Most of us are familiar with the game ‘telephone’ in which someone whispers in the ear of someone else a secret. It is then that person’s duty to tell the secret to the person next to them…and that person tells the secret to another person until it comes around to the originator of the secret.
What this exercise reveals is that ‘the secret‘ has many variations. The final result may be far different than the secret as it was originally revealed. This is why historical researchers strive to find the primary sources of an idea or a fact in order to clear away all of the reinterpretations and embellishments that are passed on through the generations.
What Is The Real Secret?
Today ‘the secret‘ is promoted widely as having to do with limitless human potential. What this secret attempts to reveal is that there is an unseen force at work in the universe that is abundant in creatorial power. Furthermore, this power is available to anyone who will take the steps necessary to tap into it and lay hold of this abundance through the practice of positive affirmations. According to this idea, man’s limits are self-imposed by negative thoughts, emotions and ‘stinking thinking’.
There is an element of this ‘secret‘ that is true and can even be said to have biblical authority. For instance, the apostle Paul encourages believers: “[Phl 3:13,14 KJV] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Again Paul writes while chained to a Roman soldier:
[Phl 4:8 KJV] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.
The Hidden Dangers Of The Secret
However there are hidden dangers in the secret that need to be considered. It has taken the original idea of the abundant grace available in Christ and embellished it with many ideas that are simply untrue. As a result, there is the danger of not only forgetting the things which are behind but also forgetting the prize that is before, namely the high calling of serving God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is also the danger of thinking on things that are only half true, honest, just, pure and lovely. For instance, it is a good thing to serve others and offer value to their lives. It is good to bring comfort and encouragement to others in their need. It is wonderful to be sensitive and caring for others. Nevertheless, as counter-intuitive as this may seem to most people, it has no merit toward God.
Clearly, salvation is “by grace through faith and that not of yourselves, not of works so that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8) We have nothing to recommend us to God apart from the work of Jesus Christ. As a result of the kind of thinking that expects that God is somehow indebted to us for our good works, any good report, virtue and praise attributes the glory to man and not to God.
There may be a superficial acknowledgement of God as the source of the force, but it is the force that is idolized and sought after rather than the source.
The Secret Source of the Force
It is true that the ways of God are mysterious, but the character of God is clearly revealed to us in the person the the Lord Jesus Christ. “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. … 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, …” [Col 1:15, 19 ESV]
So, God remains a mystery to us only if we choose to be willfully ignorant of Him.
The secret that is revealed in Christ is that the Gentiles (non Jews) can also be brought close to God:
“The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” [Col 1:26-27 ESV]
This is the secret source of true abundance. It may not mean a bulging bank account, but I have learned that in order to rise above any circumstance, it is better to place my confidence in God’s super abounding grace than to have confidence in the force of my own will to achieve anything for time or eternity.