What Is 'Manifesting' and Is it a Sin?



Manifesting means to make something happen. The new age movement calls this the law of attraction and it is the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into your life. It says that thoughts are energy; and energy can attract similar energies to itself because there is an attractive magnetic pattern to the universe. 

Manifesting is inspired by various philosophical traditions: Hermeticism, New England transcendentalism, specific verses of the Bible, and Hinduism.

The main idea is that what you focus on, whether good or bad, comes to you and power is in your hands. You can create things in your life. The philosophy ignores the fact that God created everything (Genesis 1) and He even created you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-14). In Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16).

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Is Manifesting a Sin? What About God’s Sovereignty?

Believing in the law of attraction, or manifesting your desires into being, leads you to believe that you are your own god. Manifesting is creating your own reality. But what about God’s sovereignty? Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him (Psalm 115:3). Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21). We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9).

How you live your life shows who is on the throne—you or God. The sin of manifestation is when we try to be like God. 

The law of attraction often uses meditation and mantras to achieve a goal. The word mantra originates from Hinduism and also means a mystical formula of invocation. Invocation is an act of petitioning for help. If you’re tempted to fall into this, ask yourself who you’re asking for help from. Ultimately, there are only two sources of “help” to call on—God or the enemy. The two forces of power in this world are good and evil. There’s nothing in between.

An infamous book about a mystical secret tells people to use occult practices to make their desires come true. It says that you can attract what you want by focusing strongly on it. There’s nothing secret about this secret.

It’s the oldest temptation. The temptation to be like God (Genesis 3:5).

Manifesting encourages going so far into making your own decisions that you attempt to be the god of your own life—so you can get what you want when you want it.

Some Truth Intermixed into the Practice of Manifestation

As mentioned in the first paragraph, the practice of manifestation leans on some hand-picked scriptures from the Bible. These little bits of truth seem to give the practice credence.

God does give us good gifts.
Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow (James 1:17).

He does answer prayer.
We are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. Since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15).

It’s good to have a vision for your life. After all...
God knows the plans He has for you. They are plans for good, not disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Counting and visualizing your blessings is a good thing.
Let all that you are praise the Lord; may you never forget the good things He does for you (Psalm 103:2).

It’s good to think about positive and good things.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

These ideas are all beautiful wisdom from the Scriptures. I should take my thoughts captive, especially the negative ones, and replace them as much as possible with positive thoughts. But that doesn’t mean that I can make things happen just by thinking about them. However, I can pray for God to make things happen for me.

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We Don’t Know What’s Best

I don’t always know what’s good for me. I need God’s input. God is greater than my heart and my wants. He knows what’s really good for me and what isn’t. Just because I want something, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.

I can ask Him for anything I want but He gives me infinitely more than I can ever ask, think, or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for me to understand His decisions and His ways (Romans 11:33)!

I must leave room for God’s sovereignty to reign in my life. I should have faith in many possibilities, but the sovereignty of God prevails over my beliefs and efforts. I pray. He directs. This is the way it should be.

Not I ask and He does everything I want.

What about Faith?

You may wonder, doesn’t the Bible say something about if you have faith and don’t doubt, you’ll receive what you prayed for? Yes, in Matthew 21:21-22, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” 

Jesus loves for us to have faith and put our doubts aside. And we can do much more than we think we can. Our doubts do get in the way. That could be what Jesus was getting at. Doubts dilute our faith and keep us from living wholeheartedly for God. We should be sure that our faith is in God alone, not have a divided loyalty between God and something else (James 1:6-8). However, the overall will of God triumphs over our prayers—even when we earnestly pray them in faith. It may help to read James 4:2-3 after you read Matthew 21:21-22.

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. James 4:2-3

God loves to give us good gifts, but even more importantly than that, He wants to get to our motives for why we want anything. He probably won’t give us something just because everyone else has it. He made you to be an individual with your own specific wants and needs. He knows what’s best for you. You can ask Him for anything but He will give you what you really need. He made the heavens and the earth; nothing is too hard for Him (Jeremiah 32:17).

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Place the Emphasis on God, Not You

It is good to set goals for your life, so you have something to aim for. It’s also good to have some inspirational symbols to remind you to be strong and never give up. But this is a long way away from picturing something, meditating on it, and making it happen. Manifestation and the laws of attraction say that if you concentrate on something a lot, you’ll get it. You’re relying solely on what you want. The emphasis is on you and not God.

If you know what’s best, then where were you when God laid the foundations of the earth? When He determined its dimensions (Job 38:4-5)? Humility is always the best path. Then you can seek first the kingdom of God and those other things you want may be added later.

Prayer calls on God to give me discernment as to whether what I want is good for me or not. If your first thought when you receive something is, “Wow! I did that!”—you’re probably trying to manifest things. If, on the other hand, your first thought is “Thank you, God!”—you’re probably humbly praying.

Be Careful of Worldly Ways Creeping into the Church

Sometimes you even hear Christians using the term manifesting, or another phrase like it—Name it and Claim it, Believe it and Receive it, etc. There’s nothing wrong with some positive statements, but saying things you want over and over again can be like a magic incantation. You can’t mix Christianity with new age philosophies. One is of God and one is of the world.

Why would you need to believe in God at all if you can create your own destiny? Manifesting gives glory to us instead of God and God will not yield His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8).

Too much emphasis on self is in direct opposition to what God calls us to do. Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).

Be Cautious about Getting What You Want

The final reason to not practice manifestation (or, the law of attraction) is because it can work! You may actually get what you want. But are these results from God or another source? It may work, but that doesn’t mean that it’s of God.

Be very careful what power you’re calling on. If it goes against Scripture, it’s definitely not God. Manifesting calls on the wrong spirit to get what I want and calling on wrong spirits is sorcery. Sorcery is an attempt to bypass God’s wisdom and power. And sorcery is detestable to God (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Run from anything that resembles sorcery.

Instead, pray for God to give you good gifts. Pray for Him to give you a vision for your life. Think positively about your life and future. Above all, keep seeking to know God intimately. The Bible gives you plenty of wisdom to back up those ideas. You needn’t go to any other source.

May He grant your heart’s desires and make your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4

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headshot of author Jenni HeerenJennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available on Amazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.

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