5 Ways Christians Misuse Positive Affirmations

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Every once in a while, I write a post about something that’s been on my heart for a while…usually certain it won’t reach many people, and then sit back in amazement as comments pour in.

Such is the case with a post I wrote a couple of years ago, asking the question if Christians should use positive affirmations.

I wouldn’t say the post went viral; it actually didn’t.

But it did hit a nerve, because I regularly get comments on the post – and most of them have been negative.

Now, I want to quickly say something about that.

I am not at all bothered by negative comments, as long as they add to the conversation – as these have.

There are times when negative comments help to uncover something I’ve left out, or even reveal a side to the narrative I didn’t consider.

Negative feedback can be very helpful at times when taken the right way, and I’ve made every effort, on this blog, to take negative comments the right way.

As long as they do not contain profanity, and as long as they add to the conversation, I let them stand.

There have been few posts on my blog that have garnered negative comments as the post I am following up on today, and so I felt a follow-up post would help to clarify further why I believe the way I do.


person writing in a notebook

One of the most common arguments against my post Should Christians Use Positive Affirmations has been that Paul instructed us to renew our mind through Scripture.

Namely, by affirming who we are in Christ Jesus.

And while I realize that some in the comments of that post felt as if I were being a kill-joy, or splitting hairs, I do believe that there is a marked difference between using Scripture for positive affirmations and building up our spirit with the word of God.

Combing through the comments, I brought out the 5 different arguments presented for why my readers believe we should use positive affirmations, and why I still believe they are wrong.

5 Ways Christians Misuse Positive Affirmations

1. When Jesus used Scripture to affirm his deity, he used Scripture as a weapon

Now, this particular argument wasn’t exactly brought up by a reader, but reading through my comments, I could see that many are referring to the same scenario as we read about in the Gospels, when Jesus was tempted in the desert.

Jesus combatted Satan by using phrases and passages, some of which confirmed His own deity, the same way we can combat Satan by using Scripture to confirm who we are in Christ.

And this is exactly what we should do.

As we memorize and meditation on Scripture that affirms who we are in Christ, as new creatures, we are able to quickly grab those verses and passages as mighty weapons to counter the enemy’s attack against us, just as Jesus was able to counter the enemy’s attack against His identity.

However, use Scripture as a weapon is markedly different than using it as a positive affirmation.

The one is used to neutralize an enemy attack, the other is used to stroke our ego.

The two couldn’t be different from one another.

The one is used in boldness and assurance of our established position in Christ, the other is used to bolster our insecurity and uncertainty of who we are.

2. When we declare and decree who we are in Christ, we use Scripture to strengthen our spirit

I couldn’t agree more with this statement.

In fact, I offer a free printout of verses to declare our identity in Christ, as well as a 30 Day Prayer Challenge journal to dig even deeper into discovering our new identity.

And yet, I do not believe that declaring who we are in Christ is remotely similar to using Scripture as a positive affirmation.

When we meditate on the passages in the Bible that remind us of who we are in Christ as a new creation, strengthening our spirit.

Positive affirmations are a self-care tool used to bolster our self-worth.

Declaring who we are in Christ reminds us that our worth isn’t found in ourselves, it is found in Christ.

3. When we renew our mind, we aren’t altering our thinking on a subconscious level, we are actively bringing our physical brain and mind into submission to the Holy Spirit and Scripture.

Positive affirmations, or mantras, are used repetitiously to alter our subconscious thinking.

The belief behind this is, if we repeat something often enough, we will subconsciously begin to believe the thing we repeat.

In her book, “Switch On Your Brain“, Dr. Caroline Leaf uncovers how ineffective this is actually proved to be.

Renewing our mind isn’t passive repetition of mantras, or in this case Scripture, in an attempt to alter our thinking on a subconscious level.

Renewing our mind is actively taking targeted Scripture, memorizing it, and then thinking deeply – or as the Hebrew meaning of the word, muttering it to ourselves – in a purposeful action to bring our unregenerate mind into submission to the Holy Spirit.

This is a purposeful act to change our entire belief system, our worldview, so that it comes into alignment with Scripture.

Where positive affirmations are passive attempts to change morph our subconscious thinking about our broken idea of self-worth, renewing our mind is an active step to bring our unregenerate mind into submission to God’s Word.

4. When we claim God’s promises, we must remember they are conditional

A few of the comments in my post about positive affirmations argued that we are to daily remind ourselves of God’s promises.

And I heartily agree.

But before we do that, we must remember that each of God’s promises come with a specific condition.

God’s love for us is unconditional. His salvation is free.

However, a very quick perusal of Scripture will prove that God’s promises are not unconditional.

For example, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

God will give us the desires of our heart, but we must first delight ourselves in Him. By doing so, our desires begin to change.

When we daily delight ourselves in Him, truly delighting in him…no manipulation, we will discover that we delight in the things He delights in. Our desires become His desires.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

God keeps us in perfect peace when we discipline our minds to remain on Him. The Hebrew word for “steadfast” here means to be established, to lay down, to rest upon.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:38

God works things for good, for whom? Those who love Him.

How much do we really love God? Or do we love our lives, our comforts, our own dreams and ambitions more than we love God.

Sometimes God allows negative things to happen to accomplish a plan and purpose we haven’t even thought of …or even want yet.

But the more we cultivate our love for Him, the more we realize that we love His plans more than our own…and discover the good things He had for us when our own plans were demolished.

You see – the promises in Scripture are not mantras!

The promises in Scripture are not positive affirmations.

God’s promises are not magic words that we speak so that something good happens in our lives anymore than God is a genie in a bottle waiting for us to speak the right promise so He can make our dreams come true.

Yes, we remind ourselves of God’s promises, but at the same time we must remind ourselves of how He expects us to live.

Renewing our minds so that our entire way of living, thinking, speaking, and belief comes into full submission to the Scripture in which those promises are found!

5. Meditating on God’s Word is not the same as repeating positive affirmations

In my post Should Christians Use Positive Affirmations, I list 5 reasons why Christians should reject this practice.

One of those reasons is the origin of positive affimations.

Positive affirmations have their root in New Age, Eastern religions, Buddhism, and Yoga.

God warned the Israelites over and over, as they began conquering nations in and around the Promised Land, to not adopt their forms of religious practice.

He said, “When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.” Deuteronomy 12:29-32

The origin of the the practice of repeating positive affirmations has vital importance to the believer, because God has already prescribed for us how He alters our way of thinking.

Not through positive affirmations, but through renewing the mind.

Below you will find several articles I’ve written on renewing the mind and Scripture meditation.

I pray that it will help you to see even more clearly how when we do things God’s way, there is tremendous blessing.

Our goal shouldn’t be to alter our thinking alone, but to bring our entire worldview, our entire way of living, thinking, and believing, into submission to His Word.


More articles on memorizing and meditation on Scripture:

Memorizing and Meditation Resources:

Scripture Memorization Challenge Printable Pack

Memorizing and Mediation Articles:

6 Reasons to Reject Eastern Meditation and Yoga

3 Reasons the Bible Gives Us for Christian Meditation

5 Amazing Benefits of Christian Meditation

3 Easy Ways to Memorize Scripture

Reader Question: Do You Have Tools to Help With Memorizing and Utilizing Scripture? Episode #21

10 Bible Passages Every Christian Should Memorize

How to Memorize Scripture Using Word Associations

4 Basic Tips for Memorizing Scripture

3 Powerful Things Successful Christians Do Everyday

More articles on memorizing and meditation on Scripture:

Memorizing and Meditation Resources:

Scripture Memorization Challenge Printable Pack

Memorizing and Mediation Articles:

6 Reasons to Reject Eastern Meditation and Yoga

3 Reasons the Bible Gives Us for Christian Meditation

5 Amazing Benefits of Christian Meditation

3 Easy Ways to Memorize Scripture

Reader Question: Do You Have Tools to Help With Memorizing and Utilizing Scripture? Episode #21

10 Bible Passages Every Christian Should Memorize

How to Memorize Scripture Using Word Associations

4 Basic Tips for Memorizing Scripture

3 Powerful Things Successful Christians Do Everyday

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It’s Time to Shatter Christian Idols

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Should Christians Use Positive Affirmations?

5 Ways Christians Misuse Positive Affirmations

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