Affirmations are positive statements used to help someone move toward a goal or improve their life’s outlook. Should a Christian use positive affirmations or is the practice too self-focused? Is there such a thing as Christian daily affirmations?

Should Christians Use Positive Affirmations? Bible on table with flowers

A reader recently shared her concerns with me:

As a Christian, I don’t believe in the use of affirmations. Those are self-focused. I believe in the power of God.

While I use affirmations daily, I understand her concerns. Can Christians use positive affirmations without compromising their faith? Are affirmations Christian and Biblical? Let’s find out.

 

What are Positive Affirmations?

Before we explore how Christians should respond to the concept of positive affirmations, let’s learn more about what affirmations are and how people use them.

What is the Definition of Positive Affirmations?

Positive affirmations are phrases you speak to yourself (silently or out loud) that promote a helpful belief or change a negative thought or behavior pattern.

Examples of Positive Affirmations

Here are some examples of positive affirmations:

  • I make good decisions.
  • I am joyful.
  • My body is healthy.
  • I am talented.
  • I am at peace.

How Do People Use Positive Affirmations?

Positive affirmations are typically spoken or write daily in order to improve a way of thinking. People speak affirmations to themselves each morning when they get up or before going to bed.

Sometimes these affirmations are written on a note card and placed in a location where they will be seen daily, or they might be written in a journal.

 

Do Positive Affirmations Work?

Christian or not, many people question the validity of daily affirmations.

In fact, there’s a famous Saturday Night Live parody of affirmations with Stuart Smalley. The parody shows Smalley looking in the mirror telling himself, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me!”

There is scientific basis for the use of repetitive thoughts that are positive. One study confirmed that self-affirmations can restore self-competence by allowing individuals to reflect on sources of self-worth, such as core values.

In another study, cancer survivors who spoke to themselves with optimistic phrases reported better health, improved happiness, and a lower likelihood of cognitive impairment.

 

Why Christians Should NOT Use Affirmations {Concerns about Affirmations}

Christians have concerns with the use of positive affirmations because they are sometimes taught as a new age or self-help philosophy. The belief sometimes taught is that by speaking a positive intention, you can manifest it into being because the universe will bring you what you create in your mind.

Taught by life coaches, therapists and even some Christians (such as pastor Joel Olsteen or in the book The Prayer of Jabez) this is sometimes referred to as the “name it and claim it” concept.

Christians are right to have concerns about this philosophy because it goes against the Biblical teaching that God created the universe and is in control of it.

Many positive affirmations are humanistic and centered on the self. Phrases like “I heal myself,” are dangerous because we do not heal ourselves. God heals us.

The Bible teaches that we are broken, sinful people who are not inherently good. Instead, we have a Savior who was perfect and paid the price for our sin.

When we humbling accept Christ’s saving work on the cross, we are given new life in him and salvation eternally.

 

Should Christians Use Positive Affirmations?

Is there any place in the Christian life for positive affirmations?

I believe, yes. While there are concerns about the self-centered use of affirmations, I believe it’s possible to use affirmations in a way that grows faith and brings awareness to God’s grace and work in the Christian life.

 

Types of Positive Affirmations for Christians

While Christians should absolutely be cautious of any affirmations that are human-centered, I believe the use of Biblically-based affirmations can turn your thoughts to God and His work in your life.

Affirmations in the Bible

Biblical affirmations are the use of Scripture to take our thoughts captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This means turning around the lies of the enemy, Satan, and replacing it with the truth of God’s Word.

This can be done by speaking or writing an important Scripture verse many times and committing it to memory. The Bible tell us that God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), which means it is more than just words in a page. God’s Word is a powerful, life-giving force that changes the person who hears it.

In Deuteronomy 6 we learn more about how we are to immerse ourselves in God’s words,

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

There really is no such thing as too much time spent in Scripture for the Christian.

Examples of Biblical Affirmations

These are affirmations that use quotes directly from God’s Word.

  • My faith makes me whole in spirit, soul and body (Mark 5:34).
  • The cross of Christ is my power. (1 Corinthians 1:17).
  • I guard my heart because it determines the course of my life (Proverbs 4:23).
  • God is able to do immeasurably more in my life than I could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
  • I live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Positive Christian Affirmations

Faith affirmations are another type of affirmation that can be used by a Christian. These are phrases that remind us of a key Biblical truth, but might not be a direct quote from scripture.

Here are some examples of this type of daily affirmation. These include “I am…” statements that remind us of who we are in Christ.

Examples of Christian Affirmations

  • Because of Jesus, I have all I need.
  • I am forgiven.
  • The power of God is at work in my life.
  • I am redeemed.
  • I am a child of God.
  • I am loved.

General Affirmations

Finally, I believe it is possible to use affirmations that are neutral in nature, meaning they aren’t specifically Biblically focused but do not go against the teachings of scripture.

This is called adiaphora theologically speaking, which is actions the Bible neither approves nor condemns.

  • I am focused and productive.
  • Today is going to be a great day.
  • I focus on positive progress.
  • I learn how to do new things.

 

How to Use Affirmations as a Christian

In Psalm 119:11 David says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

If you aren’t comfortable with the concept of daily affirmations as a Christian, focus on memorization of scripture. Always follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance for you.

If you would like to try daily affirmations, start with reading a Bible verse and follow up with an affirmation that matches.

For example, read John 1:12, “ But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” then say or write the affirmation, “I am a child of God.”

Affirmations should always be stated in the positive. Don’t say what you won’t do or what you want to stop doing, but instead state what you will do or are doing now. Focus on the truth.

Why Use Positive Affirmations?

Since there are concerns about affirmations, why would a Christian want to use them at all?

While Scripture should always be given the highest authority and dedication, I believe affirmations can be helpful as an additional strategy.

Affirmations can especially help with:

  • Changing habits. Do you have a sinful or unhelpful behavior you keep returning to even though you’ve tried to stop? Affirmations can help with making positive changes.
  • Early trauma and abuse. Many people who have experienced early childhood trauma unfortunately have deep-seated personal beliefs about who they are because of what they experienced. Affirmations (in addition to therapy) can restore and affirm who you are in Christ as a saved child of God.
  • Shaping behavior. Do you want to start a new healthier habit? Affirmations can support the positive changes.
  • Negative self image and low self-esteem. Affirmations provide a continual reminder of your identity in Christ.
  • Reduce anxiety and depression. For those of us who struggle with these mental health issues, our thoughts often return again and again to worry, fear, and overwhelm. Affirmations can turn those negative thinking patterns around as we cling to the truth of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

 

My Experience with Daily Affirmations

While I absolutely understand the concerns of some Christians regarding the use of affirmations, I have found them powerful, and in fact the use of daily affirmations has grown my faith in incredible ways.

For most of my life I was overweight. I struggled with binge and compulsive overeating in addition to unhealthy habits like lack of exercise and sugar addiction. Through therapy and keeping Christ the center of my weight loss efforts, I’ve lost over 100 pounds and been maintaining for 15+ years.

Christian weight loss affirmations have been helpful to me in my weight loss journey. For years I bought into the lies of the enemy that I was helpless and a failure when it came to my weight. I had said these phrases to myself thousands of times.

Speaking or writing daily affirmations has helped me cement new, healthier beliefs in my brain and make positive food choices on a regular basis.

For a list of my Christian weight loss affirmations (and free printable note cards), see these posts:

For a printable PDF affirmations journaling page, check out this Christian Affirmations Tracker for Weight Loss.

I use affirmations every morning as part of my prayer and Bible study time. I have a short morning routine where I read a passage of scripture, write a prayer, journal 5 things I am grateful for, and write a few affirmations that are meaningful to me at the time.

 

While some Christians has concerns about the issue of positive affirmations, I believe that when they are scripturally based, they can be a meaningful and helpful part of a believer’s life.

Do you use Christian affirmations? Share about it in the comments below.

 

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Daily Affirmations for Christians