(Stop singing the song.)
I don’t mean eye of newt, toe of frog concoctions, or witches and warlocks sorcery-type magic. Not “saw the beautiful assistant in half,” abracadabra, bibbidi-bobbidi-boo magic. Not “this cleaning solution will remove every kind of stain” kind of magic you saw on the infomercial at 3 o’clock in the morning.
I’m talking about the magic we (secretly) believe will help us accomplish the things we desire; like losing weight without dieting, having well-defined triceps without exercise, and getting rich quick while we lie beside the pool in a lounge chair sipping fruity beverages garnished with paper umbrellas and plastic swords.
In the back of our minds, we believe the people who have accomplished those things are the beneficiaries of some sort of magic trick. And so we buy into advertising gimmicks that appeal to our faulty belief system. We’re desperate for those empty words promising magical results without manual labor or mental effort to be true.
Unfortunately, there are no fairy godmothers, no magic wands, no love potion #9. And when we begin to come to that painful conclusion, we’re like little children who’ve discovered Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are just mom and dad sneaking around in the dark of night taking bites out of cookies and leaving faux rabbit tracks on the kitchen floor. Disappointed and discouraged, we resign ourselves to the fact we must not be lucky enough to be the recipients of the spells that bestow fame, wealth, health, and love. No wonder so many of us lack the confidence required to do what’s necessary to achieve our goals!
Christians are quick to say they don’t believe in magic. But how many Christians are struggling to live on a flimsy fairy tale faith, copycatting the “formulas” of the people perceived as the best, the holiest, the most successful sheep in the fold, in a feeble attempt to con God into giving us the same results? Prayer becomes less of a living conversation with our Heavenly Father and more of a ritual incantation. Giving becomes a matter of “if I give, then I will receive,” instead of a heartfelt desire to bless others whether there’s something in it for us or not. People run from meeting to meeting, from minister to minister, itching for the secret formula for their instant success. I think in the spirit realm it makes us look a little like the fella in the following video.
When these formulas and rituals fail to produce the anticipated results, the results can devastate a person’s walk with God. Some fall away completely, rejecting everything about God and the church. Others carry on dutifully attending church, saying the right things to the right people, but inwardly they are empty, hollow shells, torn apart by the little voice in their head telling them God and unicorns and abracadabra all belong in the same box.
We need to examine our hearts and our actions for this kind of magical thinking and expose it. Why? Because by holding on to it we set ourselves up for a cycle of defeat. It’s as bad as any gambling addiction … Just one more coin in the slot, one more lottery ticket, or this is the horse that’s gonna win me a grand.”
Whether your magic addiction takes the form of prayers, incense, incantations or candles; or always seeking the next new thing to make you happy – relationships, jobs, houses; or sitting around waiting for Tink’s pixie dust to dribble on your manuscript, or your invention, or your mailbox and bring you dramatic overnight success; consider this post an intervention.
Quit looking for the easy way out. Quit trying to skip steps and beat the system. God rewards faithfulness. He rewards diligence. And He honors pure motives. None of those things are easy, and they don’t guarantee instant results, but they will produce good things in your life. Things that last.
For me, this means more Butt-In-Chair time writing instead of searching for “how to write and sell a bestseller” articles and living vicariously through others on Facebook. For someone else it might mean getting up a half hour earlier to exercise, or giving up an episode of America’s Got Talent to take care of those nagging and necessary chores around the house. Painful, but productive!
Where have you fallen into the habit of magical thinking?