How Superstition Has Crept into the Church
With superstition, God is no longer your father, and you are not his child. Instead, God is a magician. You have to say the right recipe prayer and it will unlock some secret door of heaven and all of the sudden YOU will get what you want. People often read the Bible from a selfish perspective as if the end objective or Goal is about you. As if the story is about you.
Here are 3 areas that I believe superstition has crept into the church. After I describe them, I will give my thoughts on the truth of the Gospel. Click here to hear my sermon on the topic.
1. Power of Tongue (good or bad) or the Power of your Speech
I actually read this phrase on church website last week. It summarizes the belief of the “Power of the Tongue” –
“What you say is what you have! The sum of where you are today, good or bad, is the sum of what you have been saying.”
People that believe this statement have taken a few scriptures and turned them into a superstitious ritual of getting what YOU want out of life.
Just a quick question before we go any further: If everything that comes out of your mouth is immediately becoming fact, then who is God? You. Whatever God speaks happens. Therefore, if whatever you speaks happens then you are God.
2. Old Testament Remedies
When we are waiting for God to answer our prayers exactly like we worded them (and it isn’t happening for a long time), then many folks feel the need to find an event in the Old Testament and create a ritual prayer out of it.
Bible Study Tip: When studying the Old Testament there are some powerful principles and prayers that carry over into the New Testament, but it is important that every story and every principle studied in the Old Testament point to or mirror Jesus Christ. In Jesus all things in the Old Testament are fulfilled.
Ask yourself: How does this principle point to Jesus? How does he fulfill it?
Here is an example of an Old Testament Remedy:
o Prayer of Jabez – “‘Oh that you may truly bless me and extend my boundaries! Help me and make me free of misfortune, without pain!’ And God granted his prayer.” A Book was written about this one prayer and the author wrote this in the preface: “I want to teach you how to pray a daring prayer that God always answers. It is brief—only one sentence with four parts—and tucked away in the Bible, but I believe it contains the key to a life of extraordinary favor with God.”
3. Spiritual Warfare
Spiritual Warfare has been blown out of proportion (my opinion). To many folks, everything negative is a demon that is attacking you and what you need to do is proclaim Ephesians 6 over your life. But what does that scripture actually say and mean?
My thoughts on our position and purpose of Prayer – How we should Abide in God
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
This is where most people get off track when they read the Bible. They are thinking that the “schemes of the devil” are to destroy them or their stuff.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
If you’re point of view is that all these attacks are against you (because of you), then your intent in prayer is self-preservation. However, freedom comes when you understand that the war that is going on is the same one that has happened since the fall of Lucifer. Satan is continually trying to win against God. His mission is to destroy the message of Jesus.
He is attacking you, but not because of you. He is attacking you because of Jesus.
In the past, we have focus on the revelation of spiritual warfare meaning that we aren’t actually fighting people, places, or things, but spirits of darkness. However, many people fall short on understanding…why.
TRUTH: I hate to break this to you, but the devil doesn’t care that much about you. He doesn’t really care if you have your stuff, marriage, happiness, money or not. He will attack your life, your peace, your possession, etc, BUT not because he really wants you to be without them. He is only attacking you because he ultimately wants you to forget and be distracted from the truth of Jesus. THE DEVIL’S objective is to end the truth of Jesus. The rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places are trying to destroy the truth of Jesus.
Therefore, our response in prayer is not to fight off spiritual darkness to get our LIFE. JESUS (not the devil) said I have come that you might have abundant life. He defeated the devil when he died on the cross and rose from the dead. So, the only way for you to partake in life is to worship the risen savior.
The spiritual battle that we are to fight is all about the establishment of Jesus on the throne.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Spiritual Warfare is not important so that we can proclaim prosperity, health, or a good marriage. Prayer and supplication is required to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. Look at that last verse! Paul was in chains and he didn’t pray to be removed from the chains! He prayed that he might proclaim the good news!
SPIRITUAL WARFARE ESTABLISHES:
- DISCIPLESHIP: so that you can keep Jesus at the center of your mind and heart
(body and soul)
- EVANGELISM: so that you can share the gospel with other.
More Scripture will help us out here:
1 John 5:14And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Holman (Bible commentator) wrote that: Abiding IS effortless resting in the Lord, confident in the promised union between the vine and the true branches.
BEFORE WE PETITION THE LORD FOR STUFF IN PRAYER. LET’S PRAY THAT WE ABIDE IN HIM FIRST.
- God is Good therefore I DO NOT need to look anywhere else for satisfaction
- God is Gracious so We don’t have to prove ourselves.
- God is Great so we don’t have to be in control.
- God is Glorious so we do NOT have to Fear.
When we abide in Him, we take on the attributes of Him. He answers our prayers!
Equally (and maybe more importantly), when we abide in Him or Remain in Him, he begins to reshape us to pray prayers that he readily answers.
Let’s look at it this way: Jesus was not crucified because he spoke negative words over His life that day (power of the tongue). Instead, JESUS demonstrates abiding in the Father and reshaping in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus toiled in the garden of Gethsemane, and ended his prayer with acceptance that he must face execution. Not my will, but your will be done. He had RELATIONSHIP with the Father and therefore accepted His will. In modern culture, we don’t want to accept this and will often try to find another remedy to unanswered prayer (superstitious ritual as we have already talked about)
The apostle Paul demonstrates this reshaping in his letter to the Corinthian church. Paul toiled with what he said was a “thorn in the flesh”, and God told him:
2 Corinthians 12:9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Please do not get me wrong. I completely believe in supernatural acts of God happening because of our faith-filled prayers to Jesus. They happen all around us. However, when they don’t happen, do we continue to TRUST God as our Father and abide in Him or do we look for some shortcut to manipulate Him?