Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Magic: Ancient and Modern

What are you trusting in? All of us, whether we admit it or not, are trusting in something. There is something that we build our life around. If it is not God, then it is an idol (Romans 1:23-25). Very frequently this is myself or something I control. God is not interested in our abilities, but in our knowing Him (Psalms 147:10,11; Jeremiah 9:23-24; Isaiah 31:1). In the old days they trusted in magicians and thought that through magic they could control their lives. We no longer believe in such things, or do we? We live in an age when magic is coming back. There are many people, even some Christian people, who are relying on things like magical charms or astrology to give them luck or direction in life. Sometimes it is hard, because this stuff can come tricked out in scientific explanations that make it look credible. But Christians can also try to make their faith in God into something magical. There is a Peanuts cartoon where Linus says he has made a great theological discovery. If you pray with your hands upside down, you get the opposite of what you pray for. We may not go to this level of absurdity, but do we not sometimes see prayer as a way of manipulating God to do what we want? I am not just talking about word-faith and those who push this to an extreme. I think many who would shrink back from the full word-faith position can still fall into this mindset. 

But the more common approach today is to reject the magical and to expect to control our world by material means. Now do not get me wrong; I am not opposed to science and technology. I have no desire to go back to driving a horse-drawn carriage or writing with a quill pen (or a typewriter for that matter). But the real issue is: what are we trusting in? Are we trusting in our technological abilities or God? In the final analysis, technology is a tool. It can be used for good, and it can be used for evil. But only God is in ultimate control of the world. Therefore, we need to put our technological achievements in perspective. The same goes for politics. Many people look to it for final answers to all our problems. Even Christians can do that, feeling if we only got the right people in office or the right laws passed, people would accept our standards. I am not against Christian involvement in politics, but I think we need to realize that what is ultimately needed is a heart change, and only God can bring that about. 

But whether it is for salvation (Romans 4:22-25) or whether it is for the other things involved in our lives (Proverbs 3:5,6), we should trust in God and not in our own capabilities (Psalms 127:1,2).

No comments:

Post a Comment