. It assumes that our belief can influence elemental forces or the ‘universe’.
It all depends on our motivations; whether our aims merely to gather popularity, greatness and wealth, or whether we enjoy creativity, curiosity, hard work and responsibility for its own sake and to bless others with our achievements. It also depends on whether we believe our belief can influence spirits, and change reality, or whether we are willing to submit to God and trust him for his power and authority rather than wielding our own strong and loud authority.
Old Testament principles and prosperity preachers
Additionally, prosperity teachers use natural and Old Testament thinking as opposed to New Testament supernatural thinking. They believe that if you are not healthy and wealthy that you are doing something wrong or not believing enough. There is an Old Testament truth to that, in the sense that God promised to materially bless those that keep his laws and act responsibly in the fear of God, but that was an external covenant. It is true that naturally those who have enjoyed good parenting and respect from peers will do well in life through their natural confidence an skills. And as Christians mature they become healthier. But the New Testament has superseded this principle. We are encouraged to come to Jesus for rest, to fall into the ground and die, to let go of greatness and success so that Christ’s attitudes and power can help us seek his kingdom. We are not to seek our own greatness and kingdom, but to let it go and trust God for provision of these trifling insignificant matters.
Obviously God wants the best for us, and will heal us when his kingdom comes in our lives or in our town. But we cannot presume to state that it is God’s will to heal everyone, we really have no idea, although we can say for sure that it is God’s will for everyone to be saved. Most people will not learn or grow in faith unless they experience some kind of difficulty or pain. God never promises to give us nice presents, (although he might) he promises to provide all of our NEEDS as we seek his kingdom and his honor.
The three types of belief in more detail
1. Natural Belief (or placebo)
Natural belief happens all of the time; it concerns what we believe about ourselves and other people. It affects our health, the way we live, our ambitions and our self worth. It will affect other people as we interact but also on a spiritual level to some degree as we are all one human spirit. For example if you believe you are healthy you are more likely to be healthy, and if you believe people like you they are more likely to like you. It seems like there is a natural law in place that makes this happen automatically. This should only be used to affect ourselves. Telepathy may also be a aspect of natural spirituality.
2. Supernatural belief
Supernatural belief is when we attempt to manifest externally those things we believe internally, through words or visualisation, and either angels or demons cause them to become realities over time. The speaker is aware of what they are doing and usually are believing in the power of their own belief or in an ethereal force. This kind of phenomena has been used for millennia by occultists and Shaman, and more recently by televangelists and Prosperity teachers like TD Jakes and Joel Austin. It could be argued that Old Testament prophets did this when they stated what would happen in the future, however they normally heard from God first and God told them what to prophesy. Some tag Jesus name on the end, but this does not guarantee that it will be good angels carrying out these intentions.
3. Faith in the Almighty
This comes in two forms: we ask God for his help as we trust his good character, or we declare that God will do something that will bring honor to himself.
Petition: When Faith petitions God it by-passes the first two types of belief and goes straight to the creator with fervent cries for help. We need neither self-belief nor to state our intentions, we just approach God as a humble child. It could be argued that we are stating our belief to God by praying but it is with a dependant attitude and is not a declaration. Faith originates from God and its goal is God.
(It may be best not to address the Holy spirit directly, rather to make the Father the focus of our prayer, as the ‘Lord’s prayer’ teaches us.)
Declaration: When we know God’s will by having our heart aligned with his then we can declare our intentions, but even this is done in an attitude of dependence. We are effectively telling God to honor himself in this situation. God’s authority can be used to get his will done in supernatural ways, when we are associated with God. We don’t need to wait for a specific instruction necessarily, but it works best when we sense God moving in a certain situation. It can be used to declare God’s power over a person or place and to speak truth over ourselves. If we get results, but we are not humble followers of Jesus then it was probably not God who is carrying out the blessing (or curse). The best example is of when Peter and John went into the temple and told the lame man to walk. It can be abused like the sons of Sceva (Acts 19) who were beaten up by the demon possessed man because they were not associated with God almighty.
It is difficult to know exactly what we are capable of on our own with just the power of our belief. Those people who are close to the spirit dimension will receive dreams and knowledge of how someone will die, for example, but these can be either from angels or demons. It depends on the direction of the heart and association with God or the enemy. Similarly Humans are capable of remote viewing, astral projection, and affecting other people through their intentions, but we are warned against this as we probably employ the help of demons when we do these things, and become their servants.